The Reliable Source

Mar 23, 2011

Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts will be online Wednesday, March 23, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Indelible beauty. Gusto for life. Kindness for AIDS victims. Oh, and some truly memorable movies. We won't see her like again.

Agreed. She was one of the few who qualify as a legendary star---mostly for her beauty and personal life. Her acting was probably underrated and never the reason she was so fascinating.

March 23rd will be marked forever as the date Elizabeth Taylor died and also the date her second husband, Mike Todd, died in an airplane crash. Strrangely coincidental With her marriage to Sen John Warner, she is tied forever in Washington folklore. Her battle with the chicken drumstick and her tour here in "The Little Foxes" back in the early 1980's are memorable. How do you think she will be remembered? She was indeed the legend of the gossip rags for her numerous marriages and friendship with Michael Jackson.

Weird about the airplane crash. I always wonder what her life would have been like if Todd had lived. They adored each other, and might have been married for decades. Or not. There's a alternate history novel for you.

We'll be writing about her Washington years for tomorrow's column. As for her overall memory, I believe it will come down to three things: Her beauty, her eight marriages, and her pioneering work on behalf of AIDS.


Not being a celebrity gossip fan, but being a member of my age group, I always considered Elizabeth Taylor the paradigm for non-news a lot of people seemed to care about. She made her last film when I was in kindergarten, so I have no memory of her career as an active actress; but until I was about 30, I learned about her activities from the grocery store checkout line. Question: her time as a gossip-magnet coincided with a period when many changes were taking place in the world of journalism. Did her, or the coverage of her, change the gossip industry in important ways?

That's an interesting question. There's a reality show aspect to her life, but she came along as the tight hold studios had on stars and their image was breaking. There was certainly celebrity gossip coverage back then, but less reached the public than now.  I also think she represented the ultimate story arc of Tragic Beauty-- the woman wanted by every man, envied by every woman, and yet never quite happy.

God bless Robin Roberts. The last journalist left in the TV/entertainment world. So many just want to suck up to the celebrity and not ask the tougher questions that everyone wants to know. Good for her -- Brown beat up his girlfriend and should be asked about it.

Of course she should have asked those questions and Brown is dreaming if he thought the subject would not come up. I'm actually not convinced that this wasn't a calculated move on his part to grab the spotlight on the day his album was released. 

Random comment - one of the most flattering things anyone ever said to me was that I looked like a young Elizabeth Taylor (was dressed up for something at the time.) Good thing this is the internets, and you can't seem me now because you'd snort out loud. Anyhow, she was the kind of beautiful that most of today's beautiful young women don't reach.

Yes, and people who met her said she was even more beautiful in person. The color of her eyes was amazing, and I read somewhere (don't know if it is true) that she had a double set of eyelashes.

Can't say that I'm shocked, but I am sad as she was really the definition of Movie Star. I shook her hand at the Foxfield Races, back when she was married to Senator Warner. She looked like she would rather have been anywhere but there on that hot hot afternoon. She was wearing sunglasses, so I didn't get to see her eyes, and I've not seen a photograph that really shows them (at least, not one that I can be sure isn't touched up a bit). Are there any untouched photos out there that show her violet eyes? Were they violet or "violet" (as in, a color blue that some might squint & call violet).

I honestly don't know---but people say they were a very unusual shade that was mesmerizing.

Reading through the obits, I had totally forgotten about Larry Fortensky. He was like the K-Fed of his time.

Larry was so unlikely that I was kind of rooting for him.

and others would say overrated.

Maybe. You can say the same thing about Katherine Hepburn. But they both had "it" on screen.

While AIDS work, eight marriages, and beauty will all be noted, I would assume -- based on the story in Vanity Fair last year that the epic relationship with Richard Burton will forever be remembered, as will her role of playing Angelina Jolie to Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds' Pitt/Aniston. For those of a certain generation, that will forever be a bigger story than her AIDS work.

I put the Fisher-Burton saga under the marriages umbrella, since she was married to both men.

Any idea why Bradley Cooper and Renee Zellweger would break up after more than a year? I really throught this one would work out for her.

They dated almost two years. They're not talking; reports say she wanted a ring and he wasn't ready to give her one.

Elizabeth Taylor was a true Beauty. I'm trying to think who would qualify as stunningly beautiful amongst current actresses, and am drawing a blank. Surely that can't be right - who am I missing?

Probably Angelina Jolie, although that may also be due to the similar romantic dramas.

I felt a little nostalgic reading about the KC event for Pres. H.W.Bush. I didn't vote for Mr. Bush 1 or 2 for that matter, but I have always had respect and admiration for how Mr. Bush 1 served his country. Both he and Pres. Clinton have become great role models not only for other former presidents, but their commitment to public service and solving world problems in a non-partisan way would be a good example to our current crop of politicans. Both men have become statesman as opposed to pols and in our cynical and partisan political climate I admit I became a little verclempt.

Verclempt is good. We have to throw Jimmy Carter in here too, even if he's a little cranky about the lack of recognition for his do-gooding. Bush 43 has great role models---we'll have to see how he fares in his post-presidential life.

I don't really understand why he referenced Charlie Sheen in his Twitter outburst. I think Charlie Sheen's drug addiction overshadows his violence toward women in the media. Thus, people may not refer to him as a "thug" but rather a "crackhead" which is just as bad imho.

If I understood Brown's tweet, he's mad that Sheen seems to be getting a pass for his bad behavior but Brown is not, as evidenced by those mean reporters who keep asking about it.

Not up on Hollywood, I was amazed to hear that Elizabeth Taylor had children... so I googled them. Um, not an attractive bunch. I wonder what it would be like to be the offspring of that woman and be kept from the genetic goodies.

Look, it's not easy being the kid of any Hollywood star. I must give her credit for maintaining what looks like a good relationship with all her children, and keeping personal family drama (if there was any) out of the tabloids.

Reasonable people can agree on the quality of Elizabeth Taylor's acting, but I don't think there's much doubt that Katherine Hepburn (and her manager) did a better job choosing her films and directors. I think that's why she's considered a better actress over all. Too many of Elizabeth's films are quite out-dated, but Katherine's "The Philadelphia Story" is as sparking and funny today as it was in 1940.

Good point. "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" are probably her standouts. "Cleopatra" was a gorgeous mess of a movie.

Yeah. I think it would be different if the Rihanna thing was something way in his past and he'd gone on to do several albums, and had been out there long enough to show he'd gotten over his anger issues. Then maybe you don't bring it up. But the Rihanna thing is fresh in our minds. I don't know about his response being a calculated move, though. I mean, doesn't he want everyone to believe he's changed? His reaction just proves he has not, and it makes him look very bad.

Maybe his fans don't care. Maybe they want a bad boy, and will pay for his music.

Sorry I feel asleep reading through the Elizabeth Taylor comments. So what ELSE is going on? Come on, she was 103!

79, actually. Bear with us old-timers---this will be the last day we'll wax poetic about her.

to see what an amazing actress Taylor was. Forget the umpteen husbands, gossip, etc. Take a look at what she did early in her career. Mesmerizing.

I don't think I've ever seen it.

I missed what to be verclempt about

His post-presidential public service. You don't have to be verclempt, but 41 did try to do good after he left the Oval Office, which is why the poster was a little choked up.

Did Amy forget the chat is held on Wednesday?

Never! It's her favorite part of the week. Jury duty.

Any word on whether Missy Salahi has been able to get treatment for whatever she needs rehab for -- since she was cut loose by unsympathetic VH1?

Not a peep. Missing her?

For me it's Amy in Little Women, even though casting her made them change the characters and make Amy older than Beth (Margaret O'Brien). She was blonde for this movie (at least they didn't change THAT!). I also loved her as Rebecca in Ivanhoe. I couldn't believe that Ivanhoe would choose Rowena (Joan Fontaine) over her.

I had no clue she was in either movie.

How do you refresh the page? I hit "go to the latest question" and it doesn't work...then I hit refresh....that does nothing.....I'm stuck @ 11 responses and I know there has to be more....WHAT TO DO PLEASE.

I'm so sorry. I'm the last person to ask about our new system. Aside from throwing a tomato at the computer, maybe signing out and starting over? I have no clue.

Hepburn in Bringing up Baby? Priceless. Don't remember Liz doing comedy? Refresh my memory.

Wasn't there some ill-fated caper movie late in her acting career?

Yes, Elizabeth Taylor was truly a beautiful and remarkable person. However, I never have had the pleasure of seeing any of her movies. Do you have any recommendations for her best films?


According to Wikipedia, Mike Todd died March 22, not the 23rd.

We'll double-check after the chat.

Weren't some (perhaps all?) of her children adopted? Genetic goodies probably not distributed, therefore.

I believe only her daughter Maria Burton was adopted.

That was no quicky unlikely as it was. It lasted for quite a few years as I recall.

About five---but the quirky part was that they seemed mismatched. Good for him, though.

Just last night I read her interview with Kim Kardashian(!) in the March Harper's Baazar. My thought was: did stars have fashion stylists back in the day or just really good taste?

Stylists! The studios has loads of people who created custom clothes to flatter the stars. 

Hey, look who's here -- me! Sorry to be late, they only just now let us out for lunch. What have I missed?

let us not forget she was the voice of Maggie Simpson.

I forgot that.

5 words: Kim Kardashian as Liz Taylor.

Now, why would anyone even think of that? I recently discovered that Sherilynn Fenn (the girl from Twin Peaks who could tie a cherry stem with her tongue) played Liz Taylor in some made-for-TV movie. Regret that I never saw that.

Is the post sending you guys to cover the wedding? Any D.C. celebs invited? I was not suprised that the Pres and plus one wasn't invited-- security nightmare, plus it seems those crazy kids want a lower key event than Charles and Diana, but there must be some in Yanks invited.

We're staying in Washington, but our colleague Monica Hesse is heading to London. The names of guests have not been released, but the list is long---1,900 people---so it's a good bet at least one person from D.C. made the cut.

Despite her numerous illnesses/medical crises, I always had the irrational belief that she was immortal and would never die. Maybe not so irrational - she always sprang back even after the most dire emergencies, almost as good as before, and kept on ticking like the energizer bunny. Just not this time. RIP, violet eyes...

Yes. I agree. I've said it before in this chat, and I mean it with absolute respect and admiration, but I always assumed that Keith Richards and Liz Taylor would be the last two people standing in this world. Her death had been anticipated so many times over the past 50 years, but she endured.

So did Lassie make Liz Taylor's career or did she make Pal's/Lassie's career. I believe Lassie made Liz Taylor's career. Rud Weatherwax almost Lassie in a poker game to John Wayne. Lassie was dyed a muddy brown to play part in the film whose name I ahve forgotten. Think it may have been pal's son. Lassie has always been played by a male since they stay in coat and are larger.

If you haven't already read Adam Bernstein's obituary of Elizabeth Taylor, you need to do that right now.

With all the speculation about who could replace Steve Carrell on "The Office" and whether that person could survive the scrutiny of being a replacement and whether the cast chemistry would be disrupted by someone new, I have the perfect solution. Don't replace him with anyone. The show's chemistry is fine and there are enough talented people on the show to carry the show. This is a cast viewers know and appreciate. It would make sense in real life that the manager's posiiton would be filled internally. I believe the current cast could keep the show going quite well.

Okay, thanks. You're probably right.

Having said that... why don't they bring back Idris Elba?

It is a shame that her work is overshadowed by her personal life. Even though she was a great "star"-- her performance as Martha made me forget who she was and only see her as the character. Many so called movie stars can never move beyond playing themselves in movies-- no matter how great they are. A remarkable talent as well as a compassionate human being.

Another chatter offered up a link to a video montage of scenes from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," and why haven't you all seen this movie already?

The blurb yesterday on the Kennedy Center gala honoring GHW Bush made me very happy for a simple reason: the mention of Lauren Bush with her fiance David Lauren (Ralph's son). PLEASE tell me that you asked her how she feels about becoming Lauren Lauren. If it was me, I don't care how cute the guy might be or the prospect of free designer clothing, if I met someone who had my first name as their last name, I would take off running. Really, the mind boggles.

Our colleague Aaron Leitko was there, and I'm guessing Lauren wasn't taking question about Lauren Lauren. Bet you she keeps "Lauren Bush" as her name.

I was never a fan of Bush 1 but I've assumed there must be something to him because Clinton likes him. Your column was pretty snarky about BC - he's not our oversharing Uncle - he's someone who reminds us that we once had a good president and that we still have a good friend in him. I met Elizabeth Taylor at the Outer Circle moive theatre. Her eyes were indeed violet and very beautiful.

Snark in our column? God forbid! That was the observation of our colleague Aaron Leitko, who sat through the ceremony, and please note who ended up getting quoted the most in that story: Bill Clinton. Guy has a lot to say, and a way of saying it.

How did her acting talents stack up? Her ex, Richard Burton, was said to have never received the credit he was due - his acting talents were (hate this concept..but..) underrated. She received at least two Oscars, so maybe add acting ability to your legacy list for Thursday?

Actors always think they're under-rated. And Oscars are nice and all that, but not the final say of history. In any case, her acting will never be her legacy, regardless of her talent. That ship sailed a long time ago.

The Flintstones

Seriously? That's....weird. And kind of great.

Didn't they meet in rehab?

They did indeed. Betty Ford Clinic's dating service. 

Not to diss Elizabeth Taylor, but, sadly, my generous kind of never knew her before she was anything other than an oddity. Sure, I saw National Velvet as a child, but associated her with her marriage and Michael Jackson and the Betty Ford Clinic, and talking around the office that seems pretty common for the under-40 crowd. She's almost seen as more a Cautionary Tale, then anything else. Not that we don't realize she was talented and an icon in her day.

No diss taken. She's been a Former Actress/Star for decades.

Elizabeth Taylor was a classic beauty. Her face remained beautiful even as she aged. I think Halle Berry would be considered a modern true beauty for the person who drew a blink.

One problem with Cooper and Zellweger is that he is the more successful/good-looking one at the moment. Also, he is younger than her, so that could have been a problem. No offense to Zellweger, but she is not exactly a cougar like Demi Moore.

She's cute. She's always been cute.

Yesterday was my birthday, and today we are expecting 4 to 8 inches of snow. Sigh - even WE get sick of winter eventually. That is all

That sucks. Happy Birthday anyway. :)

Well I can see where he is coming from! He still is getting grief over the incident with Rhianna. Not sure if it was the only incidence. Sheen on the other hand has multiple incidences of alleged spousal abuse and gets away w/o much criticism. If looks and smeels like racism it probably is. An Bobby Brown paid a much heavier price for his addiction and spousal abuse problems then Sheen. And if you dont know why its as plain as the color of your skin!

I don't think race is the issue. I think the incident with Rhianna is still in the news because the judge recently changed the terms of the restraining order, and reporters were asking about it. Brown needs to accept that it is part of his past and move forward without breaking anything else. Sheen is getting away with a lot because he's managed to stay out of serious legal trouble so far.

That's really her most important legacy, not least because she came so early to the cause, when it was still greatly stigmatized in many public eyes (not least of whom President Reagan, who long resisted acknowledging it was a public health problem).

A lot of people share your thoughts.

Charlie Sheen is available.

Oh, save us. Please.

Kids, we've gone way past our deadline. There'll be more about Taylor in tomorrow's column, then we'll get back to the gossip of the moment: Check out our annual Gossip Bracket in (also in tomorrow's column) and send us your thoughts at See you next week, all.




In This Chat
Amy Argetsinger
Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Send us tips at; bookmark us at Reliable Source and follow us at
Roxanne Roberts
Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.
Reliable Source
Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Send us tips at; bookmark us at Reliable Source and follow us at
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