National Velvet carried Elizabeth Taylor to stardom.

At least, that’s my take on it.

Cover of
Cover of National Velvet with Liz Taylor

Why did she die at a fairly young age, 79? I looked it up in several sources, and it was congestive heart failure. That can slow you down. As I understand it, your heart becomes this squishy thing, not like a strong muscle, so your blood kind of swishes around, instead of squirting properly all over. Your legs are what the medical profession calls a “second heart.” That is, when you walk, they push the blood back up to your heart that gravity has let fall down to your feet. So, it’s healthy to walk. And not so healthy that she was in a wheelchair the last few years.

Turns out I’ve hardly seen any of her movies. Mostly, I admire her for being outspoken, and for appearing in public without much (any?) plastic surgery. You have no idea how hard it is for older women in Hollywood. Hell, even a good number of the girls on The Bachelor have had things done, even at 25! (although it’s mostly boob jobs.)

My Elizabeth Taylor filmography:

Jane EyreI think I saw it. I read the book, great girls book.

National Velvet Yes, read the book (all the horse books I could find) and saw the movie. There may have been some tears.

Little Women – probably. I saw one version, and liked it a lot. Who was she, Jo? And I read the book several times.

Screenshot of Elizabeth Taylor from the traile...
Image via Wikipedia - Elizabeth Taylor taking off her shoe

IvanhoeI think I had to see it in high school. But I might be getting it mixed up with the Ivanhoe Reservoir I see every day.

Cleopatra – Yes. I remember thinking she didn’t look that beautiful to me. She and Richard B. had some chemistry, though.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?I hate this play. It was originally a play, then a movie. A married couple battle it out, and they’re not as clever as they think they are, but they sure are mean. It makes you squirm. If you saw the Emmy- nominated episode of The Office where Michael and Jan give a dinner party (the only dinner party) — like that.

A Little Night MusicI love this movie! Saw it as a play, too. It’s kind of like Glee for theater-goers, romantics, and sophisticates.

Cartoon after the jump. 

national velvet horse mourns elizabeth taylor's passing
national velvet horse mourns elizabeth taylor's passing

Not what you expected for Ms Taylor’s eulogy?

Rob Tornoe, a talented cartoonist out of NJ,  posted on Facebook:
Who’s going to draw the first political cartoon of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra being carried to the pearly gates?

Which was funny because so many cartoonists will do/have done that. It looks weird to me to have editorial cartoonists draw heaven, just like gag cartoonists do, but I think death is hard to do well.

Daryl Cagle has several blogs, which is very confusing, but I managed to find his collection of Elizabeth Taylor cartoons. I’m not going to name the cartoonists, because there are 3 or 4 of the most hideous portraits I’ve ever seen there, and 4 have the SAME drawing of just her eyes! Poor Liz. You can make up your own mind whether Gocomics (which has most of the same people) is any better.

Interpretation of Elizabeth Taylor cartoon

Cartoon caption: National Velvet, the horse speaks to us about how he misses Liz Taylor. (title) IF NATIONAL VELVET WAS LIKE MR. ED I m-i-i-s-s L-i-i-z! Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011.

National Velvet was one of her first movies, when she was just a teen, so I just went with it. I titled it 2 ways: the one above, and also, IF NATIONAL VELVET COULD TALK. I wasn’t sure if most readers would know about Mr. Ed, an old TV show which is still on TV in syndication, and also spawned some fun comic books.  In any case, Mr. Ed, the name of the horse, only talked with his owner Wilbur, so no one else knew he could talk. From the theme song:

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, And no one can talk to a horse of course. That is, of course, unless the horse, is the famous Mister Ed.

Funny set up, but I can’t remember what else happened! Mr. Ed talked with a loud whinny, of course, so I tried to write his words like that.

And that’s my Liz Taylor take.

My latest cartoon for Psychology Today: How to Write a Personals Ad for Love.

4 thoughts on “National Velvet carried Elizabeth Taylor to stardom.”

  1. IMO, Elizabeth Taylor was at the pinnacle of her beauty in her teens until her late 20’s.

    She was the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on.

    However, I have to agree that, for whatever reason, she was not particularly stunning in “Cleopatra” (I think it may be due to the Richard Burton effect – somehow, she NEVER seemed quite as beautiful after they hooked up.)

    If you’d like to catch Taylor at her most stunning, I would recommend:

    1. Lassie Come Home (She was only 11 years old but absolutely breath-taking).

    2. Life With Father

    3. A Date with Judy

    4. The Last Time I Saw Paris

    5. Ivanhoe

    6. Raintree County (Her weight yo-yos a bit in this film, but she is still gut-wrenchingly beautiful.)

  2. “The Pi” (short for Pirate) was a chestnut so the black mane and forelock out of place.
    The horse’s real name was King Charles and Miss Taylor was given the horse after the film and had him until he was thirty when he passed away. If you do the math you will find that he went ahead of Miss Taylor many years ago.

  3. Thanks for that, backgroundartiste! Very interesting. Of course, I realize the horse must have died years ago, so artistic license with this…

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