Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth agreed to do a movie written by me — the daughter of the woman whose husband she stole some 40 years before.

Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor had made up in the ensuing years. Now it was 2001, and not only were they doing a self-mocking movie called These Old Broads, but they'd even improvised a scene in which they giggle about a mutual husband and his less-than-full-bodied posterior. "Good sports" doesn't begin to cover it.

We filmed on the back lot of MGM, the studio where they'd met as teenagers. One day I saw Elizabeth exiting my mother's trailer; my mother followed with tears in her eyes. Elizabeth had told her, "I've said I'm sorry before, but if there is anything else that I still need to be sorry for, I want you to know how sorry I am." My mother said, "Apology accepted and enjoyed."

Later that week, Elizabeth was moving slowly through the twilight in a flowing robe, having eluded her handlers. With enormous difficulty, breathing heavily, she was making her way to where the celebrity campers were parked. My Broads co-writer, Elaine Pope, and I helped move her along, finally getting her back to the campers — or as I prefer to call them, hamster cages. Halfway there, she stopped, her supposedly violet eyes glaring into the sky. "I used to be a movie star," she raged at the stars with annoyed irony. She shook her head in disbelief, smiling at the insanity of this baffling insight. Then the three of us stood silently, in playful prayer, before continuing on to Elizabeth's hamster cage away from home.

Fisher is an actress and a writer