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Taylor Biographer: Courage Was Her Legacy

Taylor Biographer: Courage Was Her Legacy

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Despite a fabled life and film career, Elizabeth Taylor's lasting legacy was her courage and conviction to speak up about the AIDS epidemic, according to her biographer William J. Mann.

Mann says that while researching his acclaimed 2009 biography of the late screen siren, titled How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood, he was surprised to learn how smart Taylor was. "People think of her as beautiful and glamorous and sexy and she was certainly," Mann says. "But she was also shrewd and a great businesswoman. She knew how to sell movies and diamonds and perfume. She knew what the public wanted to hear and see. She was very, very smart."

Yet Mann says that despite making many wonderful movies and living a full, exciting life, it it is Taylor's "basic decency and integrity that people will remember."

"She was blessed with a supreme self-confidence about her place in the world that gave her the integrity to speak up about AIDS at a time when no one else was doing so," Mann says. "People were telling her, 'You can't touch that. It's a disease we don't want to talk about. It's gay, it's dirty, it's secretive.' She said plain and simple, 'My friends are dying!'"

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