Most of you reading this piece right now probably remember Elizabeth Taylor for the jokes, instead of the work.
She was a major tabloid figure for her 8 marriages, the affair with Eddie Fisher, the weight gain in the 70's and treatment for alcoholism. She even provided the voice for Maggie in The Simpsons.
After that, she was one of the greatest philanthropists and activists we have ever seen.
In the 1940's, Taylor became a massive child star in Lassie Come Home and National Velvet.
The 1950's brought her to critical acclaim with Oscar nominations for Raintree County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly Last Summer.
However, Taylor, considered the biggest female star in the world, went beyond that to become the first woman in the history of Hollywood to be paid $1 Million for 1960's Cleopatra. While Hollywood had many famous female stars over the decades before, Taylor was the first to be on the same financial level as any of the big male stars of her day. After Cleopatra, she went on to win Oscars for Butterfield 8 and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? However, later in life, she became known for more than acting.
Taylor also became one of the strongest advocates for AIDS research and helping those who had the disease. In the early 1980's, as AIDS started to spread in America, those suffering from the disease were treated as lepers. However, after her close friend and fellow Hollywood icon, Rock Hudson, publicly announced in 1985 he had contracted AIDS and was on the verge of death, Taylor became an outspoken and dedicated activist to find a cure and change the public perception of those who were suffering.
She was one of the key founders of The American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR), and has been said to have raised over $50 Million personally for the cause.
As the world mourns her loss, we should all remember the positive contributions she made to change the world as we know it, and change it for the better.