The last movie star died Wednesday. By the time Elizabeth Taylor left this mortal coil at 79, she had cheated death with a long line of infirmities that had repeatedly put her in the hospital — and on front pages across the world — and in 1961 left her with a tracheotomy scar on a neck more accustomed to diamonds. The tracheotomy was the result of a bout with pneumonia that left her gasping for air and it returned her to the big, bountiful, hungry life that was one of her greatest roles. It was a minor incision (later, she had surgery to remove the scar), but it’s easy to think of it as some kind of war wound for a life lived so magnificently.
In 1992, Liz starred in an episode of classic eco-warrior cartoon Captain Planet and the Planeteers called ‘A Formula For Hate’. It was reportedly the first time a US children’s animated series dealt with the issue of HIV/AIDS. Taylor played a mum to Neil Patrick Harris’s Todd and tackled the evil machinations of Verminous Skumm, who brainwashes a local community into thinking the virus can be spread by casual contact.
Not content with one US animated first, Elizabeth also voiced the previously-silent (pacifier sucks aside) Maggie Simpson, uttering the word “Daddy” for the youngest of the Simpsons clan. According to show creator Matt Groening: “We did 24 takes, but they were always too sexual.” Well, what did they expect really? “Finally Liz said, ‘F**k you,’ and walked out!” Marvellous!