Liz (1932-2011)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Liz (1932-2011)

It's hardly a case of, "Liz, we hardly knew ya!" it was always that we knew her all too well, since everything she did over the past seven plus decades seemed larger than life due to "the press" which couldn't get enough of her.

I never met the woman when she and hus­band #5/6 stayed in Quogue at their attorney Aaron Frosch's home, but there were two minor con­nections with my family.

Mike Todd and wife Elizabeth Taylor at Cannes in 1957 for the French premiere of "Around the World in Eighty Days."

When her husband #3 Mike Todd was killed in a 'plane crash, she grieved quite openly about how he had been taken from her too soon... they'd been married for less than 14 months.

My mother, widowed in the same manner less than two years previously, rarely displayed anger much less outrage, but she was so incensed by her over-wrought public utter­ances that she wrote Mrs. Todd a letter.

In essence it said: "Be glad you had what you had even if you think it was way too brief. Now shut up and get on with your life!"

She reconsidered before the missive was sent, and it was consigned to the hearth as her nat­ural milk of human kindness again took hold.

Fast forward to 1986 when my son and I had joined daughter Pegs on the Caribbean island of St. John for Thanksgiving where she was helping our cousins, Cindy and Charlie Clifton, get their Two Swans Deli up and running.

That was also the weekend of the annual Coral Bay sailing regatta, and as Cindy was sailing on an all-female ship, Charlie and I went off to see who might be in need of some crew.

We easily signed on with a skipper who wanted two more to join the young couple he'd had al­ready taken aboard.

I don't recall the name of the yacht on which we finished third-from-last but had great fun. Nor do I recall the name of its skipper or the young fellow who crewed with us.

But I remember his lovely mate with whom he had sailed from Islas Canarias on their own small cruising yacht... her name was Lisa.

That Sunday as we were preparing to depart on the Cruz Bay-Red Hook ferry, the headline on the newspaper in the deli announced that Cary Grant had died the day before.

"Hmmmn," Charlie mused. "Wonder if Lisa knew him?"

"Why would she?"
"I think her dad was Mike Todd."

Of course, I hadn't known that... and it wasn't 'til this morning that I figured out that Lisa was Liz Taylor's daughter.


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