The curvy silhouette and Snow White-like features are as instantly recognizable as her signature White Diamonds perfume bottle in every department store. When her stunning beauty got her recognized at the early age of 10, it lead to a movie career that spanned decades, including the Cleopatra, the movie that made her the highest paid woman in Hollywood for a short time. She was given the title of Dame along side Julie Andrews by Queen Elizabeth II. For years, the headlines about her love life and professional life spun through the news reels and award shows, but through it all, Elizabeth Taylor retained her sense of self and even more importantly, her love of philanthropy.
As a child of two countries, England and the USA, Taylor had always been a world citizen and she kept one worldwide concern close to her heart. The icon spent years dedicated to fighting HIV and AIDS and fighting for the people who are affected by it. In fact, it was Taylor who organized the first ever gala to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles, the first event for HIV and AIDS awareness and fundraising and her efforts to fight the dreaded virus did not stop there. The beauty icon was an avid supporter of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, a large charity dedicated to raising funds for the treatment and prevention of HIV and AIDS, as well as educating the public about the treatments and preventions available. Taylor was also one of several celebrity endorsers to host the annual gala for amFAR, which to date, has brought in more than $22 million since 1993. Taylor also gave her support to the New Orleans AIDS Task Force, a large charity dedicated to eradicating AIDS and HIV in the New Orleans area as well as providing not only physical attention to those suffering, but to their psychological needs as well. It reaches out to those who are affected through peer support groups and programs such as a food pantry, a HIV clinic and home delivered meals. The icon also dedicated her time to Project Angel Food, a non-profit that delivers free, nutritious meals to people who are suffering from HIV and AIDS and other deadly illnesses, who are otherwise unable to feed themselves regularly and healthily. As if that weren’t enough, Taylor also began her very own charity for HIV and AIDS awareness and treatments. The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation was begun in 1991 and has since provided millions in grants to get vital care to people suffering from HIV and AIDS around the world. The charity also aims to give those suffering a voice and hopes to end the stigmas against those people living with HIV and AIDS. As part of Elizabeth Taylor’s passionate commitment and fearless leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS, she directed that 25% of her royalties from White Diamonds and all of her House of Taylor fragrances go to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
If you’re going to do something, do it right. Elizabeth Taylor dedicated a lifetime of work and philanthropy to the things she was most passionate about. Her legacy will live on, as shiny as the diamonds she loved to wear. Come back next time to see who else is an icon for more than just her beauty.