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Queers Love Liz

Aside from Michael Jackson, nobody loves Elizabeth Taylor as much as queers! Described by Camille Paglia as "Hollywood's Pagan Queen," immortalized in the silkscreens of Andy Warhol, and cast as the leading lady in several film productions of Tennessee Williams plays, Taylor has awed the gays for almost half a century. (Of course, it helps that her costars are usually hunky Hollywood actors.)

Butterfield 8 (1960)--Taylor plays a call girl who falls in love with one of her clients, and the film's full of bitchy splendor. Take the opening scene, in which Taylor wakes up in a strange bedroom and finds cash on the bedside table. Outraged, she scrawls "No Sale" across her client's bedroom mirror with lipstick. Classic! And then it ends in a tragic car wreck, and nobody walks away happy.

Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)--The seedy Southern secrecy in this Tennessee Williams play fits Taylor's smoldering screen presence to a tee. Her character holds the secret to mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of a man, but his mother (a severe and neurotic Katherine Hepburn), can't face the truth about her son. No, she wants to keep Taylor's character locked in a mental institution--and submit her to a lobotomy!

Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (1958)--Another Tennessee Williams classic, in which she fights to win back the affections of her husband, Brick, an alcoholic ex-football-player (played by a tremendously hunky, tremendously young Paul Newman). The film has unforgettable dialogue--including a line in which Taylor seethingly describes a mother of six as a "fertility beast."

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)--Taylor stars alongside her then-husband, Richard Burton. Their screen couple--a pair of academic professors--invite a pair of young lovebirds over for a late-night get together, and total chaos ensues. Taylor and Burton bicker constantly throughout, which makes for a consistently entertaining, psychologically exhausting tour de force. Taylor is older in this film, but still at her brassiest.

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