3 Mar 2014

Hestia is Elizabeth Taylor: Day 4: Causes

Elizabeth once quipped that some of her finest leading men had been horses and dogs and it was no idle joke - National Velvet and Lassie Come Home confirmed her money-making abilities for the studios and secured her youthful place in the glittery Hollywood firmament.

She adored animals - even as a small child she had ponies, chickens and dogs and fellow actors recall her turning up on set as a youngster with squirrels, dogs and all sorts of pets.

Although the pets on set stuff stopped as she matured into a shapely teenager, she continued to support animals in crisis and she became a patron of Dogs Deserve Better - a charity the rescues chained dogs and gives them a better life.

Elizabeth had converted to Judaism on her marriage to Eddie Fisher and continued to support Israeli causes throughout her life.  In fact, when the airline hijack took place at Entebbe Airport in 1976, she

volunteered to become a hostage.  After the hijack was over, a TV special was made about the event - and Elizabeth co-starred, along with Kirk Douglas.

But it was undoubtedly for her unflinching support of AIDS charities that she will be best remembered. Elizabeth Taylor was one of the first on her feet to try to do something about it, launching the AIDS project, The Los Angeles Commitment to Life Dinner.  It was around this time that her long-time friend Rock Hudson died from the disease.

Let's not forget that AIDS and HIV were very taboo subjects at the time.  There was a lot of confusion, ignorance and fear with many showbiz people opting to turn their backs and pretend that it wasn't affecting their industry - or their friends.

These days, thanks to ongoing research and the development of new drugs, becoming HIV is not the death sentence that it was in the early 80s.

"It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance "Elizabeth Taylor

Even if you disliked her as an actress or a person, there is no taking away from her the impact that she has had on raising AIDS awareness and financing research.

For over 20 years, she campaigned tirelessly and by the time she died in 2011 she had helped raise £270,000,000 for AIDS charities.

Quite a Dame.

She found solace in service and knew that she could use her fame to great effect - much in the same way as Angelina Jolie does.  Elizabeth's glamour and fame shone light into the dark places that no one really wanted to look.

And that brings me to the thought, how can I live Elizabeth's ideal of service?

Well, for me it's a no-brainer.  I have the most wonderful dog who spent his entire life racing. When he could no longer bring in any cash for his trainer, he was discarded and - fortunately - put up for rehoming.  And that rehoming happens because of some fantastic charities who work closely with the dog-racing industry.

We are hopefully now moved away from the days of finding dead greyhounds piled in ditches with their ears removed (so that no one can identify the dog by its racing tattoos in its ears).

And so here's what I pledge to do.

For the coming year, I pledge to support two greyhound groups - Fife Greyhound Protection (where my lovely Nero came from) and Scottish Greyhound Protection.   Tartarus will have a FIT if I try to rehome another dog, but I'm sure that he'll be ok with me supporting these two great groups.

Go on - share! What charities do you support?

PS - yes, I'm still sitting here with a ton of makeup on and some outrageous jewellery - and the only person to see me today is the dog!


  1. go you!

    we support doctors without borders, our fabulous local publicly-supported radio station, and i do micro loans through kiva, which is a fantastic way to make the same money go to work again and again, for different people.

    i used to support the red cross, but we had a little disagreement over their outrageously outdated way of addressing their correspondence (i am not now, nor will i ever be a "mrs. john brown" on account of me being a person in my own right, with, gasp, my very own first name!). i asked them to change the way i was being addressed (especially as i do the money stuff in our house, and i make the decisions whom to support), they listened, for a bit, then reverted back to the 50's and so i cut them off.

    1. ooooh 1950s ettiquette. Excusable in the 50s, not in the 21st century though! They probably updated their mailing list and lo! It updated back to the 50s!

  2. Love love love Liz........and I think your experiment is brilliant you look absolutely fabulous, is it growing your inner Liz confidence?? I get down and dirty with the paint and pens and sticky-back plastic in the after-school program for Kids Company....4 years at art college not wasted!!x

    1. Actually, it IS growing my inner confidence. I have never worn so much makeup in my life and I am actually getting to quite like having such heavily made-up eyes. I usually don't wear much on my eyes at all because they are deep set and any makeup just makes them look worse. But yanno what? I no longer care! I am enjoying the eyes and the jewellery very much!! And the attitude is coming along nicely :-D

  3. I'm a little suspicious of the larger charities since the whole chugger thing started, not to mention the RSPCA and Oxfam's rather dubious practices. That said, I always give money to the Royal British Legion on Poppy Day and do my best to support all the poor, abandoned dawgies by encouraging people to rehome, as I have. We have a lot of charity shops in town and they have had a great deal of clothing and toys from us over the years, plus I often buy books or bits and bobs from them. The kids' school are always having some sort of charitable thing going on, so there is also the usual raft of sponsorships and donations, though I must admit that I do rather resent having my children used to bring pressure this way and don't get me started on the awful guilting TV adverts, which only serve to annoy me.
    I don't any celebrity sway or very much spare cash, unlike Liz, but looking at the above, it would seem that I do more that I'd realised :D

    1. You are doing tons - give yourself a pat on the back!!! I loathe the chugger thing too. I can cry at adverts, but I still don't give them my money :-)

  4. Wow, I was blown away by how much money Liz raised for AIDS charities!
    I volunteered for the Terrence Higgins Trust for nearly a year, back before my son was born. And my partner volunteers for a local homeless charity, offering English classes.
    These days, I support a couple of charities that help disabled kids, as well as Amnesty and War on Want. Have to admit, we take clothes/books/DVD's etc to Oxfam still. As you say, it's tough to know what to support, with the chuggers and ads etc. My mum supports a women's foundation that seems to do good work, and I also donate to small businesses around the world through Kiva. And we gave away furniture to the British Heart Foundation with our house move.
    I like the idea of supporting local charities where possible, then you have a better chance of knowing that they are really doing something positive. Yet, they are also harder to find...


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