The biggest star, and the biggest-hearted
One measure of a woman is the number of citations on Bing.com: As of Wednesday afternoon, Elizabeth Taylor had 101,000,000 references. Before the advent of digital archives, yet another measure was the number of clipping files devoted to her in the newspaper morgue.
When I worked at the Boston Herald during the mid-1980s, librarian John Cronin quipped that by clips’ gauge, the most significant figure in the paper’s history was not Brookline-born JFK, nor was it legendary Beantown mayor James Curley, who inspired “The Last Hurrah.”
The individual commanding the most space in the Herald morgue, a four-drawer file cabinet for clippings and 2½ drawers more for photos, was one Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner. (She had yet to wed Larry Fortensky.) Cronin cataloged the clips into eight different categories, including Liz Taylor roles, Liz Taylor husbands, Liz Taylor jewelry and Liz Taylor operations. (By the way, Taylor hated the tabloid shortening of her name.)
In 1991 at my current workplace, The Philadelphia Inquirer, librarian M.J. Crowley reported that there were more files devoted to Taylor than to any other celebrity, although President Richard Nixon and Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo occupied slightly more real estate. Crowley observed that “Taylor is more vilified, celebrated and photographed than Jacqueline Onassis, Princess Diana and Madonna put together.”
THE GREATEST STAR IN THE WORLD