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Elizabeth Taylor

Dame Elizabeth Taylor: Actress whose life and career made her the last

Since the late 1960s the nebulous concept of stardom has been subjected to a systematic inflation of values. In a routine television series, for instance, the status of some obscurely minor supporting performer is frequently aggrandised into that of "guest star"; many of the freakish menagerie of hangers-on who peopled Andy Warhol's Factory-produced psychodramas complacently styled themselves "superstars"; and Barry Humphries' alter ego, the redoubtable Edna Everage, has risen almost imperceptibly from the humble rank of "housewife" to that of "megastar".

Julie Burchill: Farewell then, Liz. You knew your beauty was a fuel

With the death of Elizabeth Taylor, the last of the Hollywood greats is finally gone. True to form – never a lady, barely ever a girl – this tough broad supreme battled on against ill-health for decades after her contemporaries overdosed on barbiturates, booze and self-loathing. And at a time when professional beauties seem terrified to show any sign of ageing lest they be shunted into character cameos in favour of some fresher flesh, Taylor was fascinating for being far less interested in leaving a good-looking corpse than in wringing every drop of the juice from every inch of the ride.

Screen icon Elizabeth Taylor dies

Screen siren Dame Elizabeth Taylor, whose dazzling beauty and turbulent life made her one of the most famous stars in the world, has died at the age of 79.

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Eddie Fisher: Singer and actor whose career was overshadowed by his

Eddie Fisher was a major figure in American entertainment for 20 years from the late 1940s, with a string of hit songs and albums, two television series, headlining stage shows and a few films. However, he never really recovered from the scandal of his first divorce.

US singer Eddie Fisher dies aged 82

Singer Eddie Fisher, a teen idol in the 1950s who sparked an international scandal when he left his wife Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor, has died at the age of 82.

Julie Burchill: They had Elizabeth Taylor. We've got Gwyneth. This is

There's been quite a bit of chatter about who should play Elizabeth Taylor in the proposed biopic, and it got me thinking about how very phoney modern actors are, compared with the old breed. You'd think when they abandoned the studio system, the Phoney Quotient would have gone down – now people weren't being forced to change their names and hide their sexual preferences, surely a new sincerity would sweep the bazaars of Thespus?