KRAVIS CENTER Lunch Series Devours Life & Loves of Liz Taylor
Kravis Center’s Final Lunch & Learn in 2012 Devours Life & Loves of Liz Taylor
The tasty dessert of this season’s popular ArtSmart Lunch & Learn Series at the Kravis Center was a luscious look at the various lives and many loves of the late screen legend Liz Taylor. The title of the provocative presentation, which attracted nearly 500 guests, was Elizabeth Taylor: Portrait of a Lady?
This year’s Lunch & Learn series had previously focused on two other extraordinary women: Wallis Warfield Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, and actress and fashion expert Arlene Dahl.
The final Lunch and Learn of the Kravis Center’s 20th anniversary season began with a 15-minute video review of “La Liz” and her fabulous Hollywood career – achieving film stardom in National Velvet in 1941; co-starring with Montgomery Clift (A Place in the Sun), Spencer Tracy (Father of the Bride), Rock Hudson (Giant) and Paul Newman (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof); winning Best Actress Oscars for Butterfield 8 (1960) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1965), becoming the first actress to be paid $1 million for Cleopatra, where she generated scandalous headlines worldwide when she abandoned hubby #4 Eddie Fisher after falling madly in love with Richard Burton.
Multi-talented actor, writer and teacher Lee Wolf, a member of the Kravis Center’s Board of Directors who also chairs the Steering Committee of our Cultural Society, served as featured speaker at this Lunch & Learn event, as she has done many times over the last 17 years. Well-known dancer, photographer and cultural insider Steven Caras, who was recently profiled in a PBS documentary, interviewed Ms. Wolf.
The two show biz experts and fast friends shared anecdotes about Liz Taylor’s passionate personality, from her nature to her frequently vulgar language and lifestyle, that included eight marriages to seven men: Nicky Hilton, Michael Wilding, director Michael Todd, Eddie Fisher (whom she nabbed from Debbie Reynolds following Todd’s tragic death), Richard Burton (twice), U.S. Senator John Warner (Republican from Virginia) and construction worker Larry Fortensky, who was 20 years her junior.
But Elizabeth Taylor was more than just a Hollywood icon and scandal sheet headliner. She was the first major star to crusade for funding to combat AIDS and HIV (following the death of Rock Hudson), raising more than $270 million for the cause.
While she struggled with ill health and various addictions throughout her life, she remained a true superstar until her death in 2011 – and even beyond. The landmark auctions of the Collection of Elizabeth Taylor at Christie’s New York generated sales of nearly $157 million, more than 50 times the original estimate. In fact, the final Lunch & Learn of the season concluded with a gorgeous photographic presentation of Liz Taylor’s legendary jewels.
Held in the Roberta & Stephen R. Weiner Banquet Center’s Gimelstob Ballroom in the Cohen Pavilion, this Kravis Center Cultural Society event included a delicious lunch prepared by Special Impressions at the Kravis Center, Catering by The Breakers.
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Cutlines to Attached Jpegs:
(All IDs are L-R / Photos by Corby Kaye’s Studio Palm Beach)
1_Steve Caras, Lee Wolf
2_Jody Wolf, Ellen Levy, Judie Ganek, Florence Greenberg