Inside were three sparkling pieces: Even without the cachet of coming from her personal collection, they were worth a sizeable amount and Taylor was specific about who they should go to following her death in March, While her relatives might have hoped that they would come their way, they were destined to go outside the family and, on the face of it, to the most unexpected of recipients.
Liz Taylor centre and Debbie Reynolds right with Eddie Fischer left in By then 79, the same age as Taylor when she died, her fellow Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds learned that it was she who would inherit the gems. That Reynolds might accept such a bequest would have seemed inconceivable back in when Taylor famously betrayed their friendship by stealing her husband Eddie Fisher and embroiling them in one of the biggest Hollywood scandals of the day.
Although it was known that the two women eventually made their peace, no one could have imagined that Taylor would remember her former love rival so generously in her will.
She recalls visiting the increasingly frail Taylor at her home in and taking along a pumpkin pie. It was a bit tight so I told her she might have to add a diamond or two to make it fit better. Strange though that sounds, she certainly makes it clear that her divorce did not come as much of a surprise. By the time she married Fisher in September , the year-old daughter of a devoutly religious railroad worker was used to dealing with wayward men.
Growing up in LA, a keen Girl Scout, she originally wanted to become a gym teacher but was signed by Warner Brothers and then MGM after winning a beauty contest at the age of The camera closed in.
Gene took me tightly in his arms. I was an innocent year-old kid who had never been French kissed. It felt like an assault. I was stunned that this year-old man would do this to me. During the making of Give a Girl a Break in , the legendary dancer and choreographer Bob Fosse tried to get closer to her than was professionally necessary. He got the message and never poked me again. Fisher was four years older than her and infinitely more experienced.
He had lost his virginity to a prostitute at 15, claimed to have been seduced by Marlene Dietrich in a mirrored bathroom and was also linked with Judy Garland, Ann-Margret, Merle Oberon and many other stars of the day. I told him that I loved Eddie and wanted to marry him. In October , just over a year into her marriage to Fisher, she gave birth to their daughter Carrie — later to play Princess Leia in Star Wars.
But rather than doting on his new daughter, Fisher was absent for long and unexplained periods. The problem was, Eddie and I hardly ever had sex after Carrie was born. Time was running out and I was on a mission to get pregnant.
And three months later, the four of them rented a villa in Italy. I stayed that way until I left for the airport the next morning. Nine months later, Carrie had a brother Todd. Taylor was, understandably, hysterical and Reynolds offered to look after her three children — the new baby, and her two sons by Michael Wilding — at her own home.
How many women would be happy for their husbands to share a home with probably the most beautiful woman in the world, whether she was in mourning or not?
Perhaps only one like Reynolds who was aware, if only subconsciously, that her marriage was already approaching its end. The unfavourable publicity saw his TV series cancelled and he was later dropped by his record label. His career never really recovered and his subsequent marriage to Taylor, which lasted less than five years, was soon disrupted by her affair with her future husband Richard Burton.
She would soon marry second husband Harry Karl, a wealthy businessman, and all this must have made it easier to offer an olive branch when, seven years after her divorce from Fisher, she found herself sailing for Europe on the same cruise ship as Taylor and Richard Burton.
In , Taylor got Reynolds a ticket to see her friend Michael Jackson performing in a concert in New York to celebrate his 30 years in show business. The following morning, September 11, the two women woke in hotel rooms in different parts of the city to hear the news of the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. When Reynolds realised she would not make it to California for a one-woman show she was due to perform that weekend, Taylor offered to help. She called in a favour from U. Senator John Warner, the seventh of her eight husbands, and he arranged for the two of them to be flown back to LA in a private jet, as soon as flights resumed, in time for Reynolds to make her concert.
Such gestures were no doubt appreciated by Reynolds, but towards the end their friendship was as much about the shared hardships of old age. This is really tough. Advertisement Share or comment on this article: Elizabeth Taylor's affair with Eddie Fisher was the ultimate sexual betrayal to friend Debbie Reynolds.