Town & Country
May 8, 2017
The magazine editor recalls his father’s close friendship with the legendary film star.
Elizabeth Taylor was an extraordinary philanthropist and humanitarian. Our family saw that firsthand back in the 1980s, when she and my father, Malcolm Forbes, became close friends. We got to know her and found her to be a witty, delightful, and thoughtful person, especially around my five young daughters.
Elizabeth was very concerned about the AIDS epidemic, which was then raging. Today it’s hard to fathom the prevailing attitudes about gay people and the disease that was mortally afflicting so many of them. “Didn’t they bring this on themselves?” was, tragically, a not uncommon response. Elizabeth would have none of it.
She courageously took the lead in both creating awareness and raising funds for research. It was often a lonely battle, but she was not to be deterred. (We were impressed, and at my father’s party for the 70th anniversary of Forbes magazine, he presented her with a $1 million check for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, amfAR.)
Her battle against AIDS is one example of what made Elizabeth Taylor’s philanthropy so unique: courage and determination.