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Glamorous movie stars (03/27/2011)
By Frances Edstrom

Poor Elizabeth Taylor, dead at 79. It must have been hard to be a legendary beauty living the life of a glamorous aging movie star. You’d better make your money while you’re young, because movie stars have a short shelf life. If you start out in the public eye with raven hair, violet eyes and a 21-inch waist, that’s the standard to which you’ll be held the rest of your life.

If normal women gain a little weight with a pregnancy, and sport a little pouch afterward, it’s not a big deal. But if that happens to a movie star, she’d better be back in shape a month later or else there’ll be close-ups of her tummy in People magazine. Can you imagine being at the Aquatic Center and having the paparazzi shooting photos of your tummy pouch through the fence with telephoto lenses?

And say you want to run to the store for a quart of milk. If you are a normal person, you might run a comb through your hair before you go out and jump in your minivan. It would take a movie star so long to get ready that the kids would have eaten their cereal dry before she had her eyeliner on.

Forget taking the kids to the grocery store with you. That would mean you’d have to get them all dolled up in their hundred-dollar T-shirts, too. And if the kids threw a tantrum because you refused to buy sugared cereal or the giant chocolate bar, the headline would imply that someone must be beating these kids. No wonder movie stars have servants.

And forget being comfortable. That nice velour sweat suit with the elastic waistband that you like so much — when did you buy it, 1998 or so — and your really comfortable running (well walking fast anyway) shoes with the turquoise and gray stripes? You couldn’t actually wear them anywhere. You’d be panned in People, Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated.

Normal women lose pieces of jewelry from time to time. They leave rings in public bathrooms, they break the clasps on bracelets and earrings fall off without them realizing it. But can you imagine trying to break it to your husband or your insurance agent that you’ve misplaced the Hope diamond?

And your love life? Have you ever rolled your eyes at your husband when he’s telling that story AGAIN at a party? That would get you on Youtube in big hurry. You’d have to hold his hand all the time and look adoringly at him (and he’d have to look back adoringly, which might be the hard part) so there wouldn’t be a spread about you in the grocery store tabloids.

Heavens to Betsy, don’t get old and gnarly! What do you think they have plastic surgeons for? And health problems? Unforgivable! You are supposed to be perpetually young, lithe, slender and beautiful. Some of them can do it pretty well, but it gets tough when they reach their sixties and seventies, which to the rest of us is when life is just getting comfortable.

It’s no wonder old movie stars get to be reclusive and live out their lives in a compound in the desert with a bunch of animals (and they aren’t her in-laws).

So here’s to Elizabeth Taylor. She did the glamour thing until the bitter end. 


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