As the world remembers Elizabeth Taylor today, the Middle East mourns the passing of a first class world celebrity who graced our screens and media across the decades, first showing up on our screens as a child actress aged 10. She since came to be known for her legendary beauty and natural glamour that shined through her movies and attracted in many men. She was married 8 times, twice over to the same Richard Burton, rumoured to be considering a 9th. One of her husbands was a prince of Monaco. Often her men were considerably younger than the classic Hollywood star.
In the region she is noted for her uber-famous lead in Cleopatra the movie of and maybe not so fondly in the Arab world for her Zionist affiliation and long-time support for Israel. Quite the activist, she condemned the U.N.“Zionism is racism” resolution; she canceled a trip to Moscow because of the Soviet Union’s anti-Israel stand. What's more, she offered herself up as ransom in a bid to free Israeli hostages being held in Entebbe. She did this when she was in Israel raising funds for JNF–Jewish National Fund–which remains a quasi-state body involved in the appropriation of Palestinian lands in the Galilee.
Elizabeth Taylor’s pro-Israel activism led to the banning of her films in several Arab countries. After she bought $100,000 in Israel Bonds in 1959, the United Arab Republic (now Egypt) banned all her movies.
Though she was only a proselyte Jewess, who converted in 1959, her features are reminiscent of sultry Semetic beauty: Black hair and whitest of skin, she is known for her striking looks, marked in violet double-lashed thick browed framed eyes, and naturally red lips. A brand of perfume also bears her name.
When looking for her Arab counterparts it is tempting to find parallels - though certainly not a match in world stature- but a favourite fondly known as Sabouha shines on here in our midst. Lebanese star Sabah is our aging singer-actress star supremo, who has been around forever and no doubt will not be fading away any time soon.