Elizabeth Taylor is best known for her outlandish collection of husbands, her bewitching indigo eyes and her lavish collection of diamonds, but a lesser known fact about legendary actor is how she dedicated her life to AIDS research and awareness.
Along with the enormous amount of fundraising Taylor put her iconic name into, and her efforts to de-stigmatize the disease, it appears that the star was not afraid to get her hands dirty and defy the law in order to make sure HIV positive people were able to receive experimental treatments to prolong their lives.
In a story that mirrors that of Ron Woodroof, who was recently immortalized by Dallas Buyers Club, it has recently been revealed that Elizabeth Taylor ran an illegal underground network from her own home to directly help those living with HIV/AIDS. Model and AIDS activist, Kathy Ireland waxed poetic about Taylor's work when she told Entertainment Tonight that:
"Talk about fearless in her home in Bel-Air. It was a safe house. A lot of the work that she did, it was illegal, but she was saving lives. It was in a time when it was not something to do. Business associates pleaded with her, ‘Leave this thing alone.’ She received death threats. Friends hung up on her when she asked for help, but something that I love about Elizabeth is her courage.”
At the time, HIV and AIDS was still incredibly misunderstood and the lack of drug research in the States meant diagnosis was practically a death sentence.
This incredible story really cements Taylor's commitment to HIV and AIDS awareness, even at a time where activism was deeply frowned upon by the public. The star began raising money for research back in 1985 and she even testified before congress the following year on behalf of Ryan White, a child who was expelled from school for being HIV positive.
Truly a legend on and off screen.
(Source: Entertainment Times)