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People Top 5
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PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- December 26, 1988
- Vol. 30
- No. 26
A Blazing Beauty
Liz Taylor Was Beautiful Again, Her Passion a Sweet Success, Before Her Roller Coaster Life Took Another of Its Dizzying Dives This Year
The year began well. She published an upbeat book about how she detoxed and deflabbed, and in one night she raised $3 million to fight AIDS. But by July, clawed by back pain, she was reported gobbling Percodan tablets as if they were M&M's and washing them down with Bloody Marys. By October she was back in a hospital for all-out chemical warfare against her tortured back. Assaulted daily by Demerol, Percodan, Xanax, Zantac, Ativan and Tylenol with codeine, the pain abated—but the pills that drove it away drove her back to the Ford clinic. "With all the drugs she's absorbed," a staffer said, "she's a female version of Elvis—and you know what happened to him."
And then, while she was in deep withdrawal, her 92-year-old mother, Sara Taylor, checked in to the same hospital complex, "near death" from bleeding ulcers, and Liz had two lives to fight for. She was permitted to visit her mother every day, and she made each trip a star turn. Beforehand, she spent an hour getting coiffed and groomed. "She would never go out without darkening her eyebrows," said an attendant. "Unpenciled, they look like little tufts of cotton." And as she was wheeled through the drab halls, she held herself like a queen being borne in splendor past her awestruck subjects. "Bloat and all," said a friend, "she is still the ultimate superstar. Still Elizabeth Taylor."
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