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Picks and Pans Review: Elizabeth Taylor: the Last Star

updated 11/02/1981 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/02/1981 01:00AM

by Kitty Kelley

Jacqueline Onassis survived the trashing she got at Kelley's hands in Jackie Oh!, and Taylor certainly can survive this book. Can't she? According to Kelley, the 49-year-old Liz is hysterical, spoiled, utterly self-centered, unable to be alone, ill-educated, a hypochondriac, jewel-obsessed, curses like a fishwife and has ugly black hair all over her body. Kelley makes her mother, Sara, an ex-actress, into the typical stage mother-monster when, in fact, Elizabeth seems to have been born to be the movie star she became. Kelley contends she chased every man she married, and most of them were passive, weak or had drinking problems. Unlike some other star biographies that promise a lot of dirt and then fail to deliver, Kelley dishes it all out. The book is jam-packed with gamy anecdotes. An ungallant Nicky Hilton, Liz's first ex, commented: "Every man should have the opportunity of sleeping with Elizabeth Taylor, and at the rate she's going every man will." But it takes a strong stomach to spend some 400 pages with the tiresome, vulgar and silly woman Kelley paints. It's impossible, the way Kelley breathlessly recites Liz's every excess, to feel anything but disgust for both the subject and the author—and for oneself for being so grossly entertained by it all. (Simon and Schuster, $14.95)

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