Elizabeth Taylor: The Life of a West Hollywood Party

Elizabeth Taylor: The Life of a West Hollywood Party
Elizabeth Taylor at the Abbey
Michael Tullberg/Getty

04/04/2008 12:30PM

She's played the Queen of Egypt and Maggie the Cat, but Thursday night Dame Elizabeth Taylor played to one of her most appreciative audiences yet – as the happily imbibing guest for a benefit at the Abbey, West Hollywood's premiere gay bar.

"This just doesn’t happen every day," Abbey owner David Cooley tells PEOPLE. "It was not only Elizabeth Taylor, but she was the life of the party."

Though wheelchair-bound, the 76-year-old superstar's appearance saw her blinged to the max ("There were massive stones on every finger," says one partygoer. "It was amazing") and ready to have a good time – all for a good cause: the Trevor Fund, which runs a national suicide prevention hotline for gay youths.

Holding court in the back of the bar for a solid two hours, Taylor started off asking for the house-special apple martini, says Cooley. But when she caught sight of his watermelon martini, she wanted to try one for herself.

"She said that looks fun, so then she had a watermelon martini," he says. "She managed to drink these with a straw in a very lady-like manner."

Patrons in the club elbowed their way to the bar to get a good look at her. What they saw: Taylor, now sipping tequila shots.

"My friend texted me that Elizabeth Taylor was here, so I had to come see for myself," one wide-eyed guest told PEOPLE.

He wasn't alone. Cooley says that 200 people made their way to the exit to watch Taylor when she finally left the club.

"She waved as she drove off and said she'd be back," says Cooley. “In my 17 years here I have seen a lot of celebs, but how do you top that?"

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