THE QUEEN OF LOVE ~ Pour L’Amour by Vicky Tiel

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Once many years ago, late into the Alexandrian night when the city was asleep and the waters of the Mediterranean shimmed under the impersonal gaze of the universe something magical happened. I have heard tales of others who have seen it. Yet I have never had occasion to meet anyone who could share their story with me.  Never having told anyone before I wonder if it is wise to tell you now?  For no one could possibly believe such a tale born of the stars, and the dust of fallen empires and of love.

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    It was the summer of 1922 and I had just arrived in the city from England on my way to the Valley of the Kings. I was to be a part of the last expedition in search of undiscovered tombs. Lord Carnarvon had sent for me to aid the expedition with more supplies and money. On this particular night before I was to take the train to Upper Egypt I could not sleep and against the advice of the hotel concierge I went for a stroll along the Grand Cornice that runs along the Eastern Harbor in the direction of Cape Lochias. The night was redolent with the smell of jasmine and amber marble dust that had baked in the sun the day before. It was heady and intoxicating as it mixed with the scent of vanilla and peppered spices that seemed to hover like holy incense over the city in the moonless heat of midnight.

I wandered in a dream like state onto the Cape where once the royal enclosure of the Ptolemies had ruled the city.   Enveloped by a sense of wonder at being for the first time in Egypt I didn’t see the fallen column in my path and stumbled over it.  I fell face first knocking myself out when my forehead met the earth.

“With no moon to watch over you young man, you should be more careful in the dark.” A woman’s voice spoke in a strange archaic Greek.

I opened my eyes. Not knowing how long I had been unconscious I looked about for the owner of the voice. There sitting on the fallen column was a woman, not of great beauty but instead possessed by great charm and presence. Yet beyond this charm was her voice, it was a lilting music that captured my imagination. Rising and falling in perfect harmony it possessed the beauty of a small chamber orchestra.

“You are not cut but you are going to have a rather large bump on your forehead.”

I sat up and rubbed my eyes. She seemed to glow around the edges of her form and at moments became almost transparent.

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“Who are you?” I asked rubbing the growing nub on my head.  She ignored me and looked out past the entrance to the Eastern Harbor to the open sea.

“This ships should be coming soon. And the end with them.”

“The end?”

She smiled as she watched the horizon. “Why is the beacon not burning in the lighthouse?” She looked back at me. “Not a bad thing really. Without the light the ships might crash on the rocks and sink and  with them Rome’s ambitions.”

Suddenly I was very cold, and as the icy hand of realization touched my shoulder I understood what was happening.

“Where is Antony?” I said softly.

Her smile faded at the corners of her mouth. “Wandering the beaches by day looking for his lost army, in the taverns at night singing sad songs, and all because of me.”  She reached out to touch my hand, her fingers passed through me. “Have you ever been in love?” She looked very tired.

I glanced but for a moment past her to the east knowing that Octavian would come over the Delta to take the city and not by sea. Not as Caesar had, when she was young and the future held hopes of Empire. Now the future was behind her and turned to stony history.

“Love?” I said. “I don’t think so; no I have never really been in love.”antony-cleopatra

Her soft laughter was soothing and beautiful.  “I thought years ago that a goddess was above love. I was wrong. Loving him was not in the plan, but young man love has its own plan that is greater than us all. In the first moments of falling into Antony’s fire the Goddess was destroyed. I was divine no more and became a woman utterly lost in the divinity of love.”

In the distance toward the end of the Cape there was soft ghostly merry music of lutes, lyres and a man singing slightly off key.

“Ah….my love calls” She stood up and I could see the stars glittering through her body where her heart no longer lived. “I must go and make things ready for the victor and all things right with my Antony.”

She started to walk toward the sea and to fade in her progress to eternity.

“Your Majesty!”

She turned.  “Why did you put such trust in him? Why do you go to him now? Now that it is all lost, your kingdom, your freedom, your life?”

She was turning to a starry mist and I could just make out the traces of her last smile. “for love…. For love…..for love.”

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All the treasures we found later that following November in the tomb of Tutankhamun were nothing in comparison with the beauty of that night in Alexandria. The night when I met a Queen who gave everything for love.

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Pour L’Amour the new fragrance by Vicky Tiel is something special. Vicky is thrilled to say that this fragrance is her best fragrance yet, her most sensual, magical and erotic even. What makes it an elixir of sensuality is the inclusion of four aphrodisiacs and one very secret ingredient. That ingredient being a note that since the late 1700’s has only been used in men’s fragrance. What could that note be?  Whatever the answer is, for she refused to tell even me, this fragrance is presented in joy, with flair and all wrapped up in Vicky’s mantra of Love.

Love life, love yourself, love every aspect of this existence. It is all for love, live for love, Pour L’Amour.

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VICKY TIEL

The perfume opens with a glittering citrus cocktail of sparkling bergamot, and tangy Mandarin orange. The note of Quince is added to give the fragrance a tropical fruitiness. Not a sickly sweet tropical fruit, a mixture of apple and pear but lush and ripe and juicy splash of this really beautiful note. The Quince may indeed be one of the aphrodisiacs of the perfume as it was the favorite fruit of the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.

The top notes set the scene immediately for the mid notes and burn of in a passionate blaze to reveal a gorgeous patchouli leaf that lends an exotic eastern flavor to a fully blooming white Jasmine Sambac. This luxurious center is framed by golden peppery notes of Freesia, this patchouli and the pepper/spicy freesia keep the fragrance from going too indolic and lend it a rather strong unisex quality.

Well into the sixth to seventh hour the dry down of the base notes kicks in. A creamy warm amber is blending into a rich vanilla bean and smothered in the most soothing and smoothly polished sandalwood. The vanilla gives the dry down a touch of gourmand which is interesting and makes the dying notes sweet but without regret for its fading. Rather it invites one to reapply the perfume and begin the romance anew.

Over all it is a lush Oriental that captures in olfactory style the felling of a grand passion. Beautify rendered it is well worth checking out. It is a full and adult perfume that gives me great joy in its unapologetically charming nod to classicism in the perfume world. It is time for perfume to become sophisticated and alluring again. Leave the fresh clean watery fragrances to be but mere after bath splashes. Pour L’Amour is arresting of the senses and demands adoration, It will command the room without overwhelming it or the person who wears it. It is magnetic and whispers a promise of grand passion, a love that my even topple an empire and turn a goddess into a woman.

I have to agree with Vicky Tiel, this is her best fragrance yet.

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At this time Pour L’Amour is only available on HSN. (Home Shopping Network)

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THE FALL OF ROME ~ GOLD, Les Compositions Parfumees by Lalique

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Gold, she was completely covered in gold….

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She hardly noticed the fingers flitting from her collar to her cleavage as Irene’s hands plucked and pulled at her golden Isis winged cape adjusting it so it hung just so.  At the foot of the black fiberglass beast a line of men with highly oiled skin shuffled past in leather loincloths to their appointed place where the huge ropes waited to be lifted and hauled, their number was in the hundreds. Ahead of them stood the unfinished back of the Arch of Constantine, (set historically at the wrong place at the wrong time) a construction of pipes, scaffolding and plaster of Paris which had been standing a year already just waiting for this day. To the left of it were banks of lights and behind them electrical generators humming low and hot. A myriad of gaffers, technicians and gofers scurried and rushed to serve those machines and gigantic bulbs that would very soon all be turned on and turned toward her. All of this she barely noticed as Joe whispered last minute instructions in her ear. What she did notice was the low rumble of thousands upon thousands of voices beyond the arch. They sounded dangerous and hungry.

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“It’s time.” Joe said. He patted her hand then he and Irene climbed down from the gilded platform leaving her sitting there three stories high with a six year old Italian boy next to her who had no idea that a wave of vertigo was threatening to engulf her. Nor could he understand that she was in the eye of the biggest scandal to rock Hollywood in forty years. Only yesterday the Pope had denounced her publicly in an open letter in the Vatican newspaper as a wanton home wrecker and a sexual vagrant. Her falling in love with the married Richard Burton had even knocked the Cuban Missile Crisis off most of the front pages of the world’s newspapers. The sound of the mob rolled and rumbled ominously beyond the arch in what was a Roman Forum twice as large as the real one just six miles north of Cinecitta. The sound of it hit her in the pit of her stomach. There had been bomb threats that morning which she was not supposed to have known about, but she knew. Another wave of vertigo hit the pit of her stomach as the three thousand extras turned in unison to look toward her. Devout Roman Catholics all, and they all by now had read the Pope’s letter. Some of them might have rotten tomatoes, or rocks or a gun. She could barely make out Richard on the steps of the Senate house next to Rex. He was nervously fingering the hilt of his freshly sharpened gladius. Only then did she realize that she was clutching the little boys back for dear life. He was looking up quizzically at her as if he were about to ask her if she was alright. But he didn’t speak English so he said nothing. She smiled at him. She had to be brave for his sake and the sake of her own children and mother and father who were watching from the sidelines.

Suddenly Joe’s voice came thought a bull horn calling “Action!” The playback music began. Pounding drums deep and majestic that in turn where haunted by flutes and reeds. The three hundred men below began to strain against the ropes and slowly buy one inch then two the great black sphinx began to move laboriously forward toward the arch. All she could hear now were the drums. Was it the playback or was it the sound of her racing heart in her ears? The mob was deadly silent and waiting. Waiting for her. She set her eyes on Richard and concentrated on only him. Nothing else mattered, where she was, the scandal, the damnation of the world that had been hurled at her head faded to a blur and there was only him. No matter what was about to happen in the next moments, she knew he was worth it. They were screaming, they were shouting and they were surging forward as the beast of Egypt’s Queen cleared the arch baring between its paws a goddess of pure gold.

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“Here we go Bessie….” She thought. Then it hit her right between the eyes and shot straight into her heart. The three thousand Roman Catholics were waving and with smiles beaming, blowing kisses and cheering “Liz! Liz! Baci Baci!” kisses kisses. The sphinx came to a dead stop and she was surrounded by nothing but love. It was the most purely golden wonderful moment in a year of heartache, regret and madness. Her eyes were so filled with tears that she couldn’t see Richard until he was atop the gleaming stairs of the sphinx reaching up to her tears stained his beautiful pockmarked cheek. Joe was there too with wet eyes but the most surprising thing was to see that old crusty cameraman Leon Shamroy sitting beside the camera atop the crane crying and clapping.

In the summer of 1962 Elizabeth Taylor, sat on her golden throne atop a monstrous black sphinx at the center of her fame shimmering in the Roman sun in her 24 carat gold Isis costume. She had conquered Rome not to mention the Pope.

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Gold by Lalique is part of the Les Compositions Parfumees 2015 release. A collection of five perfumes that are all based on precious metals. This is a very interesting and exciting point of view for perfume. To create in scent the image, the essence and the emotions elicited by highly prized earthly elements that in essence have no real olfactory signature.  The other four perfumes are Electrum, Zamak, Bronze and Silver. It seems only fitting that we begin with gold.

The nose behind Gold is at this point a mystery. I could not find out who it is but perhaps that just adds to the glamour of this fragrance. A perfume that is smooth and polished to a brilliant shine. Almost austere but there is a warmth in it that like Gold itself draws one in with its fascinating glow. Enticing velvety and rich. There is a velvet buttery beauty to gold when it is polished to mirror brilliance. It is the element that can only be created in the universe when a star goes super nova. The death of a star creates our most precious metal here on Earth. Gold is so rare and prized that the ancient Egyptians believed that the skin of the gods was made of it. And of course if you drop the “L’ from gold in English, what do you have? God.

Gold opens with only two top notes, bergamot and lemon, this is I am told meant to create the brilliance of gold. In fact in the opening the spark of the two citrus notes is brilliant and illusive. It glitters on the skin but momentarily and then streaks away leaving the way open for the star of the perfume, a note that resembles the heavy beauty one finds in the finest of Italian gold jewelry. Before our star note arrives in the mid notes of the perfume there are satellite notes, lovely ones of Egyptian Jasmine and lily of the valley. They are soft and hum in the background like a Greek chorus announcing the arrival of the superstar. It enters as a gorgeous smooth hard edged iris note that if left on its own could very well be too dry, somber and severe. But there is a surprise in the bottom notes that gives the iris a warmth and beauty beyond expectations. The bottom notes are a gift to the iris. And this surprise package is wrapped in earthy patchouli. Within the box as the patchouli gives way is the gift of the perfumer that complements the iris, a stunning blending of vanilla and benzoin. Here is a creamy buttery mix that never goes sweet or cloying but in its marriage with the iris they turn Gold into a golden beauty.

This is a floral chypre that is elegant, smooth and perfect for almost any season. It has both masculine strengths and feminine curves. A uni-sex perfume that invites one in and enhances the beauty of the wearer with its brilliance and allure. When you wear Gold on your skin there is no reason to wear anything else.

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(ELIZABETH TAYLOR IN GOLD)

HEDDY HOOPER’S HOLLYWOOD! ~ Vickie Lester Tells All In New Book, HOLLYWOOD REELS!

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Hello darlings! This is Heddy Hooper coming to you from Hollywood with all the latest dirt! And the dirt is flying all over town this morning and I am not talking about that infamous mud bath fight at Black’s Fifth Avenue between Mamie Van Vooren and Lana Gardner over shared ex-husband Paul Brando.

 

I was having lunch at the Poison Ivy on Robertson yesterday. Did I say Lunch? Darlings it was more like Brunch I got there sooo late. I stayed up way past my beddy bye time Friday night trying to crash George Looney’s bachelor party at Nero’s but that is another story.

 

So there I was darlings sitting outside at my usual table along the white picket fence just  behind the Maitre’D stand (that way I see EVERYTHING and Charles the Maitre’D who I call the major domo of dirt fills me in on just who had what lifted, sucked out or simply scotch taped as they walk in.)

 

Anyway darlings who should come staggering in on the arm of a much, much younger man but Imperium International star Ava Turner. Talk about reinvention, no strike that, reconstruction. The ex-Mrs. Richard Bourbon (Remember how great they were together in TheMGMKid’s massive “Cleopatra” just five years ago?) looking decidedly less top heavy.

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Ava avoided my frantic waves to join me with her latest bore-toy and found a place in the sun on the other side of the patio. When the Maitre’D returned from seating her and possible husband number thirteen I grabbed his arm, “She looks so slim and trim.” Charlie told me what was up with that, Ava has always been battling the bulge and it has always been up top! Remember how her pallonchini seemed to expand and deflate in Cleo? Well darlings Miss T. had her girls reduced! The first time I ever heard of that in Hollywood. Charlie told me that, “Most of the studios are run by Boobs, but in Ava’s case her boobs built Imperium International.”

 

Speaking of Imperium I ran into the retired studio chief TheMGMkid aka Lanier Smith He is mad about perfume these says and is youtubering all over the place as well as writing his blog (I just can not keep up with all this social media, it’s worse than when Televison came in!) Check out his latest glam-review right here!

 

TheMGMKid and I bumped heads over a bottle of Summer Rain at the perfume counter at Blacks (I was all out of my favorite perfume, Summer Rain. MGM says it’s cheap and vulgar, but darlings that’s so me! ). I asked him what he is up to these days now that he runs a blog instead of a Major Hollywood Studio. Well darlings He was frothing at the mouth with excitement over a new first novel just about to hit the stores by none other than blogging bombshell Vickie Lester! You know her darlings; she has that mesmeric Beguiling Hollywood blog every one is raving about. Talk about DIRT, I should go to her for my stories.

 

The book due out next month is called IT”S IN HIS KISS. The Kid, Lanier gave me a sneak peek saying he was thinking of coming back to the studio to make a picture from Miss Lester’s tome de l’incroyable!  You will never guess what it is all about darlings. Our favorite subject, the life blood of our lives, and the inter sanctum of our souls, HOLLYWOOD!

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   Now I don’t want to spoil a moment of the book for you (Or the movie if you, like me can barely read) but I will say it starts off with in Palm Springs, and a dead body!  Sound like the end of one of Ty Montgomery’s pot parties, I know! But believe me darlings it is so much better. I can’t put the damn thing down long enough to change my girdle! So keep your eyes peeled in June for the release of IT’S IN HIS KISS on Amazon. You won’t regret it darlings!

VICKIE LESTER’S BLOG, BEGUILING HOLLYWOOD! 

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That’s it for now my dear readers, so until next time darlings, remember; if the dirt is flying in Hollywood I’ll be there with my catcher’s mitt!

Heddy

HEDDY HOOPER’S HOLLYWOOD ON YOUTUBE

(I did all the voices!) 

IMPERIUM INTERNATIONAL’S CLEOPATRA TRAILER

MEMORY ~ E.T. and Me

This one is for Vickie

“I bet nether one of you know about Parma Violets. Well, they are very delicate, and they are what people give when they want to give something really special,  when they’re in love, or someone dies….”  Zee Blakely ~ X, Y, and Zee 1972

There is no such thing as true violet eyes. What seems to be violet is made up of the deepest dark blue and flecks of green. I was surprised when I found that out. But despite that truth there was a myth that was in fact a greater truth and reality.  Her eyes were violet. Like violets of Parma, violet of legend when I finally saw them in person they were the kindest eyes I had ever seen.

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When I was thirteen years old and Marilyn was gone nearly a year I was doing very badly in math at school.

“If you get a B on your next report card, your step-father and I will take you into Hollywood to see “How The West Was Won.”

“In Cinerama?” I had never seen a movie in Cinerama. The mere prospect of a night out, dinner at Musso and Frank’s, reserved seats AND a glossy program all about the movie caused my voice to reach and octave higher than Jane Powell’s.  I worked harder for that B than I ever had in school and forced my brain to embrace problems and figures that were like poison ivy to my grey cells.

Three months later I was sitting in Musso and Frank’s too excited to eat. Dinner half in me and threatening to not stay there I asked to be excused to go to the bathroom. I was excited about the movie yes. But what had my stomach riding the roller coaster at Pacific Ocean Park was what I had seen from the car as we drove down Hollywood Boulevard, the Pantages Theater all decked out for the arrival of the Queen of Everything! I slipped out the front door of the restaurant into the rare night air that only movie stars breathe and ran the six blocks from Las Palmas to Vine just to see the outer lobby of the Pantages. It was covered in photographs of the movie that was to open later that week. The movie everyone in the world had been waiting for over two years to see.  “The most anticipated movie event of all time” the adds read….and up until then it was.

The splendors of Egypt seared my eyes in gold and sapphire, the might and grandeur of a plaster of Paris ancient Rome engulfed me, and everywhere HER. I only had a minute to look and it was almost too much to bear. How could Debbie Reynolds, Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Carol Baker, Karl Malden, Eli Wallach, George Peppard and Carolyn Jones compete with this?  Was the West being won from the Indians more important that the ancient Near East being lost to the Romans? I had two choices, pass out on the star strewn sidewalk or run back to Musso and Franks. I turned to run and instantly I saw the most incredible thing my thirteen year old eyes had ever beheld.  High up on the side of the Hollywood Taft building right next door to the Pantages soaring up into the starless inky smoggy night was a painting of HER.  It was seventy; no it must have been a hundred feet high. She was seated on a replica of Tutankhamen’s throne in a green and gold crown, dressed in plunging neckline purple Irene Sharaff gown and holding the emblems of Upper and Lower Egypt across her bosom. Her violet eyes looking down upon me not with imperious hauteur, but with a kind of understanding as if she were the mother of the lost boys.

“We are going to be late….” A hand took mine. It was my step-father. He had known exactly where to find me.

(Painting by Howard Terpning that was on the side of the Hollywood Taft Building.)

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“There are never enough hours in the days of a Queen, and her nights have too many…so I fill them with memories of what might have been.”  Cleopatra 1963

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At seventeen I had my own movie studio. It was a super-8 movie studio named after the father of movies David Wark Griffith,  D.W.G. Studios it was called. I had saved up money from baby sitting and stripping and waxing kitchen floors for the women in the neighborhood to buy my movie editor, my fist step to running a studio. Why the editor first? At fifty bucks it was the cheapest of the necessities I would need. Camera cost eighty dollars and the projector a whopping one hundred and twenty five so I figured if I had the editor first I would be forced to save up the money to get the rest of the equipment. My step-dad and mom took pity on me and got the camera and projector for my birthday and Christmas that December.

My fist epic was an eighteen minute version of “Antony and Cleopatra”. Surprise! The cast was made up of all the kids I baby sat. Cleopatra was eight years old and her brother at nine played Antony. The love scene was a little uncomfortable to say the very least. Unlike Elizabeth’s version my Cleopatra and her Antony came in under budget after two weeks in production at seventy five dollars. And, I had to make that money back or the studio was sunk! So I put on my post production, marketing and advertising hat and got to work.

I planned to run the film for three weekend showings on Friday and Saturday nights in our garage. I painted a huge reclining Cleo and put it on the roof of the garage with Christmas lights and papered the double car garage door with a sign. “Opening in three weeks the film the entire neighborhood has been waiting for!” I didn’t name it…Cleo on the roof said it all.  I sent out invitations to every person I had ever met. Then, almost as an after thought I sent one to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in care of Merto-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. M.G.M. had been Elizabeth’s home studio for eighteen years. She was no longer under contract to the studio, but maybe they still forwarded her mail.

Three months later I came home from school to be met by my mother at the front door.

“What did you write in that invitation you sent to Elizabeth Taylor?”

“Oh I don’t know…I told her about myself. I just wrote to her like she was anybody. Why?”

“This came today.”  She produced from behind her back an robin egg blue envelope. On the back were three words. Elizabeth Taylor Burton. Mom had to turn the hose on me to calm me down.

Thus began a on again off again correspondence that lasted four years. The Burtons got an invitation to every film that came out of D.W.G. and lots of drawings. They never did make it to my premieres but she always supported my artistic endeavors with a kind note.

 

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“I’m an artist, I paint. Nobody buys. Then I turn out watercolors when I need grocery money.” Laura Reynolds ! The Sandpiper 1965

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At nineteen I was a Theater Arts Major in Junior College. By twenty one I came to the realization that I hadn’t the talent to be a good actor, let alone a movie star, I was smart enough to know that Hollywood was sure to break my heart.  But I could paint. So after six months as an English major where spelling proved to be my downfall I became an Art Major.

When I found out in 1971 that I was going to summer school in Guadalajara Mexico and that I would get to spend a weekend in Puerto Vallarta I got an idea. I wrote to Elizabeth allowing the usual three months for the letter to find her where ever she was in the world and told her I wanted to give her a thank you gift for all her support. Would she send me her favorite photograph of her with Richard?

She sent the photo taken when they appeared in Doctor Faustus at Oxford. I painted a very large portrait from that photo of them in costume, he as Doctor Faustus and she Helen of Troy.  It hung in an English Pub in town until it was time to take the train from Mexicali to Guadalajara. The train left at night and there waiting on the platform for the three day trip stood I with my suitcase and the Burtons all boxed up. I was towering at six feet three like mount Popocatépetl above a sea of Mexicans none taller than 5’6″. Everyone was looking at the giant gringo with the long hair and beard. I came to understand during my entire visit to Mexico what it must be like to be famous! Everywhere I went the locals were fascinated by me. Children called me “El Barbo” and ran up to me to tap me for luck.

(The Photo she sent when I asked for her favorite photograph with Richard Burton. grey silk caftan by Vicky Tiel.)

I shared my little private Pullman room on the train with the Burtons. When the bed was made up the only place for them was in the bed with me. The first night crossing the Senora Desert was fine. But on the second night in the mountains it was insanity. Every time the train turned and twisted though the Sierra Madre mountains the Burtons would fall over on me. They kept me up all night.

I stayed with the Ramirez family in Guadalajara. They spoke no English and I spoke no Spanish. Senora Ramirez loved the painting so it hung over her dining table for three weeks, until it was time to fly to Puerto Vallarta and surprise the Burtons. My American roommates translated so consequently I never learned any Spanish, except how to ask for scrambled eggs and even that I got wrong. Seems I was asking for “revolting eggs’.  The house maids loved me.

Armed with a friend who spoke Spanish and English I found the Burton house on Calle Zaragoza in Gringo Gulch.  A pink bridge crossed the street connecting the two parts of the house and under the bridge was the front gate. No door bell…just a rope with cowbells hanging down for any one to pull. I was as nervous as a cat on a….you know the rest. I pulled on the cow bells and nothing. My friend yanked on them and again nothing. We were about to leave when a voice came from the bridge above us.

 

“¿qué es lo que quieres?” We looked up to see a handsome young Mexican man who looked to me to be a dead ringer for one of Ava Gardner’s beach boys in “The Night of the Iguana.”

My friend explained in Spanish my story. He must have done a good job because the beach boy told us to wait and disappeared across the bridge into the main house. Moments later he appeared at the iron gate with two maids in tow.

He demanded to see the painting. I pulled it out of its travel worn box.

“aye qué hermoso!” the maids exclaimed and grabbed the painting and ran up the stairs into the house.

My friend translated to me as the beach boy spoke.

“I will see that Mr. and Mrs. Burton get the painting. They just left yesterday for London for the birth of Mrs. Burton’s first grandchild.”  He thanked me and shut the gate. I missed them by only a day.  I never saw the painting again.

What I didn’t know at the time was that the Burtons were in trouble and in a few years they would be divorced. The letters from Elizabeth  stopped and I understood why.

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“The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.”  Elizabeth Taylor

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Many years and three husbands later for Elizabeth I was working in the collections department at Macy’s in San Francisco. The big news was that Elizabeth Taylor was coming to promote her perfume “Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion”.  It was announced that for two hundred and fifty dollars you could have tea with Miss Taylor and about two hundred other people in the Macy’s cafeteria on the eighth floor. My card was maxed out and I had to work that day so there was no way I could see her, let alone meet her.  What would I say? “You don’t remember me but….” I didn’t want to be that guy.

When the hour arrived that she was due on the main floor I blacked out.  The next thing I remember is that I came out of my blackout very close to the stage and she was walking on to it. Everyone was screaming!

Over my lifetime I leaned many things from Elizabeth Taylor. I learned how to face life straight on and survive the hard times. I learned that it was a blessing to be different. I learned that kindness and honesty and being the real you brings unexpected rewards. I learned by watching her with Montgomery Clift, James Dean, and Rock Hudson that loyalty is the hallmark of being a real friend. I learned how to use my eyes to speak when the world was too loud for words.

The day Elizabeth died she gave me her last gift. Just a month before I had so angered the love of my life, Bryant Lanier so much that he had cut me off and ended our relationship. It was so final that I knew I would never again speak to the man I had waited a lifetime for. As time crept onward I took on each day and climbed over it knowing from experience that I would survive …. And then Elizabeth died.

I heard the news getting ready for work.  No tears like for Marilyn when I was 10. Too much had happened for tears now. I went to work. Everyone I met that day said “Elizabeth Taylor died today, why are you here?”  There was nothing else to do but live that day through and go on. I learned that from her, you just keep going on.

The following Sunday there was an email from Bryant.

I haven’t thought about anything in the wake of Liz’s death but you,,,in fact I just made myself LOL. Wondering how long you’ll wear black!

They’re playing a nice tribute to her on the CBS Sunday morning show and ,,if u get up in time..(9 AM ) I’m sure you’d love to see it ….

There may someday be plenty to say,,,and some things may go unsaid thank god…

Have a good day..

I love you

B

 

PS Call me when you get this.”

In an odd way, Elizabeth’s death gave me a second chance with him. I used to tell Bryant how much he reminded me of Burton because of their shared acting talents and personal demons.  I had Bryant in my life for nine more months before he went to join Elizabeth in the place where there are more stars than there are in the heavens. Three days before he died he said. “You are my Elizabeth.”

As Elizabeth Taylor walked on to the stage that day at Macy’s back in the 80’s she was radiant. She waved out to the packed store. Then she turned and she saw me.  She smiled, and then she winked. That was enough.

Her eyes were like Parma violets, the very flowers I used to send to Bryant on his birthday.

(Bryant Lanier ~ Actor, Singer, Director )

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