Celebrating the holidays meant everything to Elizabeth Taylor. To accommodate as many as 50 guests at her festive dinner parties, she’d have a gigantic table set up across her living room. She’d preside over these meals laughing, telling stories and sharing the joy of the season. “She loved having people over,” her grandson Quinn Tivey tells Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “She had a huge heart.”
Elizabeth believed in taking pleasure in the good times — in both big ways and small. In the 1980s, she purchased a secluded four-bedroom home in Bel Air and made it a place for family and fun. Despite fine artwork by Van Gogh and Warhol on her walls, Liz let her grandchildren and pets, like her beloved Maltese pup Sugar, run freely. “I loved raiding her ice cream drawer,” recalls Quinn, 33, whose mom is Liza Todd, Liz’s daughter by third husband, Michael Todd. “She would make sure to have it stocked!”
Quinn recalls “cozy” mornings at Liz’s breakfast table, playing in her rose garden, and watching crime dramas with her. “She was a Law & Order fan. We would binge-watch,” says Quinn. “She was loving, warm, funny and had a good, raunchy sense of humor.”
It’s no secret that Liz enjoyed her collection of jewelry, but Quinn, who recently collaborated with Julien’s Auctions for “The Lifestyle of Elizabeth Taylor,” a sale of 1,200 of the star’s personal effects, says that she was never a snob. “She wasn’t focused on the designer or the price. She might love what she found at a local market just as much,” he notes. “She just loved what spoke to her.”
Elizabeth also enjoyed sharing her beautiful possessions. One time, the actress insisted that her housekeeper, who was traveling to Poland, take one of her own luxurious coats and glove sets for the trip. “Elizabeth never asked for it back. If she let someone borrow something, she always gave it to them,” Tim Mendelson, who began working for Elizabeth as a personal assistant in 1990, confides to Closer.
Elizabeth’s deep compassion, which spurred her to found the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, also extended to the people in her life. Tim recalls the star making daily visits to the bedside of her longtime friend, actor Roddy McDowall, before his cancer death in 1998. “She couldn’t stand to see someone in pain,” he says. “She’d move mountains to try to help.”
Elizabeth even insisted on opening up her home to her assistant’s dying mother. “[My mother] had to be released from the hospital,” Tim explains. “Elizabeth said, ‘Why doesn’t she come back to my house?’ So we just stayed with [Elizabeth]. She was right there with me, right by my mom’s bed. She was the most amazing friend anybody could ever have.”
By the time Liz passed away in 2011 from congestive heart failure, she had lived a formidable life. “If she had any regret,” says Quinn, “I imagine that she might have wished she could have done more for more people.”
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