When I first got to know you, you were Cleopatra. I must have been only 4 or 5 years old, and I saw you on TV around Christmastime. You were always on TV around Christmastime. I could have never watched the whole movie back then, but I remembered your graceful appearance. Cleopatra was a heroine of mine at the time, not to mention my style icon, and I used to walk into the salon saying I wanted my hair like hers. I remember the hairdresser and my mom having a laugh, while the dark locks on my head were being shaped like Cleopatra’s.
I guess I know you best as Maggie The Cat from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I’ve spent the bigger part of last year analyzing Maggie’s every move, every word, and every change of clothes. I’ve seen her pull her stocking up about a hundred times, while Paul Newman gazed the other way. I’ve heard her ramble on and scream she’s alive. I’ve learned to love her in the process. And you, for that matter.
See, before, you were never my favorite Hollywood actress. For a while there was Audrey, and I loved her to bits while she charmed me in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Then, at a later stage, I fell for Ingrid Bergman, because, well, Casablanca. And then there was Grace, who enchanted me in Rear Window. Edith Head’s costumes may have had something to do with that.
Then there was you. Black hair, piercing blue (or violet?) eyes, and an acting talent that earned you two oscars. You may not have been my first love as a Hollywood Siren, but you earned your place in my hall of fame fair and square. With Cleopatra, A Place in the Sun, Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? and above all, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Here’s when I learned about you, and your level of professionalism like I never did before. Working your way through this difficult movie, and continuing when your (third) husband died, is something I could never do.
You may not always have been too sane, and lived your life in extremes. But, let’s be honest, in order to be special, one always walks a fine line. You did that. Drinking. Divorcing. Having epic fights with Richard Burton. Having a weird friendship with Michael Jackson. But making up for it by being the woman you were.
You’ve left quite the legacy. Maggie the cat ìs and always will be alive.