Naomi Campbell is beyond fierce. Since the 1990s, she has defined the term supermodel. She’s landed the best magazine covers, walked in every fashion show, and was featured in George Michael’s iconic “Freedom 90” video. Her face and walk are wondrous. Plus, she has that attitude that you want from a diva. In an industry that values youth, Naomi has defied expectations well after her supposed expiration date. Today, at 50, she’s still at the top of her game.
Today would have been activist & politician Harvey Milk’s 90th birthday. In his short life, he changed the world for the better. The 1970s saw him leading the charge for LGBT rights and equality in San Francisco, earning him the title “Mayor of Castro Street”. After being defeated in two previous elections, Harvey finally won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the country. While in office he helped to defeat the Briggs Initiative, a proposition that would have banned gay teachers in schools.
Sadly, Harvey was assassinated in 1978, along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. But his mission continued on with other gay activists and politicians that followed him. There was also the Oscar winning documentary about his life, The Times of Harvey Milk. Then in 2008, the biopic Milk introduced him to another generation. Harvey and his legacy will not be forgotten. “Hope will never be silent.”
Iconic musician Stevie Wonder turns 70 today. He’s definitely one of those artists who created the soundtrack to our lives. I first discovered him in the 80s with “I Just Called to Say I Love You”. The song, from the movie The Woman in Red, was everywhere in 1984. It topped several Billboard charts and won the Oscar for Best Original Song. People, including me, just love Stevie.
Al Pacino celebrates a milestone birthday today, turning 80 years old. Throughout his iconic career he has set a high bar for acting…and sometimes overacting. It doesn’t look like he’ll be retiring anytime soon either. Earlier this year, he received his 9th Oscar nomination for playing Jimmy Hoffa in The Irishman. He also starred in the new Amazon series, Hunters. I look forward to seeing what he does next. Hoo-ah!
The late screen legend Elizabeth Taylor would have turned 88 this month. She left behind an incredible legacy as an actress, businesswoman, humanitarian, and activist. She was also a stunningly beautiful woman. It’s no surprise that she had eight husbands. In fact, the world was fascinated by her personal life and all the men she captured. I’m more into her movies, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof being a particular favorite, but that’s another post for another day. Let’s focus on the shallow stuff and rank her husbands.
8. Conrad Hilton Jr.
Conrad Hilton Jr. was Elizabeth’s first husband. On paper, he seemed like the perfect catch. A young, handsome, hotel heir. He and Elizabeth got married in a huge ceremony that was covered extensively by the press. Unfortunately, the fairytale ended quickly. Elizabeth realized that her new husband was an abusive heavy drinker. She divorced him after only 8 months of marriage. Conrad was like the first pancake of her husbands. He didn’t turn out right, so she tossed him in the trash and tried again.
7. Michael Wilding
Michael Wilding may be the least know of her husbands. He was a mildly successful actor, twenty years her senior, and fairly bland. But I guess he was a step up from Conrad. The marriage went downhill as her career took off and his lagged behind. Similar to A Star is Born, but less entertaining. After five years they were done.
6. John Warner
I wonder if Elizabeth was imaging herself as the new Jackie Kennedy when she married politician, John Warner. Going on the campaign trail may have seemed like a novel concept to a movie star. In any event, this was no Camelot and he wasn’t as handsome as JFK. Liz was soon bored with her life as a senator’s wife in D.C. She passed the time boozing, taking pills, and eating. Luckily, she got a divorce and went back to Hollywood.
5. Larry Fortensky
The substance abuse that began during her marriage to Warner eventually led Elizabeth to check into the famed Betty Ford clinic where she met her next husband, Larry Fortensky. They fell in love and got sober together. What a sweet meet-cute story. The marriage didn’t last long though. Larry, a construction worker who came from simple means, didn’t enjoy being “Mr. Liz Taylor”. There are worse things. Like, his mullet.
4. Eddie Fisher
Eddie Fisher and his wife, actress Debbie Reynolds, were best friends with Elizabeth and her third husband, Mike Todd. After Mike’s tragic death, Eddie “comforted” a grieving Elizabeth. They began an affair that led to Eddie leaving Debbie, America’s Sweetheart, and marrying Liz. Of course, Debbie got the last laugh when Elizabeth dumped Eddie for her Cleopatra co-star. Karma is a Burton.
3. Richard Burton
Elizabeth and Richard Burton were married twice. So, he counts as husband #5 and #6. The second marriage lasted less than a year and was uneventful, so I’m putting it at #3 on the list. Follow that? More to come below.
2. Mike Todd
Producer Mike Todd was Elizabeth’s 3rd husband and at the time she called him the love of her life. He was as big and over the top as his productions, which included Best Picture winner Around the World in 80 Days. He liked the spotlight and making a show of things, so he and Liz were a good match. Plus, he lavished her with jewelry, including an ornate ruby necklace and diamond tiara. Elizabeth once said that the best thing about him, though, was that he made her feel protected and loved. It’s sad that they didn’t get to spend more time together. He died a little more than a year after they married.
1. Richard Burton
Elizabeth’s love affair with Richard Burton began on a dramatic note. They left their spouses for each other causing the tabloid press to lose its mind. The Vatican was also playing close attention since they denounced the couple, charging them with “erotic vagrancy”. Should the Church really have been throwing stones from its glass house? After divorcing Eddie, Liz and Richard rushed to the altar. The next ten years of marriage were filled with elaborate vacations, tons of jewelry, kids, 11 movies together, and raucous partying. There were also many fights. The press didn’t call them the Battling Burtons for nothing. In the end, though, they had a deep love for one another that lasted long after their union ended.
Axl Rose, the lead singer of Guns N’ Roses, turns 58 today and I have some thoughts. Like, how the hell is he 58? That’s insane and makes me feel old. Or, how did he make it to 58? This is a feat considering his health issues over the years. Plus all the drinking and drugs he did. But, on the other hand, good for him for making it this far. He’s still rocking out with GNR. They’re actually going on a stadium tour this summer. Which leads to another question: are they considered classic rock now?
Axl’s birthday gives me an excuse to pay tribute to my favorite GNR song & video, “November Rain”. There’s a wedding, a funeral, supermodel Stephanie Seymour, gravely Axel vocals, an orchestra, Slash doing an epic guitar solo next to a church, and a lot of rain. It’s pretty awesome.