The Taylor Timeline of Major Milestones
1986: Elizabeth Taylor testified before Congress on the need to fund emergency AIDS care, with legislation known as the Ryan White bill. Taylor returned to Congress in 1990 with Ryan’s mother, Jeanie White, to help pass a more comprehensive AIDS resources bill.
1987: Elizabeth Taylor made a personal plea to President Reagan to discuss HIV and AIDS in the public sphere, after he had been silent so long. She successfully persuaded him to finally give his first speech on the AIDS epidemic at a dinner honoring his surgeon general, C. Everett Koop, who also sent a pamphlet to every home dispelling the myths of AIDS, the first time a nationwide mailing was done in the U.S. to inform people about an epidemic. President Reagan declared, “There is no reason for those who carry the AIDS virus to wear a scarlet A.”
1987: Yet another unwavering moment in her fight against HIV and AIDS, Taylor spoke to the National Press Club and outwardly criticized laws that prohibited needle exchanges as “murder.” People were shocked to see a glamorous movie star take on this topic.
1992: Elizabeth Taylor stirred controversy when she posed for the cover of Vanity Fair holding a condom. Photographer Firooz Zahedi recalls, “When the editor at Vanity Fair requested that Elizabeth hold up a condom for the cover, I thought it may come across as tasteless and was sure that she would decline. I was wrong. Elizabeth was determined to do whatever it took to bring attention to the need to curb the spread of AIDS and promote safe sex. The final result is amazingly beautiful, classy and to the point.”
1993: Taylor created Cinema Against AIDS to fundraise for amfAR at the Cannes Film Festival, believing Cannes was the ideal location for a large global fundraiser. This annual event, which is still going strong, raised a record $35 million in 2014 alone.