Elizabeth Taylor in Philly: Scandal, Love and “The Ex”

The most memorable stories of Liz in Philly are linked to three men

Elizabeth Taylor's most memorable ties and trips to Philadelphia, not surprisingly, all involve men. Three relationship stories that made history and headlines because Taylor's love life was anything but sedate or subdued.

Her local history starts with what became Hollywood's biggest scandal when she married Philadelphia actor and crooner, Eddie Fisher. At the time, Fisher was married to actress Debbie Reynolds. Fisher and Taylor's producer husband, Mike Todd were best friends and the two couples were often pictured out together. In 1958, when Todd died in a plane crash, Taylor and Fisher fell in love while consoling each other. He divorced Reynolds and married Taylor.

In 1983, Taylor made headlines again in Philadelphia for reuniting with her most famous ex-husband and for getting engaged to the man who was supposed to be hubby No. 8.

Channel 10 reporter Sheela Allen-Stephens made a very public, humorous plea to talk to Taylor that summer.

"Yo! Elizabeth, are you up there?!" Sheela yelled outside of The Palace Hotel where Taylor was staying when the news broke of her engagement to Victor Gonzales Luna.

"What about the 16-and-a-half carrot diamond, sapphire ring?" Sheela said, ticking off a list of questions she had for Taylor, if only she could get close enough to ask them.

Taylor didn't go on the record with us about Luna and the relationship fizzled before the couple ever got to the altar.

She did talk publicly, however, during her stay in Philly that summer with her most famous ex-husband, Richard Burton, at her side. After being married and divorced twice, Liz and Dick reunited on Broadway for, Private Lives, which played at The Forrest Theatre during its tour. Ironically, they played a divorced couple who meet up again on their honeymoons after each has remarried.

"Will the two of you be doing more together?" Sheela asked them. "If I can con him into it," Taylor said, drawing a big laugh during the press conference.

"And what would you like to do together?" was the follow-up question from Sheela, which Richard Burton promptly answered with, "I think we're a bit old for Romeo and Juliet."

Taylor also returned to Philly in 2000 to accept the Marian Anderson Award for her work in support of AIDS research. The moment was remembered by Award Executive Director Pat Moran. And her dedication to AIDS research continues, says AIDS Fund's Robb Reichard.

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