Where have all the iconic movie stars gone?

Paparazzi stalking, reality TV and pre-packaged pop-tarts. That’s who the media’s blaming for an end of an era. With the death of Elizabeth Taylor, people are asking, where have all the iconic movie stars gone?

The resounding chorus seems to agree -- Angelina Jolie’s the closest thing America has to an old-fashioned, Hollywood starlet. Rumors are swirling Jolie will headline an Elizabeth Taylor biopic, as well as tackle Taylor’s most iconic role, Cleopatra, in a blockbuster remake. (NBC)

But a writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer wonders, is she good enough?

“Taylor was a MOVIE STAR when being a movie star meant something. She was also a serious actress, strikingly beautiful and catnip to men. Oh, you youngsters say, she’s just like Angelina Jolie. Talk to us in 2050.”

While Jolie and Taylor share some off-screen similarities, a blogger for CNN argues, there’s only one place a movie star can be made, and it ain’t between the pages of a magazine.

“When people call Elizabeth Taylor the ‘last star,’ they speak of her as the final member in a glorious parade of personalities … whose magnetism grew solely in dark rooms smelling like popcorn and illuminated on a big screen. No one could claim her place in that line now. No one should.”

So why’d that “glorious parade” have to end? When The New York Times film critic A.O. Scott appeared on The Joy Behar Show, he said, maybe we just know too much about celebrities today.

A.O. SCOTT: “Even though there was gossip, it was often very controlled and managed by the studios and the stars handlers. Now, you know, we’re in the world of the Internet and TMZ and everyone has too much information about everyone, so it’s very hard. And I do think that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have tried to present themselves with some of that old-fashioned movie star grace and dignity.”
JOY BEHAR: “Yes! She has the looks of an old-fashioned movie actress, I think. Angelina does.”

But are looks enough? As Barbara Walters explained to Good Morning America, tabloid culture’s always existed. The problem is today’s actresses simply aren’t living up to Taylor’s time – on or off screen.

“But when you think of Elizabeth Taylor, she’s always been a part of our life. 50 films, two Academy Awards, four children, 10 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren – and every illness you can mention, it seems that she had. The marriages, the ups-and-downs, the scandal ... Nobody had that kind of life, off camera. No one.”

E! Online reminds us Taylor’s era isn’t quite over – Sophia Loren and Lauren Bacall still work occasionally. So are they the last Hollywood icons?

Who was your  favourite iconic movie star? Why?

Are there any iconic movie stars today?


Anonymous said…
I agreed with the CNN blogger argument about what means to be an star. It's necessary to build up the desire and the desire is usually something you want but it's difficult to obtain or to know.
Graham said…
Have you ever seen a film starring Elizabeth Taylor?

I AGREE with the CNN BLOGGER'S argument about WHAT IT MEANS to be A star.
Graham said…
Overlooked a spelling mistake: ARGUEMENT :-)
Anonymous said…
Hi Graham,

I've seen scenes of films of Elizabeth Taylor... I think she was a good actrees, not only a beautiful face. I think this is the difference between a movie star and an iconic movie star

Graham said…

I agree with you. I wonder how many actors of today will achieve iconic status.