Will any woman ever be seen as iconic as Elizabeth Taylor? Or are those days just gone?
—RIPLiz, via the inbox
You speak as if Sophia Loren and Lauren Bacall aren't still swanning around, granting royal audiences with Vanity Fair and holding forth about Bogart and Berlusconi and their favorite shades of mink.
Those broads still breathe. And they're just as glamorous as the lovely late Liz was. As for our younger stars, get this: Americans actually think that a few of them are even more glam than Liz.
Who? You will not believe it:
I spoke with Gerry Philpott, president and CEO of E-Poll Market Research, which follows the popularity and influence of stars via regular polling. The firm asks people over the age of 13 how they feel about famous people using a broad variety of categories: glamour, beauty, influence, overall classiness.
When it comes to glamour—the closest thing to icon status, mind you—there are three people who currently top Liz. According to e-Poll, those people are, from highest to lowest, Sophia Loren (who rates a 60 on the glam scale), Catherine Zeta-Jones (54), and Beyoncé (not a misprint, 53).
Then came Liz, who scored a 52.
You might assume that Angelina Jolie or Madonna would score up there somewhere, especially compared with Zeta-Jones. Yes, Zeta-Jones lives in the Bahamas with a Douglas, but that's not exactly living in France with a Pitt.
So where do Jolie and Madonna score? Madge gets a mere 26 for glamour, Jolie, 39.
Of course, in certain categories, Jolie does outstrip Liz—but not by much. Take the beauty category. Jolie currently scores a 46. But Liz—who was 79 when she passed away, mind you—wasn't all that far behind at 31. Madonna scores much lower, at just 14. And we're talking right now.
So. Beyoncé and Catherine Zeta-Jones supposedly have more of a glam factor that Liz did—but does that mean the world will treat those younger ladies with the same icon status one day? Not likely, Philpott tells me.
"It's going to be hard to stand out because the media environment is just too different now," Philpott predicts. "Years ago, the negative things that came out about stars never hit the press, and the little that did went away as quickly as it came. You didn't have the Internet and thousands of blogs and photographers on every corner."
No, you did not. Regardless of what lies ahead for Zeta-Jones or Beyoncé, there's no doubt that, in losing Liz, we are saying goodbye to one of the most unforgettable women of our era.