Liz Taylor's 'Beautiful' Letter to Kennedy Center Floors Barry Manilow
Elizabeth Taylor loved and honored her friends and tried her best to get them the recognition she felt they deserved. Illustrating this bond is a new, never-before-seen letter the Dame sent to the board of trustees at the Kennedy Center on behalf of her great friend Barry Manilow.
On beautiful lilac stationary, with her name embossed at the top in purple, Taylor eloquently wrote that Barry was deserving of the Kennedy Center Honors because he created "the soundtrack of our lives" and is a genius who "cranks out hits at a dizzying pace." She also lavished him with praise for courageously standing with her to fight for AIDS/HIV funding back when the "stigma of AIDS was great."
Barry had no idea his friend had lobbied on his behalf until the letter was released following her death on Wednesday. "I had no idea about this letter. It's just unbelievable," he tells me. "This is so beautiful."
Read the full letter below:
Dame Liz was honored by the Center in 2002 and since then was given the elite opportunity to nominate individuals. So far, Barry has not been tapped for the award. Last year's recipients included Merle Haggard, Jerry Herman, Bill T. Jones, Paul McCartney and Oprah Winfrey.
I have the good fortune to count among my friends an extraordinary man, a man whose talents have touched so many hearts and whose heart has touched so many lives. That man is Barry Manilow.
One of the greatest names in popular music, this prolific singer-songwriter-performer has created the soundtrack for our lives. Ever since he first took the stage in the 1970, he has proved himself to be an unstoppable showman, a true musical genius who cranks out hits at a dizzying pace. His songs are as well known as Beatles tunes, and its impossible not to sing along. I'm truly a fan.
And then there's his work as a humanitarian: Barry is tireless in pursuit of his charitable endeavors, which include raising funds and awareness for The Prince's Trust, United Way, The Starlight Foundation, The Foundation Fighting Blindness, and for many HIV-AIDS organizations, for which he holds a special place in my heart. I will always remember back to the early days of my fundraising work, when the stigma of AIDS was so great. I was seeking talent to perform at our first benefit event, and was receiving nothing but rejections--until Barry alone had the courage to come forward and say "yes".
Barry has established The Manilow Fund For Health And Hope, which supports education, health and care efforts locally, and the Manilow Music Project, which supports musical equipment to local schools whose art programs have been eliminated. It is Barry's feverent belief that music changes lives: I know he's changed mine with his enormous talent.
I can think of no one more deserving of a Kennedy Center Honor than Barry Manilow, and hope you will accept this letter of nomination and support. Thank you in advance for your kind consideration.
(Signed in her own hand in ink matching the color of her raised letterhead) Elizabeth Taylor.
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