I was right to be skeptical.
Earlier today, London tabloid the Daily Mail reported that legendary film star Dame Elizabeth Taylor was suffering from heart failure and on the brink of death. The Mail claimed the 74-year-old Oscar-winning actor - often noted more for her many marriages than for her impressive and extensive body of work - was bedridden at her California home and making plans for her own funeral.
Insiders say the British-born star would like to be buried next to former husband Richard Burton. "Liz is inching closer to death every day and she knows it. It is not a pretty picture," a friend said. "She's not leaving a lot of money to her children. She wants the bulk of her fortune to go to AIDS research."
Taylor, who has walked down the aisle eight times, married Burton twice during a tumultuous, jetsetting romance. The Welsh actor died in 1984.
Taylor's publicist says the story is complete bunk.
From ABC News:
Dick Guttman says that he can refute every allegation in these published reports. In fact, he says they didn't get anything right.
Guttman says Taylor has a very busy life, with her successful perfume and jewelry lines and the work she does for AIDS.
The Mail scoop - which appears to be based on a WENN.com press release - was reported by a number of movie and news sites, including Hollywood.com and the Evening Standard's This Is London.
What caused me to doubt the report was the well-known factoid that Taylor's friends call her "Elizabeth," not "Liz," as a "friend" refers to her in the Mail piece.
At the same time, it is well-documented that the actor's health has been fragile for years. She is 74. The reasonable assumption is that barring some divine act, we may not have the legend with us for long.