Liz Taylor sparkles during store promotion for White Diamonds

September 16, 1991|By Susan Baer | Susan Baer,Washington Bureau of The Sun

McLEAN, VA. -- The hair -- Jet black, big, gravity-defying, the BOUF in bouffant.

The body -- Thin (believe it!) and artfully bronzed.

The jewelry -- Oh, just the usual. You know, that thunky 33 1/3 -karat thing on the finger.

The personality -- Rosy. The outfit -- Rosier. The lips -- Rosiest.

And while we're taking our Liz Taylor inventory -- as hundreds did last Friday afternoon at the Tysons Corner Hecht's where the star came to promote her new $200-per-ounce fragrance White Diamonds -- let us not forget the essentials:

The husbands: Soon-to-be No. 8, Larry Fortensky, construction worker, doing the department-store circuit with his fiancee but waiting in the wings.

That is, until the press and public demanded an unveiling.

"Larry, are you back there?" the 59-year-old legend called to her 39-year-old intended from the roped-off platform where she answered questions from the sea of fans. "Larry? Sweetheart?"

Blond and shaggy-haired, Mr. Fortensky, who met the film star several years ago during their treatment at the Betty Ford drug abuse clinic, walked onto the stage wearing jacket, tie, earring and a look of sheer boredom. She stuck the microphone in front of his face. "Hello."

End of speech. One kiss for the cameras -- and he was gone.

"He really is a nice-looking guy, but he'll never be a Richard Burton or Mike Todd," said Marion Ballard, of Bethesda, one of many who'd been waiting for hours for a peek at the superstar. "She had some extraordinary husbands."

So what's the Taylor-Fortensky attraction?

"That's our business," said the marriage-minded Ms. Taylor, who was squeezed into a short, belted, vivid pink dress, covered by a jacket embroidered with the words "With all thy faults I love thee still."

"With all my faults, I hope you love me still," she told the audience, explaining the colorfully scripted words on her jacket.

Indeed, the crowd, packed in about 40-deep in the cleared-out hosiery department and snapping photos with abandon, seemed enthralled by the movie star, business woman and philanthropic fund raiser.

"She's unbelievable," said Lawrence Stout, who'd driven up from Richmond, Va. "I can see why she's been married so many times."

"She's gorgeous," said Satsie D. Harrison, of Baltimore. "If I look at her long enough, when I have a little girl, maybe she'll look just like her."

The Hollywood icon, whose marriage is scheduled for Oct. 6 at Michael Jackson's California compound, said she has no plans for any upcoming stage or screen roles. "There's nothing around for somebody my age that's interesting."

But even she knows that something -- whether it's a perfume, a charity, or (heaven forbid) another marriage -- will always keep her in the spotlight. "I guess I'm just a bouncing ball. I keep coming back -- like a song, a bad penny. I'm a survivor. You can't get rid of me that easily."

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