She was an esteemed actress, an unparalleled beauty, a devoted wife (eight times over), and an AIDS activist. Elizabeth Taylor died Wednesday at the age of 79 after a long battle with congestive heart failure, and the memories are still pouring in. Harvey Weinstein writes on Taylor’s early championing against the AIDS epidemic, celebrity photographer Harry Benson recalls her humor and grace, and Kevin Sessums uncovers outtakes from their feisty interview. Sandra McElwaine met the star on the campaign trail for husband John Warner in Virginia—and remembers the day a diamond and sapphire earring needed to be retrieved from her amazing décolletage, and Rob Lowe also writes about meeting the icon. Plus, tour four decades of Newsweek coverage of Taylor’s life, watch her seven most memorable moments and view photos of her incomparable life. There will never be another one like her.
Francine Pascal gave us Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, the pert, blond, miniskirted stars of Sweet Valley High, which burned up bestseller lists in the 1980s—the first teen fiction to appear on The New York Times paperback bestsellers list, alongside John Updike and Norman Mailer. Pretty, popular, with perfect California tans, the identical twins were the Carrie Bradshaws of their day—"the most adorable, dazzling 16-year-old girls imaginable," as Pascal once described them—wearing the best clothes, dating the most popular guys, and always on the verge of losing their virginity... but somehow remaining chaste. Swimming against the cultural currents, 73-year-old Pascal is back with Sweet Valley Confidential, the first new book in seven years. Jessica Bennett talks to the author about Elizabeth and Jessica, who are all grown up and yes, actually have sex and use Facebook now.
What is it about those Latter-day Saints that’s so funny? Just about everything, say Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the South Park masterminds whose new musical, The Book of Mormon, debuted on Broadway this week. They have a perverse fondness for what they call the religion’s inexplicable “anachronisms,” like the belief that Jews settled in America thousands of years before Christopher Columbus, the historical practice of polygamy, and that magical long-john underwear. Mostly, they love the tale of a guy named Joseph Smith who is inspired by an angel to dig up some golden plates containing God’s word, then gives them back. “If God gave me golden plates, I’d keep them. I’d want people to see them,” Stone says. Jacob Bernstein sizes up Broadway’s most obscene show ever to hit the Great White Way.