Clarence Brown, director of National Velvet, was beginning to answer questions about his little star-to-be. “There’s something behind her eyes that you can’t quite fathom,” he told his questioners. “Something Garbo had.” This was no mere persiflage: Brown was Garbo’s favorite director and guided her through seven films. Of Elizabeth’s talent generally? “I really hate to call her an actress. She’s much too natural for that.”
“We had an extraordinary friendship. We would sometimes sit up until three in the morning, and he would tell me about his past, his mother, minister, his loves, and the next day he would just look straight through me as if he’d given away or revealed too much of himself. It would take, after one of these sessions, maybe a couple of days before we’d be back on friendship terms. He was very afraid to give of himself.”– Elizabeth Taylor
“For a while she was quiet, then Elizabeth Taylor’s violet eyes were flickering and she said: ‘They spat on me in Rome.’ Who did? ‘Ordinary people, on the streets. They crossed over and spat. It was during le scandale, when the Vatican newspaper thoughtfully said I was morally unfit to be a mother and that my request to adopt Maria should be denied. They also announced that my natural children should be taken away from me.’ But it didn’t happen. You survived. ‘Damn right I survived,’ she said with resignation. ‘I’ve been through it all. I’m Mother Courage. I’ll be dragging my sable coat behind me into old age.'” -Life Magazine, 1969.