'Give Liz Taylor a blue plaque'

By Rosa Doherty, June 19, 2014
Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Television presenter Matthew Wright has launched a campaign urging English Heritage to erect a blue plaque outside the original home of actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Mr Wright said he hoped to convince the organisation to grant the Hollywood actress the memorial at the house in Hampstead Garden Suburb, north London, and fulfil her dying wish.

But English Heritage says plaques can only be installed 20 years after a person has died.

Dame Elizabeth, who converted to Judaism in her twenties, died in 2011, aged 79, and had a Jewish funeral in California. She had been married to Mike Todd, a theatre producer whose original name was Avrom Goldbogen, and whose grandfather was a rabbi. After Mr Todd died she married Jewish actor Eddie Fisher, often travelled to Israel on fundraising trips and took the Hebrew name Elisheva Rachel.

Mr Wright, who is host of Channel 5's The Wright Stuff, said: "Who says no to Elizabeth Taylor? She's a unique case and English Heritage should stop being so snooty. I know they have given them out before in under 20 years - they just pick and choose depending on the prestige.

"Her Jewish background is fascinating. She's done so much fundraising for Jewish charities and her campaigning for Israel is really impressive."

He first met Dame Elizabeth at a press conference in 1999 and the pair struck up a friendship. "She invited me to dinner at the Dorchester hotel and made me promise to do this for her after she died," he explained.

English Heritage insisted it did not make exceptions to its 20-year rule. A spokesman said: "One of the reasons our blue plaque scheme is held in such high regard by so many people is the rigour of its selection criteria."

Last updated: 4:30pm, June 19 2014