Writer/talkshow host/magician Dick Cavett reminisces about his encounter with Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011) as beautiful magician's assistant (his). Lovely Liz was in and out of court several times to divest herself of husbands, and Mr. Cavett tried to make a witticism during his magician's patter. He notes that it didn't go down so well with some audience members, but Ms. Taylor laughed.
Suddenly I was all thumbs, but figured she was probably used to having that effect, and that relaxed me. Some. What was nice about her was that she seemed to be genuinely enjoying the moment, fascinated by the trick and earnestly and conscientiously following my instructions....On about the fourth cut-and-restore, she had some trouble severing the rope and I heard myself say, “You can cut it, Miss Taylor. Just think of it as the marital bond.” She was so concentrated I hoped she might have missed it. There was a noticeable murmur of disapproval from a few, but before I had completed a wince, thanks to whatever gods may be, she laughed....The Taylor laugh wasn’t just any laugh; certainly not that of a refined lady. She gave out with the great full-throated guffaw known to her friends. It was a robust and delightfully bawdy thing, more appropriate to a stevedore than a beauty.
The column includes much more about Ms. Taylor, Richard Burton (who was husband number 5 and 6), Mr. Cavett's late wife Carrie Nye, and the perils of fame.