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Matthew Wright: Final wish of gay icon Elizabeth Taylor was to have blue plaque outside London home

July 10, 2014
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Channel 5 presenter Matthew Wright says the late Elizabeth Taylor should be honoured with a blue plaque outside her London home for her campaigning work on HIV.

Wright became friends with the actress in 1999, whilst working as a showbiz journalist at The Daily Mirror.

Speaking to GT (Gay Times), Wright recalled the moment he met Taylor at a hotel bar. She was in the UK to receive the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award.

“I was expecting a very fragile slightly slurred Liza Minnelli-type character, The Wright Stuff presenter told GT. “What I actually got instead was a very earthy, engaging and wonderfully warm woman, who talked incessantly.

“I didn’t have to ask her about Richard Burton because she was gushing about Richard Burton. She told me how she had such an affinity with England and how everyone forgets she was a Londoner”.

Wright added: “At the end of the night as I was saying my goodbyes, she rounded it all off by whispering to me ‘I just want to say, will you promise me one thing? When I die, will you make sure that I get one of those blue plagues on the house in London, on Wildwood Road, where I was born?’”

When Taylor died in 2011, Wright was told by English Heritage that in order to qualify for a blue plaque, a subject must be dead for a minimum of 20 years.

However, individual London boroughs have frequently waved the requirement.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was honoured with a blue plaque outside his home in Elephant and Castle by Sir Ian Mckellen in 2010.

Mr Tatchell told PinkNews: “You usually get a plaque when you’re dead but I’m very much alive.”

Matthew Wright is now redoubling his efforts to get Elizabeth Taylor honoured with a blue plaque and has launched a petition to be put forward to English Heritage.

“She changed the world’s perception towards HIV”, he said to GT, establishing the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991.

“At the time when she set up her charity, people thought you could catch HIV from standing too near to someone who was gay, and all other kinds of homophobic nonsense and ignorance.

“The fact that she was so iconic certainly had an impact. If someone like Elizabeth Taylor is going to embrace a cause – kind of like Princess Diana, actually, who also did fantastic work with HIV and AIDS – it’s going to change the way people thank.

“And that’s what she was. She was an icon”.

Related topics: AIDS, channel 5, Elizabeth Taylor, England, gay icon, Gay Times, GT, HIV, London, Matthew Wright

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