Hansen: 'Love nest' of Elizabeth Taylor for sale

It's a pink trailer in need of love.

What was once the glamorous dressing room for Elizabeth Taylor during the filming of the 1963 movie "Cleopatra" is now sitting in a dusty, nondescript industrial park in South Orange County.

Its owner, Laguna Beach resident Angel Alger, is ready to sell the historic "love nest" used by Taylor and co-star — and later husband — Richard Burton.

"It is such an unusual and rare item," Alger said. "It's a museum and a treasure. I mean it is, after all, the original love nest where they had their relationship while they were on the set."

In a manner similar to Taylor's tumultuous life, Alger's ownership of the trailer has been rocky.

She bought it for $50,000 in June 2012 and had it for only two days before renting it to Silver Screen Pictures, which made the Lifetime movie "Liz & Dick," starring Lindsay Lohan, who portrayed Taylor and used the trailer.

When Alger got the trailer back about two weeks later, it was trashed. Alger filed a police report — and went public, appearing on several media outlets and showing the before and after pictures. She was never able to prove who caused the damage, but she has her suspicions.

"I don't want to be accused of slander, but it was typical of someone's behavior. Put it that way," she said.

At the time, Lohan denied involvement, and the police were unable to determine who was at fault.

After the negative publicity, the studio settled the matter, but Alger said the compensation wasn't enough to repair all the damage.

"I've had to replace the items that were stolen or broken — the finishing touches, like the French phone," she said. "Some of it is priceless, like the antique knitting rocker. I still haven't been able to find one like it."

Alger said she is still willing to offer a "generous reward" for the stolen items, which include signed pictures of Taylor.

Shortly after she purchased the trailer, Silver Screen Pictures offered to buy it from her for $100,000, but she turned the company down.

"I said no, I'm not interested in selling it at all because I was looking to expand my business and house this most collectible treasure of my life. To me, it's more important than money. It has a special atmosphere. I'm interested in preserving history."

Now Alger wants to move on from the troubles with the trailer, which can be seen at http://www.liztaylorslovenest.com. She is still working on restoring its luster, plus fixing some structural issues. She is open to ideas on what to do with it, but wants to make sure it's the right fit.

She said it would be a natural for Universal Studios and had early conversations with representatives that never panned out.

"I met with Universal Studios several times, and they were very interested in buying it," she said. "But my proposal to them was to lease it from me, then I would combine that with a retail store at Universal Studios."

Alger admits she was naïve to the ways of Hollywood and underestimated how she should handle negotiations. She never hired a lawyer, even after the vandalism, believing people would live up to their word.

As a big fan of Taylor's, Alger just assumed that if people were making movies about Taylor, they would be "good people."

"It was astonishing," she said. "You can't trust Hollywood. They kept saying 'don't worry' but never came through. I'm just leery now. I just don't understand people's actions. Looking back now, I wish I would have been meaner."

For her, anything involving Taylor should be cherished, not destroyed.

"This is just as much a treasure to me as everyone else, I know it. A lot of people love Elizabeth Taylor and who she was. She was a beautiful, sincere woman who genuinely tried to help as many as she could. She lived her life with passion."

Alger has rationalized the apparent conflict between Taylor's volatile personal life and the trailer's lasting influence.

"Yes, she had the first most controversial divorce and affair, and that followed her. She had a lot of challenges in life. But she's definitely the iconic queen of Hollywood, and I want to help her legacy in whatever way I can."

DAVID HANSEN is a writer and Laguna Beach resident. He can be reached at davidhansen@yahoo.com.

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