Liz Taylor Is Sweetheart of AmFar’s Rodeo

The Scene: The American Foundation for AIDS Research’s Two-Steppin’ for the Cure country-Western dinner-dance Saturday at the Beverly Hilton. The evening also celebrated co-founder Liz Taylor’s 62nd birthday. “I feel every year of it,” said the actress, who was making her last public appearance before having hip replacement surgery.

Who Was There: Among the 800 urban cowpersons were AmFar’s Mathilde Krim and Mervyn Silverman; Marvin and Barbara Davis, Justine Bateman, Oscar nominee Angela Bassett, Linda Gray, Wendy Goldberg, Jane and Marc Nathanson, Sidney Poitier, Penny Marshall and Disney’s Michael Eisner, who emceed. Also on hand were honorees David Mixner, Joel Weisman, Richard Munro for Time Warner and Pediatric AIDS Foundation co-founders Elizabeth Glaser, Susie Zeegen and Susan DeLaurentis.

Dress Mode: Country-Western attire that included Nashville gay, “Twin Peaks” hip and Fresno cattle broker. There was big hair, big chaps, blue jeans, face lifts and rhinestones. “I borrowed the boots. I borrowed this thing,” said a studio exec handling his bolo tie. “Now I’m a cowboy.”

Quoted: “If I’d known there were this many gay cowboys,” said talent manager Barry Krost. “I would have learned to ride at an earlier age.”


Money Matters: Tickets went from $300 each up to $100,000 for a table of 10. With underwriting from Guess? and Carole Little, $850,000 was raised.

Pastimes: Speeches and a stellar half-hour performance by Clint Black. There was also a crash course in the Texas Two-Step that filled the dance floor. Gene Weed, the show’s producer, said a country theme works because “the reality is, who needs another black-tie dinner?”

Observed: At the photo opportunity, the paparazzi were given a written warning not to photograph Taylor until she was seated before a black curtain on a small stage. The instructions stated that if any photos were taken before then Liz would, “cancel the photo opp. and you will most likely be beaten by the other photographers--see, we do have your safety in mind.”