Really, PD? Liz Taylor St. Louis Connection?

Not from St. Louis stock.
Certainly by now you've heard that violet-eyed multi-marriage movie queen Elizabeth Taylor has died at 79 from congestive heart failure. It's a loss for movie fans, tabloid readers and the beneficiaries of her multiple philanthropic causes.

And while we love to localize an international story as much as the next guy, it looks to us like perhaps the Post-Dispatch has taken some liberties with the map in their column wishing the iconic beauty off to the Great Sound Stage in the Sky.

Joe Williams, in his otherwise lovely and touching paean to the star, describes her parents as "art dealers from St. Louis."

Not so fast, Joe.

Her father, Francis Lenn Taylor, was born in Springfield, Illinois, about two hours' drive from the Lou. Taylor and his wife, Sara Sothern, later moved to her hometown of Arkansas City, Kansas -- about eight hours' haul from here.

It wasn't until they moved to London that Liz was born.

It's pretty safe to claim her parents as Midwesterners, and for that we can all take a bit of regional pride. But claiming them as St. Louisans seems a bit of a stretch.

For the record, we also find it somewhat hilarious that the writer of Taylor's obituary in the New York Times, Mel Gussow, died six years ago. It's pretty common for newspapers to have obituaries for big stars written well ahead of time -- remember when news of an already-written obit for then-26-year-old Britney Spears was leaked a few years back?

Anyhow, rest in peace, Liz.

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Dailyrft Reader
Dailyrft Reader

I think people need to lay off the blog author. I assume Village Voice Media, the conglomerate that owns just about all the alternative press, pays by the blog post. Of course that means most of them are hastily written ones providing little more than snappish comments and links to real reporting elsewhere. If that's the price for the RFT staff putting food on their tables, so be it. I say kudos to Chad for making lemonade from lemons and following an of-the-mark post with a vapid "comment of the day" post, and making Mr. Lacey pay twice for the same non-story.


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Melissa Meinzer
Melissa Meinzer

Hey folks--

Glad the post generated some story-swapping about St. Louis history and the family connection. It's clear they did spend some time here and left something of a mark, but I stand by my assertion that it's not accurate to say they were "from" St. Louis.


While we wait for busy Melissa to post a conciliatory update, has anyone else noticed that the RFT website is trumpeting that Tiger Woods' new girlfriend has a St. Louis connection?



I don't believe there was a thriving art-gallery scene in Arkanas City, Kansas, that justified a branch gallery in London. The evidence suggests that Mr. Taylor worked for Mr, Young in St. Louis and then moved to London:

Quote: "In St. Louis, Young became friendly with the Busch and Lambert families...Howard Young was an art dealer for 75 years. His only partner was his nephew, Francis Taylor--Elizabeth Taylor's father, who died in 1968."


Your Momma
Your Momma

Apparently you're wrong Mellisa.

Parents lived in CWE for a stint. Think you owe Joe an apology. Eh?


Here's another good source on the St. Louis connecton:


Quote: The World War I Draft Registration Card for Francis (Taylor) shows that as "Secretary to Howard Young" (his art-dealer boss) he was living actually in St Louis, Missouri."


Gussow wrapped up the obituary following an exclusive interview with Taylor in the afterlife.

Joe Williams
Joe Williams

According to some admittedly vague accounts, the Taylors moved from St. Louis--where the uncle's art business was headquartered---to London, where they opened a branch office. So for the purposes of clarifying that her parents were not British, it might suffice to say they were "from" St. Louis rather than detailing where they both were born. That's why they've been described that way for years, in many sources.

Here's the obit from the Boston Globe:

It's surprising you didn't run into that information before singling me out as if I'd concocted it. I've never had any animosity toward the RFT, which I read and enjoy. I was hoping you would accord me the same respect by acknowledging that, whether or not you agree with the term "from St. Louis," your crosstown pal Joe Williams wasn't the originating source who deserved a public rebuke.

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