Elizabeth Taylor Ran A Secret HIV Drug Ring To Treat Patients

Elizabeth Taylor is already known as a fearless advocate for HIV/AIDS patients, beginning in a time when Hollywood (and the public) wanted nothing to do with those afflicted by these illnesses. In 1985, the late actress and humanitarian chaired one of the first major AIDS benefits and co-founded amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. In 1991, she created The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, the operating costs of which are paid for by her trust. Now, it appears her legacy just got even more badass: Yesterday, model and activist Kathy Ireland appeared on Entertainment Tonight in honor of World AIDS Day and revealed that Taylor also ran a secret drug ring out of her home in Bel-Air, to provide experimental HIV treatment to patients in need. "Talk about fearless," Ireland said. "It was a safe house, and a lot of the work that she did, it was illegal, but she was saving lives. She said her business associates pleaded with her, 'Leave this thing alone.' She received death threats, friends hung up on her when she asked for help — but something that I love about Elizabeth is her courage." Liz was basically running a West-Coast version of the Dallas Buyers' Club, the famed pharmaceutical network run by Ron Woodroof and immortalized in the 2013 movie of the same name. Both illegal operations provided HIV drugs that were not yet approved by the government — and which were otherwise prohibitively expensive for so many who needed them. Despite the illegality of Taylor's efforts, Ireland recounts that Liz was not afraid of being discovered. "She'd go to jail for it," Ireland said. "Elizabeth and fear — not in the same sentence." All hail Queen Liz.

More from Body

R29 Original Series