Inviting Elizabeth Taylor to a dinner party…

Every issue of History Revealed, we ask a well-known personality to choose five guests from history to invite to a dinner party...

Inviting Elizabeth Taylor to a dinner party... (public domain)

Here’s who writer, broadcaster and critic Andrew Collins wants…

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1

MARK ROTHKO

Abstract Expressionist painter and one of the most influential American artists of the mid-20th century
“The best abstract impressionist painter who ever lived and a very reluctant superstar of the 1950s. One of his most famous commissions was for The Four Seasons restaurant in New York. He decided to make these big, gloomy paintings to, in his words, “ruin the appetite of every son-of-a-bitch who ever eats in that room”. I’d put up big prints of his pictures and see how he likes it!”

2

WOODY GUTHRIE

Legendary folk musician and political activist – the phrase ‘This Machine Kills Fascists’ was written on his guitar
“I learned about Woody Guthrie when researching Billy Bragg’s biography. He’d obviously have to bring his guitar or banjo and play This Land Is Your Land, his alternative national anthem. He would never have known how long his legacy would have lasted, so it would be nice to bring him back. He was a funny guy too. And I could ring up Billy Bragg and say ‘Guess who’s at my house…?’”

3

ELIZABETH TAYLOR

One of the most successful and popular actresses during Hollywood’s Golden Age – star of Cleopatra
“You’d need a bit of glamour, so I’d invite probably the most glamorous Hollywood star of all time. She was the first woman to get paid a million dollars for a film – for Cleopatra – but I’d like her to tell me about being paid $100 a week for appearing in Lassie Come Home. That was less than half of what Lassie got paid!”

4

ROSA PARKS

African-American Civil Rights activist who has been called “the mother of the freedom movement”
“One of the greatest figures in history – an ordinary person who refused to move on a bus so a white person could sit down. She helped change the world. And because she died happy, I think she wouldn’t mind if, for a laugh, you moved her when she sat down at the table so Elizabeth Taylor could sit there. I genuinely think Rosa Parks would be up for that – she’d enjoy the joke!”

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5

THOMAS MIDGLEY

Mechanical Engineer and chemist who, over his career, was granted over 100 patents
“An American inventor who, when asked by General Motors to prevent ‘knocking’ in petrol tanks, realised if you put lead in petrol, the noise would stop. He also worked out a way of improving refrigerators by introducing CFCs into them. He died decades before they noticed the hole in the ozone layer, so it would be great to ask him ‘So, how do you feel mate?’”