“It was very clear to me from the conversations that we had that she loved ‘CSI’ and anything that had a crime scene or Mark Harmon in it,” the actor said.
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Farrell and the late Hollywood legend became friends during the final years of her life. She died at age 79 in 2011.
Farrell also recalled a turbulent time in his life when he hadn’t been in touch with Taylor for about five weeks. “She said, ‘Why didn’t you call?’” the star of the upcoming film “The Banshees of Inisherin” said. “I said because I have stuff going on. My head was wrecked. I was in a bad mood. She said, ‘Well that’s not the kind of friendship I’m interested in if you’re ever only going to bring me your sunny days.’”
Farrell was honored at the gala, which took place in West Hollywood Park, with an Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End AIDS Award, as were Charlize Theron and Sheryl Lee Ralph. “Elizabeth’s dream was to end HIV/AIDS forever,” Farrell said. “We haven’t gotten there. There’s still more work to do, which is why we’re here tonight…We’re here tonight to refocus and to also look at the work that is yet to be done in the battle against HIV and AIDS and the proliferation of it.”
Ralph gave an encore performance of her Emmys acceptance speech by starting her remarks by singing a snippet of “Endangered Species.” In emotional speech, she talked about the early days of the AIDS epidemic on the early 1980s when she was starring on Broadway in “Dreamgirls.” “That was the best and the worst time in my entire life,” Ralph said. “The best of course was being the belle of the ball on Broadway. The worst was when you’d see your friends, cast members, drop dead of a mysterious disease. They got sick and they died. There was no dying process. They got sick and they died.”
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She blasted those who shunned people with AIDS. “When you would go to hospitals to see your friends as they fought for their lives, there was no bed for them,” Ralph said. “They were lucky if they were on a gurney without a mattress just dying for help. But there was no help for them and there were doctors and nurses that also at times that refused to give care, saying, ‘Why would you send me a patient like that?’ It was an ugly time in a America — just 40 years ago. So if you happen to be somebody in the LGBTQIA+ community, I want you to know that somebody 40 years ago died for your rights today.”
Theron delivered brief remarks via a video because she was unable to attend the event, due to being out of the country filming the “Old Guard” sequel.
Guests at the ball included Paris Jackson, Evan Ross, Alexandra Shipp, Jennifer Tilly, Rob Raco and Ralph’s “Abbott Elementary” co-star Lisa Ann Walter.
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