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Liz Taylor stayed in Natchez

Elizabeth Taylor with Montgomery Clift on the set of "Raintree County" which was partially filmed in Natchez.

NATCHEZ — Like many famous stars and dignitaries, Elizabeth Taylor didn’t leave this life without a trip to Natchez.

Taylor, who died Wednesday at age 79, spent time in the area in 1957, and one Natchez resident was less than impressed with Dame Elizabeth.

Patricia Clark was about 7 years old when Taylor stayed at the Eola Hotel — owned at the time by Clark’s family. Clark said Taylor stayed at the Eola for probably a week or longer while she was filming.

“My mother, Henrye Lea Eyrich, dressed as a waitress to bring Liz Taylor’s room service so she could see her,” Clark said.

Clark said she remembered Taylor’s costume got in the way of production one day.

“They put her in tight corsets,” Clark said. “She got so hot she fainted. I remember seeing oxygen tanks brought in for her.”

Clark’s mother wanted her daughters to meet one of the country’s most revered actresses and dressed the girls to formally meet Taylor in the hotel’s lobby.

“It was boring,” Clark said. “We were four little girls just standing in the lobby. When we got back to our room, I asked, ‘When is she coming?’ I was told we rode up in the elevator with her.”

Clark’s father, Clarence, functioned as craft services for the crew, catering the food during filming.

“What was more fun than anything was when the film crew took us for a ride in the limousine to a film site,” Clark said. “We went across a little old creek bed in that limousine and we thought that was really something. They treated us little girls like we were very special. It’s a good memory.”

Clark said after her mother died, four menus were found in her belongings, all signed by Montgomery Clift, Taylor and other cast members. Though the menus were mistakenly thrown away, Clark’s memories of the movie star’s short stay in Natchez will always be remembered.

The movie “Raintree County” was filmed in Natchez and Kentucky, and is the story of a poet and teacher who falls in love with a Southern woman, and then the Civil War and her past create problems.

“I thought it was a nice blip in Liz Taylor’s life that she was in Natchez,” Clark said.

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