Elizabeth Taylor, who died today at 79, was at death’s door so many times I just assumed she had a permanent exemption from the other side. But no: this screen goddess turned out to be mortal like everyone else. I met her twice: once at an AMFAR fundraiser, briefly, and another time when I went over to her home in Bel Air for an informal dinner party. At the latter, Elizabeth (never “Liz”!) was in fine form. I count it among the chief joys of my life that I once elicited in Elizabeth Taylor that unmistakable fishmonger’s-wife laugh. I can’t even remember what I said to earn the response: probably some lame joke about diamonds. Now she’s in movie-star heaven, reunited with the two things in life she always said she loved best: men and animals. In other words, she’s with Richard Burton and James Dean and Rock Hudson and all the critters she ever loved since her child-star days as “National Velvet.” She was always said to be The Last Star, meaning not the last star living (we still have Kirk Douglas and Olivia De Havilland and a few others) but the last one created by the old studio system.