you look like a fabulous chicken

In 1962, writer Liz Smith had dreams of being discovered as a newer sexier version of Estelle Parsons. Hanging out with her friends Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton gave her plenty to write about…..


“While we wait for Elizabeth to have Alexandre do her hair, I overhear a secretary ordering lingerie from Henri Bendel. Someone is always ordering lingerie around the Burtons. You visualize a world of hotel suites with lovely once-worn panties, bras, slips and body stockings left behind and delighted maids exclaiming over the windfall. Richard, on the other hand, claims to have only six sets of drawers to his name. He declares either he or his wife washes out a pair nightly.

lingerie made from discarded cans

Elizabeth is wearing a coffee-colored suede coat trimmed with a dramatic flounce of fox at the bottom and a matching explosion at the top. Richard is very Southern Californian in a white cardigan and wraparound sunglasses. Alexandre has on something by Cardin, and there’s a bodyguard who is neither introduced, nor distinguished by tailoring. We pile into a robin’s-egg-blue Rolls to go two blocks. All in all, we are as likely to escape notice as an orange tie on St. Patrick’s Day.

nurse’s uniforms by Pierre Cardin

Grand entrance into David Webb’s jewelry emporium on 57th Street. ”I am omniscient and triprescient,” Richard murmurs, as the place dissolves into elegant pandemonium. People are springing to attention as if we were wearing stocking masks.

Elizabeth says to the salesman: ”Well, look, Andrew, what will these three pieces be with my spectacular discount?” She indicates leopard, zebra and serpent rings. ”Never mind — send them to the hotel, and these, too.” She points to a $2,500 lighter and a $29,000 shell purse…..

Zebra Handbag $4995.00

Weeks later she accompanies them to a party in Paris.

The Burtons enter in a crush. Elizabeth is wearing glittering emeralds and white egret feathers worked into her hair with diamonds. As she wedges her way past, I whisper, ”You look like a fabulous chicken.”

She blows a feather out of her face: ”You mean I look like a chicken’s behind.”


She wiggles her fingers and says, ”Bye, bye,” as she goes down the hall like a delicious snowdrift on legs……

Want to eat like the Burton’s did? Here’s their recipe for Chipped Beef a la Krupp Diamond:

Chipped beef




Curry powder

Hard-boiled eggs.

Shred the chipped beef, dredge in flour. Saute in melted butter in a hot skillet. In a saucepan, make a white cream sauce using three tablespoons of flour and a little milk. Add several pinches of curry powder to this. Serve over the beef. Add a few hard-boiled eggs to dip in sauce, or slice them and place on top. (Elizabeth’s verdict: ”We eat this at high noon; 11 a.m. if it’s ready!”


Published in: on July 25, 2010 at 7:17 am  Comments (36)  
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36 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I do like people who ‘live the life’ without shame …..

    • Shame? What’s that…?

  2. I didn’t realise the inside of a robin’s-egg-blue Rolls would look remarkably similar to the inside of an old bus.

    • That’s a “coach” to you sir 😉

  3. I usually visualize nursemyra walking around her house all day in corsets, lingerie, stockings, and heels. I also usually visualize myself flying around on a rocket pack too.

    • I usually just visualise your rocket RF

  4. You would like great in one of those Pierre Cardin nurse’s outfits, Nurse. Scary, but great.

    • I want the one in the middle. But maybe without the hat.

  5. Is that Zebra bag made out of real Zebra?

    • Yeah, it’s a new breed. Her name is Crystal Onyx.

  6. The Thin White Duke. (sigh)

    • He’s so young in that photo isn’t he?

  7. A chicken’s behind? Perhaps. But only if the chicken laid Fabergé eggs.

    • Ha ha.. trust you to come up with that line

  8. My first wife looked a lot like Elizabeth Tayler when she was young… so beautiful… such a miserable person…ugh.

  9. interesting style

  10. I might buy and wear one of Elizabeth Taylor’s 1962 bras. That’s the closest I could get to the full house Richard Burton once described as “apocalyptic.”

    • Yes, I remember he once said in an interview she had the most beautiful breasts in the world. Quite a call….

  11. Mmmm. Chicken. Omnomnom.

    • Careful….. feather alert!

  12. Only Ms. Taylor could get away with a hair-do like that. Or is that a hat?

    The lifestyle boggles my mind, sometimes. Like when you post pictures of the solid gold toilet on the arab’s plane, and I think “I could life for the rest of my life on that amount of money.” Or close to it, anyway. Geez.

  13. I’ve always wondered for how long David B. propped her up before she flattened him…

  14. Love the purse!

  15. She is divine!

    • Yes! And they were a much more interesting couple than Posh and Becks. Compare the 4 voices for a start

  16. Elizabeth Taylor was HOT! But she hasn’t held up as well as Betty White

    • I heard that Betty uses a butt enhancer

  17. “you look like a fabulous chicken” is the kind of compliment i am going to spend the rest of my days trying to earn, i think i will start with trying to cultivate a nice, fabulous, drooping neck…

  18. The muse of design divorced Pierre Cardin a few years since, as his nurses’ uniforms show. Can you imagine waking up after a bypass and seeing that lot around you? You would know you were dead – but not sure of which arrival hall you were in!
    On the other hand, waking up to you, Nurse Myra, in last Friday’s outfit…..well, recovery would be assured!

  19. About two months ago I saw Liz Smith sitting in a diner window having her breakfast near her home on the Upper East Side. She looked OOOOOLLLLDDD.

    • That’s my woman.

      You’d better check yourself.

  20. The Zebra handbag is so cute.

  21. I’m all for recycling, Good Nurse.

    So pop can unmentionables are very much DelVecchio-approved.

  22. I can only imagine how colorful things might get when your peeps include Elizabeth. What a beautiful woman she was. Love that head thing she’s wearing. She could probably injure someone with it too.

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