Liz Taylor lived much of her 79 years before the public eye on the screen and in the newspapers. So, it’s not surprising that we can learn lessons in public relations and reputation management from her.

A Hollywood starlet of the old-time studio PR machine, she became her own brand. Fueled by almost constant publicity, that brand served her well as a businesswoman, long after her acting days were over. With the PR value of her name and the glamour it portrayed, her brand was embodied by the fragrance line, White Diamonds and Passions, which rewarded her with an estate estimated in the hundreds of millions — more income than she earned in all the years she appeared on screen.

At Epoch 5 Public Relations, our Long Island public relations firm, we tell our clients that long-term PR that builds a reputation has to be grounded in substance. Liz Taylor certainly had substance — with two Oscars to her credit, courageous support for AIDS when few others dared even talk about it and her open admissions about battles with substance abuse.

She was deservedly a person who women admired and men adored. These are the enduring memories of Elizabeth Taylor, not her multiple marriages, 69-carat diamond ring and addictions that fed the Hollywood tabloid tattle machine.