When Elizabeth Taylor died, Al Jazeera English reported that her greatest role was Cleopatra.
They didn’t report that she had offered herself as a hostage at Entebbe in exchange for the 100 hijack victims held by terrorists at that airport in Uganda in 1976. The terrorists turned down the deal, and then Israeli commandos freed the hostages.
“The Jewish people will always remember” Taylor’s offer—that’s what the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Simcha Dinitz said in 1977, according to CNN.
Taylor had converted to Judaism in 1959, when she was 27 years old—Time magazine reported that she had taken the Jewish name “Elisheba Rachel Taylor.” Raised as a Christian Scientist, Taylor converted in part under the influence of her third husband, producer Mike Todd—“born Avrom Goldbogen,” as Time explained, “grandson of a Polish rabbi.”
The year after her Entebbe hostage trade offer, 1977, she married John Warner, who then ran for the Senate from Virginia as a Republican—she campaigned for him actively, and her star power was credited with his narrow victory. Warner reportedly resented being called “Mr. Elizabeth Taylor.”
But life as a Republican political wife in Washington made her “a drunk and a junkie,” she later said, and in 1983 she checked into the Betty Ford clinic. The rest is history.