Liz Taylor in Upland

Proving once again that there’s a local angle to everything, Elizabeth Taylor, who died Wednesday at age 79, once filmed a movie in the Inland Valley.

Specifically, “Sweet Bird of Youth,” a made-for-TV movie from 1989 in which the 57-year-old Taylor costarred with Mark Harmon in an adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play. It was Taylor’s last significant role.

Filming took place over two days, May 11 and 12, 1989, in downtown Upland, which stood in for a 1950s Florida town. Some 140 local extras were part of the production.

Were you one of them? Did any of you witness the filming or watch the movie? What did you see?

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  • steve horman

    I was watching the Upland filming and at the end of a scene Liz was taking a limo to her dressing room. You could tell she was in pretty bad pain but when a couple of older ladies clapped and said yea Liz, she stopped and turned and waved to them. You could see this caused her some pain, but she went out of her way for her fans. Something I won’t forget, or the shine of a real star.

    [Thanks for sharing, Steve. — DA]

  • Dennis

    Hi David,

    I don’t recall the filming in Upland, but I do recall that Liz (and Dick) shot some scenes for “The Sandpiper” in San Dimas. I believe the Daily Report even had a photo of Liz posing beside a redwood statue of herself which was carved for the film. Most of the movie was shot in Big Sur.

    [Huh! I had no idea. Thanks, Dennis. — DA]

  • Lola Curtis

    I was an extra in Sweet Bird of Youth and kept hanging around some guy that had a speaking part. I figured the camera would have to be on him. I ended up with my face right in front of the camera during the scene when the politician is speaking from the gazebo.

    [Ha ha! Smart thinking, Lola. — DA]

  • marc c.

    I was in high school and learning photography and stopped by to watch the hubbub — I have the photos still of Mark Harmon near the gazebo and I recall they filmed in an alley near the Grove, too. Lots of people were there to watch, lining both sides of the streets.

    For the film, they brought segregated drinking fountains, a fleet of period cars and dressed the downtown area to resemble the 1950’s or so. I think a fake newsstand was there, as well.

  • Lola

    Marc, a scene was also filmed at the good old Seacove…the downtown bar with the the fishnet and starfish and shells hanging all over it that hung on the OUTSIDE of the bar….hahaha

  • marc c.

    Ah yes, I remember that now too! Thanks!

    The Seacove…a place I only saw from the outside as it had closed by the time I was 21. It had a lot of… character. It became Kinison’s, then something else, and now a skate shop? (I haven’t been in downtown Upland in quite a while.)

  • Lola

    It was kind of a hole, but what the heck. Back in my bar days it was a good place to hang out on a hot summer nights. They had the coldest beer in town, except for a little mom and pop market that was on the south side of 9th Street and just east of Grove Ave. Small place that I think was attached to the house, which is the way the mom and pop markets were back then. Writing about it sure makes it sound like a simple way to live.