"This is tough," Taylor told onetime rival Debbie Reynolds just two weeks before dying

By Sarah Durham Wilson and Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 23, 2011 04:20 PM
Timothy White/ABC/Getty

Just two weeks before her death, a hospitalized Elizabeth Taylor spoke to her one-time rival Debbie Reynolds.

“I said, ‘Getting old is really sh––,’ ” Reynolds tells Access Hollywood of her final conversation with Taylor. “And she said, ‘It certainly is. It certainly is, Debbie. This is really tough.’ ”

“I said, ‘Well, you just hang in there now, Elizabeth,’ ” Reynolds recalls. “And she said, ‘I’m really trying.”

“God bless her, she’s on to a better place,” Reynolds says. “I’m happy that she’s out of her pain, because she was in a lot of pain.”

As for her legacy, Reynolds reflected on Taylor’s “long productive career,” in a statement earlier Wednesday. “She was the most glamorous and sexual star of our generation,” Reynolds, 78, said in the statement. “No one else could equal Elizabeth’s beauty and sexuality. Women liked her and men adored her, and her love for her children is enduring.”

Added Reynolds: “She was a symbol of stardom. Her legacy will last.”

Though they were friends at the time of Taylor’s death, during the late ’50s, Reynolds and Taylor were caught in the biggest sex scandal of the decade.

Reynolds, the star of Singin’ in the Rain and other MGM musicals, was America’s Sweetheart and the mother of two children with her husband, boy-next-door crooner Eddie Fisher – who in 1957 was stolen away from his wife and children by the recently widowed Taylor.