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Flashback Friday: Liz and Bowie Share a Smoke

As David Bowie's Victoria & Albert exhibit opens, we remember his iconic Beverly Hills meeting with Elizabeth Taylor — and the resulting photo.

Terry O'Neill/Getty Images

David Bowie has just released his first album in 10 years and is celebrating this weekend's opening of his epic exhibit at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. But back in 1975, the superstar had a bit of a punctuality problem. 

Elizabeth Taylor had hatched a plan: She wanted  Bowie to audition for a role in her movie, The Blue Bird, which was due out the next year. So she asked her good friend, photographer and Faye Dunaway ex Terry O'Neill, to set up a meeting. The noted British lensman arranged a get-together at director George Cukor's house in Beverly Hills, to which the gender-bending musical mastermind showed up two hours late. And, as one can imagine, Dame Taylor was not a lady who liked to be kept waiting. 

"Liz was pretty annoyed and on the verge of leaving," O'Neill told London's National Portrait Gallery of the incident. "But we managed to persuade her to stay."

To break the ice when Bowie finally arrived, O'Neill started snapping photos, which resulted in the now-iconic series of the unlikely duo sharing a cigarette. Taylor got over Bowie's lateness, though he didn't end up in her film after all. And still today, the linen keyhole tunic and felt fedora she wore to take a business meeting shows us how understatedly cool the movie star was away from her sequins and shoulder pads. 

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