Elizabeth Taylor’s childhood was filled with animals of all sorts. “We had rabbits, turtles, snakes, baby lambs, guinea pigs, kittens all over the place and dogs of all kinds.” And while her current canine friend, Sugar, is a mainstream kind of pet, as a child her furry companions were often of a less conventional kind. In a re-print edition of Nibbles and Me, written by Elizabeth when she was 13 years old and originally published in 1946, she tells of her childhood adventures with Nibbles, the chipmunk.
You may think upon first consideration that a chipmunk is not very “Hollywood.” But you’d be wrong. Nibbles captured the hearts of all he encountered; through riding the shoulders of the charming, 13-year old Ms. Taylor, already a delectable star, could not have been bad for his reputation. So popular a chipmunk was he, that he earned a cameo role in one of Elizabeth’s films. Though his scene did not make the final cut of National Velvet, one of two films for which Ms. Taylor earned an Oscar, he was said to have been quite an actor. As a pet, Nibbles was extremely mischievous, getting lost in the ventilators of Uncle Howard’s house when the Taylors went to visit, and in the pipes of the train that they rode to get there. He was a loyal as a dog, however, always finding his way back into the palm of her hand.
The re-release of Nibbles and Me is just one of several extraordinary events in 2002 for Elizabeth Taylor. Earlier this year she celebrated her 70th birthday. And she has much to show for her 70 years, extending far beyond her legendary Hollywood status. Her contributions to society are numerous and were recognized in July by the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington. Among the causes to which she is steadfast in her support is AIDS research, including her own organization dedicated to the cause, the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
While we don’t predict that the 2002 reprint of Nibbles and Me will result in the rise of the domesticated pet chipmunk, we do foresee an increase in movie roles for young chipmunks!