Katy Perry will bring to life the story of Elizabeth Taylor in a new podcast series, which promises never-before-heard stories about the legendary actor and entrepreneur billed as Hollywood’s “original influencer.”
“Elizabeth the First,” a 10-part podcast series narrated by Perry, is slated to premiere later this spring on all major podcast platforms. The series is produced by Imperative Entertainment in association with House of Taylor, which oversees the late actor’s estate, and Perry’s Kitty Purry Productions.
Regarding Taylor, Perry said in a statement provided to Variety, “Like most people, I was attracted to her glamour, and in my own life, I continue to find myself referencing her through some of my visuals.”
Perry continued, “I’ve always felt a kinship towards her — I’ve even literally bathed in the same bathtub where she made that bar-setting ‘Cleopatra’ deal! I’m inspired by her bold activism, her constant boss moves in business, and through it all, an unapologetic way of loving — all things I try to live in my own life. It’s an honor to be able to share her story in this way.”
The series will feature stories from people closest to Taylor, who died in 2011, including through exclusive access to audio from the archives of the House of Taylor.
Topics will include Taylor’s fight against the male-dominated movie studio system as a young actress; her successful negotiation for the first $1 million salary to star in 1963’s “Cleopatra” to become the highest-paid actress in the world at the time; how her love of jewelry and business savvy led to a record-breaking Christie’s auction that featured her jewels; and her creation of the White Diamonds fragrance empire when celebrity-driven products were unpopular.
In addition, “Elizabeth the First” will cover Taylor’s groundbreaking public announcement that she was getting help for her alcoholism and drug abuse. It also will document how she used her celebrity to drive awareness of social causes such as HIV and AIDS, at a time when not even those in Hollywood wanted to talk about it.
“We are proud to announce this truly innovative and unique podcast about Elizabeth,” said House of Taylor in a statement. “During her lifetime, Elizabeth Taylor was arguably the most famous woman in the world. As such, she was talked about, written about, photographed, referenced and celebrated ad infinitum. She was also judged, analyzed and lived her life under the constant scrutiny of the press and public. What makes ‘Elizabeth the First’ extraordinarily special is that this will be the first narrative that explores Elizabeth as the original multihyphenate.”
In addition to narrating, Perry served as executive producer alongside Imperative’s Jason Hoch, who is overall producer for the series. “Elizabeth the First” is being written by Stephanie Koff. House of Taylor’s trustees are Quinn Tivey, Tim Mendelson and Barbara Berkowitz, and its brand strategy consultant is Erin Dawkins. Marshall Eskowitz and Carey Schwartz of Sunset Blvd are producing partners and represent House of Taylor for Elizabeth Taylor licensing and content opportunities. Jasha Klebe (“Planet Earth II,” “Naomi Osaka”) is scoring the series.
To date, Perry’s music has accumulated more than 50 billion streams alongside worldwide sales of more than 48 million adjusted albums and 135 million tracks. She is currently performing her Las Vegas residency, Play.