Elizabeth Taylor 'ran Dallas Buyers Club-style HIV drugs ring from her home'

In a new interview, the actor’s friend Kathy Ireland claims that the star developed an underground network to distribute HIV medication in the early 1990s

Elizabeth Taylor ran a Dallas Buyers Club-style underground network to help procure medication for those with HIV, it has been claimed in a new interview with a close friend.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, model turned entrepreneur Kathy Ireland said that the Oscar-winning actor, who died in 2011, used her Bel Air home to try to help those with the virus at a time when support from the government was minimal.

“Talk about fearless – at her home in Bel Air,” Ireland said. “It was a safe house. A lot of the work that she did, it was illegal, but she was saving lives. She said her business associates pleaded with her, ‘Leave this thing alone.’ She received death threats. Friends hung up on her when she asked for help. But something that I love about Elizabeth is her courage.”

Taylor was a public advocate of the cause after her friend Rock Hudson died of Aids in 1985. In 1991 she started the Elizabeth Taylor Aids foundation to help with both prevention and education. Taylor then opened up her home at the same time to help those who needed access to medication which at the time hadn’t been approved.

Her network resembles the plot of Oscar-winning drama Dallas Buyers Club, based on the true story of Ron Woodroof, who smuggled drugs to help treat HIV into America during the 1980s. Similar stories have also been told in the Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague and the HBO film The Normal Heart.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Benjamin Lee, for theguardian.com on Thursday 3rd December 2015 10.13 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010