When Janie Minick walks onstage and announces: "I'm Elizabeth Taylor Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky," you would suspend all manner of disbelief if Taylor were still alive. She is, of course, referring to her marriages to hotel heir Nicky Hilton, British actor Michael Wilding, Hollywood film producer Mike Todd, singer Eddie Fisher, Welsh actor Richard Burton (to whom she was wed twice), Virginia senator John Warner, and construction worker Larry Fortensky. She then interweaves the story of her life, romances, and marriages to each of them.

Minick is a doppelganger for Taylor, not only in her sartorial splendor but also in voice and mannerisms. The resemblance, even up close, is uncanny. Minick first realized she bore a striking resemblance to Taylor when she was in her early teens, and people would say to her: "You look just like that girl in `National Velvet’" (one of Taylor's early film roles about a young girl and a horse). Although she could con even the most diehard skeptic into believing she really was Elizabeth Taylor during Taylor's lifetime, Minick says, "I was a great movie fan, and I always wanted to look like Betty Grable."

Janie comes by her love of theater naturally. Both her parents were active in community theater in her hometown of Freeport, Texas, where she resided until fifth grade before moving with her parents to Houston. After her first theater role as a child she recalls, "I loved being onstage and getting all that applause." At 16 she became the youngest intern at Houston's famed Alley Theater under the tutelage of founding artistic director Nina Vance (who was also a mentor at the time to Norma Young (co-founding artistic director of Dallas' Theatre Three).

Minick fondly relates one of her favorite look-alike gigs, which took place in Madrid, Spain. Back story: When Taylor turned 65, she threw a star-studded bash to commemorate this milestone, with all proceeds donated to an AIDS charity. One of the performers was magician David Copperfield. Taylor was wearing one of her multi-carat diamond rings which he made disappear onstage. It re-appeared in his back pocket.

Some time later, Copperfield was scheduled to appear in Madrid on a live TV show called `Sorpresa’ (Spanish for “surprise”), which specialized in surprising people. A Madrid agent decided to turn the tables on Copperfield, who was slated to surprise another guest. Copperfield was to perform the same shtick he had done at Taylor's party. He was set-up by being asked if he had ever done this act before. When he predictably replied in the affirmative he was asked if he recalled who was the subject of his legerdemain. He said that it was Elizabeth Taylor. The show's host then announced: "She is here now," and Minick stepped onto the set. She said Copperfield played along, although she felt certain he knew better.

When Minick appeared on TV’s “Maury Povich Show” with several other celebrity impersonators, Povich did a double-take and remarked that she was the most realistic Taylor look-alike he had ever seen.

Janie Minick performs her act throughout the United States and has also appeared in Canada. She has her own talent agency, Carbon Copies Celebrity Look-Alikes (carboncopiescelebs.com) with a large stable of famous theatrical impersonators, both living and dead, based all over the country who perform at private parties and commercial functions.


Key Subjects: 
Janie Minick, Elizabeth Taylor, celebrity lookalike
Rita Faye Smith
May 2013
Life of a Keynote Speaker and Lookalike Artist