For World AIDS Day, Kathy Ireland told Entertainment Tonight about Elizabeth Taylor’s most progressive and daring charitable act on behalf of the AIDS community. Ala Dallas Buyers Club, Taylor opened up her Bel Air home and nurtured the growth of an underground network to procure experimental drugs for friends with HIV/AIDS, Ireland said.

Taylor’s interest in the disease was both pioneering and personal. She helped break the stigma surrounding what the media called a “gay plague” — public health officials referred to it as "gay-related immune deficiency" — in the winter of 1985, when she chaired the first major AIDS benefit. According to Vanity Fair, Taylor’s Commitment to Life dinner earned a cool $1 million from charitable benefactors for AIDS Project Los Angeles, a service group providing hands-on care to patients.

For the many skeptics who see this bit of philanthropy as just another celebrity media gambit, it must be said Taylor was exceptional at that time. No other name brand Hollywood stars dared associate their names with what was then a mysterious and frightening disease. Taylor's life had been touched by the disease.

Earlier that year, for instance, her friend and former co-star Rock Hudson surprised not only the world but also Taylor when he announced he had AIDS. At the time she said she knew he was gay but believed he had cancer. Six years later her secretary Roger Wall, who had been diagnosed as HIV-positive, committed suicide by swallowing a handful of sleeping pills. Vanity Fair reports Taylor felt this as "one of the biggest losses" of her life. Even closer to home, Aileen Getty, Taylor's former daughter-in-law and mother to her grandchildren, was diagnosed with the virus in 1985. By 1992, Getty had developed AIDS.

Watch the video, courtesy of CelebTV, for more information about Ireland's surprise announcement.