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Liz Taylor look-alike: Her place in the sun

Community: Local has enjoyed long career

Posted: April 8, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 8, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Nancy Casey, 70, poses alongside a 1959 photo of Elizabeth Taylor published in the April 11, 2011, issue of People magazine at Bouquet Canyon Senior Apartments in Saugus on Wednesday.

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The similarities between Saugus resident Nancy Casey and the late Elizabeth Taylor were always there: a slender figure, distinct gaze and eye-catching smile.

People began comparing her looks to those of the famous actress as early as high school.

Shortly after, Casey decided to give the celebrity-look-alike industry a try.

One of her first gigs was a print ad for Disneyland Hotel, appearing with Linda Evans and Joan Collins — or, rather, their look-alikes.

“This was like a whole new world,” the now 70-year-old woman said. “It was fulfilling. It felt good.”

Casey began collecting Taylor memorabilia and found comparisons between her life and Taylor’s: both were married at 18 years old; both had a daughter by a husband named Mike and both are of English and German descent, she said.

Casey’s popularity rose in 1989 when she won the National Enquirer’s look-alike contest.

In 1991, she was invited to appear on “The Joan Rivers Show” on a celebrity-look-alike-themed show.

Casey only once briefly met Taylor, who died March 23.

Casey was in high demand during the 1990s as the celebrity look-alike business grew. She kept her career as a paralegal and legal secretary working at an entertainment law firm in Beverly Hills.

She would soon leave her job as Casey began getting calls from corporations who hired her and other celebrity look-alikes for parties and dinners meant to entertain clients and employees.

She began charging $300 an hour for her appearances and traveled across the country, including entertainment hotspots like Las Vegas and Palm Springs.

“I made as much as $20,000 in one month,” she said. “That was a heck of a lot more money than I was making getting up at 8 a.m.”

The demand for celebrity look-alikes declined in 2001 as corporations scaled back on entertainment for clients and employees following the attacks on America.

“9/11 made a big difference,” she said. “It changed everything completely.”

Casey was able to maintain a career in the entertainment industry by picking up background work and roles on popular network shows like “Lois and Clark” and movies including “Fight Club.”

And although Casey is not actively pursuing look alike gigs anymore, she still catches the eye of her neighbors and friends at the Saugus apartment complex where she lives.

Casey recently put on her look alike costume — a formal dress paired with ornate rings and earrings — and mingled with neighbors who gathered to watch Taylor’s movies and remember the actress’ life. Taylor died last week from congestive heart failure. She was 79.

“I cannot believe she’s not here anymore,” Casey said as she put on her makeup. “I can’t believe she’s gone. It’s like I lived my life with her.”

As Casey flipped through her album of look-alike jobs and memorabilia, her neighbors stole glances of the costumed woman. Many took a double look before realizing it was their friend.

“She’s an inspiration to us all, if she can look that good.” 87-year-old neighbor Evelyn Sepkowski said with a smile.

Sepkowski said she and the other residents are always impressed by Casey’s resemblance to Taylor.

“She really floors everyone when she comes in,” she said.

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