Elizabeth Taylor and her son Michael Wilding
From the set of Cleopatra to the Cannes International Film Festival to Mexico to Switzerland, Elizabeth Taylor's children saw plenty of the world .
Growing up the son of a screen legend "was great , kind of circus-like ," says Christopher Wilding . "The big tent folds and moves to the next city ."
And Wherever they called home , the 58-year-old adds , Taylor "took great pains to create a stable family life" for the four children she adored .
In this weeks PEOPLE , Taylor's family shares intimate memories and rare pictures of their mother for the first time in honor of her AIDS activism , leading up to World AIDS Day on December 1st . Never-before-seen photographs taken by her close friend (and Lassie Come Home costar) Roddy McDowall show Taylor as you've never seen her , at ease and un-posed . "He was the only one who could get really genuinely relaxed pictures of my mother ," says Christopher .
An Ultra-private family , three generations of Taylors share warm , often surprising memories of the matriarch they loved .
While she was not a disciplinarian , Christopher says , "she wouldn't hesitate to call you out if you was being close-minded or intolerant or judgmental.
Christopher Wilding looks on as Elizabeth Taylor , makes up her eyes for Cleopatra . Loris Loddi , who plays Cleopatra's son , on the right .
Her family remembers her as both a fierce activist , who co-founded amFAR in 1985 and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS
Foundation (ETAF) in 1991 , and the mom who loved to laugh , cuddle and play in her jewelry closet . "She was very intimate and real and open," says her granddaughter , Laela Wilding .
Taylor's great-grandson Finn McMurray remembers cuddling in her big bed , watching everything from her movies , Cleopatra and National Velvet to CSI and Buffy the Vampire Slayer . "We'd watch bad TV and eat popcorn ," recalls Finn , 15. "She was so much fun ." And as he's grown older , he says , "I've come to realize what amazing things she had done . She has really inspired me ."
Same with her grandson Quinn Tivey , a photographer who was taking portraits of HIV-positive people who've been helped by ETAF. "Grandma didn't care what anyone thought of her as long as she was doing what she considered d to be right ," the 27-year-old says . And while he treasures many memories of his unique "grandma," he remains inspired , he says , "by her chutzpah and her fearlessness."