Taylor, 75 and in a wheelchair, is a founding chairwoman of the annual Macy's Passport event, a charity auction and showcase for food and fashion.
Since 1988, Passport has raised $25 million for HIV/AIDS services, prevention and research. The actress was honored Thursday night with its first Humanitarian Award for AIDS Activism.
"I have done this every year for years," Taylor told The Associated Press in an interview. "It's tradition and it's part of my existence."
As her longtime friend Rock Hudson battled AIDS, which killed him in 1985, Taylor began work to raise funds and increase awareness of the disease.
"I used to have doors slammed in my face, telephones hung up on me," she said when asked about the differences between her early fundraising efforts and today. "This (is) 100 percent turnaround."
Taylor, who has been married eight times (twice to Richard Burton), appeared amused when asked if she'd ever marry again.
"Noooooooo!" she shouted, and then laughed. "Now I'm gonna howl."
Then she actually howled.
So, how's she doing?
"Physically?" asked Taylor. "I'm going to try and walk on the stage tonight. And say a little prayer for me that I don't fall."
She did not. Taylor, with some assistance, walked on the stage to a standing ovation. She made her way to a chair, sat down and accepted her award.
"I was here at the first night, here last year," she said. "I will continue to be here until we defeat the enemy of HIV and AIDS."
By MICHAEL CIDONI