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Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Overview
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor, DBE (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011) was a British-American actress. From her early years as a child star with MGM, she became one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age
Classical Hollywood cinema
Classical Hollywood cinema or the classical Hollywood narrative, are terms used in film history which designates both a visual and sound style for making motion pictures and a mode of production used in the American film industry between roughly the 1910s and the early 1960s.Classical style is...

. As one of the world's most famous film stars, Taylor was recognized for her acting ability and for her glamorous lifestyle, beauty and distinctive violet eyes.

National Velvet
National Velvet (film)
National Velvet is a 1944 drama film, in Technicolor, based on the novel by Enid Bagnold, published in 1935. It stars Mickey Rooney, Donald Crisp and a young Elizabeth Taylor....

 (1944) was Taylor's first success, and she starred in Father of the Bride
Father of the Bride (1950 film)
Father of the Bride is a 1950 American comedy film about a man trying to cope with preparations for his daughter's upcoming wedding. The movie stars Spencer Tracy in the titular role, Joan Bennett, Elizabeth Taylor, Don Taylor, Billie Burke, and Leo G. Carroll. It was adapted by Frances Goodrich...

 (1950), A Place in the Sun (1951), Giant (1956), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (film)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a 1958 American drama film directed by Richard Brooks. It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Tennessee Williams adapted by Richard Brooks and James Poe...

 (1958), and Suddenly, Last Summer
Suddenly, Last Summer (film)
Suddenly, Last Summer is a 1959 American Southern Gothic mystery film based on the play of the same title by Tennessee Williams. The film was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by Sam Spiegel from a screenplay by Gore Vidal and Williams. The music score was by Buxton Orr using themes by...

 (1959).
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Encyclopedia
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor, DBE (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011) was a British-American actress. From her early years as a child star with MGM, she became one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age
Classical Hollywood cinema
Classical Hollywood cinema or the classical Hollywood narrative, are terms used in film history which designates both a visual and sound style for making motion pictures and a mode of production used in the American film industry between roughly the 1910s and the early 1960s.Classical style is...

. As one of the world's most famous film stars, Taylor was recognized for her acting ability and for her glamorous lifestyle, beauty and distinctive violet eyes.

National Velvet
National Velvet (film)
National Velvet is a 1944 drama film, in Technicolor, based on the novel by Enid Bagnold, published in 1935. It stars Mickey Rooney, Donald Crisp and a young Elizabeth Taylor....

 (1944) was Taylor's first success, and she starred in Father of the Bride
Father of the Bride (1950 film)
Father of the Bride is a 1950 American comedy film about a man trying to cope with preparations for his daughter's upcoming wedding. The movie stars Spencer Tracy in the titular role, Joan Bennett, Elizabeth Taylor, Don Taylor, Billie Burke, and Leo G. Carroll. It was adapted by Frances Goodrich...

 (1950), A Place in the Sun (1951), Giant (1956), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (film)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a 1958 American drama film directed by Richard Brooks. It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Tennessee Williams adapted by Richard Brooks and James Poe...

 (1958), and Suddenly, Last Summer
Suddenly, Last Summer (film)
Suddenly, Last Summer is a 1959 American Southern Gothic mystery film based on the play of the same title by Tennessee Williams. The film was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by Sam Spiegel from a screenplay by Gore Vidal and Williams. The music score was by Buxton Orr using themes by...

 (1959). She won the Academy Award for Best Actress
Academy Award for Best Actress
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

 for BUtterfield 8
BUtterfield 8
BUtterfield 8 is a 1960 Metrocolor drama film directed by Daniel Mann, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey. Taylor, then 28 years old, won an Academy Award for her performance...

 (1960), played the title role in Cleopatra
Cleopatra (1963 film)
Cleopatra is a 1963 British-American-Swiss epic drama film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The screenplay was adapted by Sidney Buchman, Ben Hecht, Ranald MacDougall, and Mankiewicz from a book by Carlo Maria Franzero. The film starred Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Roddy...

 (1963), and married her co-star Richard Burton
Richard Burton
Richard Burton, CBE was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role , and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid...

. They appeared together in 11 films, including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (film)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a 1966 American drama film directed by Mike Nichols. The screenplay by Ernest Lehman is an adaptation of the play of the same title by Edward Albee...

 (1966), for which Taylor won a second Academy Award. From the mid-1970s, she appeared less frequently in film, and made occasional appearances in television and theatre.

Her much publicized personal life included eight marriages and several life-threatening illnesses. From the mid-1980s, Taylor championed HIV and AIDS programs; she co-founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research in 1985, and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1993. She received the Presidential Citizens Medal
Presidential Citizens Medal
The Presidential Citizens Medal is the second highest civilian award in the United States, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is awarded by the President of the United States, and may be given posthumously....

, the Legion of Honour, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and a Life Achievement Award
AFI Life Achievement Award
The AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the Board of Directors of the American Film Institute on February 26, 1973 to honor a single individual for his or her lifetime contribution to enriching American culture through motion pictures and television....

 from the American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

, who named her seventh on their list of the "Greatest American Screen Legends"
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars
Part of the AFI 100 Years... series, AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars is a list of the top 50 greatest screen legends of American cinema, 25 male and 25 female...

. Taylor died of congestive heart failure in March 2011 at the age of 79, having suffered many years of ill health.

Early life


Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born at Heathwood, her parents' home at 8 Wildwood Road in Hampstead Garden Suburb
Hampstead Garden Suburb
-Notable Residents :*Theo Adams*Martin Bell*Sir Victor Blank*Katie Boyle*Constantine, the last King of Greece*Greg Davies*Richard & Judy Finnigan*David Matthews*Michael Ridpath*Claudia Roden*Jonathan Ross*Sir Donald Sinden*Marc Sinden...

, a northwestern suburb of London; the younger of two children of Francis Lenn Taylor
Francis Lenn Taylor
Francis Taylor was an American art dealer and father of the actress Elizabeth Taylor.He was born Francis Lenn Taylor in Springfield, Illinois, the son of Francis Marion Taylor and Elizabeth Mary Rosemond...

 (1897–1968) and Sara Viola Warmbrodt
Sara Sothern
Sara Sothern was an American stage actress.She was born Sara Viola Warmbrodt in Arkansas City, Kansas, the daughter of Samuel Sylvester Warmbrodt and Elizabeth Ann Wilson...

 (1895–1994), who were Americans
People of the United States
The people of the United States, also known as simply Americans or American people, are the inhabitants or citizens of the United States. The United States is a multi-ethnic nation, home to people of different ethnic and national backgrounds...

 residing in England. Taylor's older brother, Howard Taylor, was born in 1929. Her parents were originally from Arkansas City, Kansas
Arkansas City, Kansas
Arkansas City is a city situated at the confluence of the Arkansas and Walnut rivers in the southwestern part of Cowley County, located in south-central Kansas, in the central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 12,415....

. Francis Taylor was an art dealer, and Sara was a former actress whose stage name was "Sara Sothern". Sothern retired from the stage in 1926 when she married Francis in New York City. Taylor's two first names are in honor of her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Mary (Rosemond) Taylor.

Colonel Victor Cazalet
Victor Cazalet
Colonel Victor Alexander Cazalet MC was a British Conservative Party Member of Parliament .Cazalet was commissioned into the Queen's Own West Kent Yeomanry in 1915 and reached the rank of Captain, winning the Military Cross in 1917...

, one of their closest friends, had an important influence on the family. He was a rich, well-connected bachelor, a Member of Parliament and close friend of Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

. Cazalet loved both art and theater and was passionate when encouraging the Taylor family to think of England as their permanent home. Additionally, as a Christian Scientist and lay preacher, his links with the family were spiritual. He also became Elizabeth's godfather. In one instance, when she was suffering with a severe infection as a child, she was kept in her bed for weeks. She "begged" for his company: "Mother, please call Victor and ask him to come and sit with me."

Biographer Alexander Walker
Alexander Walker (critic)
Alexander Walker was a film critic, born in Portadown, Northern Ireland. He worked for the Birmingham Post in the 1950s, before becoming film critic of the London Evening Standard in 1960, a role he held until his death in 2003...

 suggests that Elizabeth's conversion
Religious conversion
Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...

 to Judaism at the age of 27 and her life-long support for Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, may have been influenced by views she heard at home. Walker notes that Cazalet actively campaigned for a Jewish homeland, and her mother also worked in various charities, which included sponsoring fundraisers for Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

. Her mother recalls the influence that Cazalet had on Elizabeth:
A dual citizen
Multiple citizenship
Multiple citizenship is a status in which a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen under the laws of more than one state. Multiple citizenships exist because different countries use different, and not necessarily mutually exclusive, citizenship requirements...

 of the United Kingdom and the United States, she was born British, through her birth on British soil
Jus soli
Jus soli , also known as birthright citizenship, is a right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognized to any individual born in the territory of the related state...

 and an American citizen through her parents
Jus sanguinis
Ius sanguinis is a social policy by which citizenship is not determined by place of birth, but by having a parent who are citizens of the nation...

. She reportedly sought, in 1965, to renounce her United States citizenship, to wit: "Though never accepted by the State Department, Elizabeth renounced in 1965. Attempting to shield much of her European income from U.S. taxes, Elizabeth wished to become solely a British citizen. According to news reports at the time, officials denied her request when she failed to complete the renunciation oath, refusing to say that she renounced "all allegiance to the United States of America."

At the age of three, Taylor began taking ballet lessons. Shortly before the beginning of World War II, her parents decided to return to the United States to avoid hostilities. Her mother took the children first, arriving in New York in April 1939, while her father remained in London to wrap up matters in his art business, arriving in November. They settled in Los Angeles, California, where her father established a new art gallery, which included many paintings he shipped from England. The gallery would soon attract numerous Hollywood celebrities who appreciated its modern European paintings. According to Walker, the gallery "opened many doors for the Taylors, leading them directly into the society of money and prestige" within Hollywood's movie colony.

Child actress


Soon after settling in Los Angeles, Taylor's mother discovered that Hollywood people "habitually saw a movie future for every pretty face." Some of her mother's friends, and even total strangers, urged her to have Taylor screen tested for the role of Bonnie Blue, Scarlett's child in Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind (film)
Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American historical epic film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name. It was produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming from a screenplay by Sidney Howard...

, then being filmed. Her mother refused the idea, as a child actress in film was alien to her. And in any regard, they would return to England after the war.

Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper
Hedda Hopper
Hedda Hopper was an American actress and gossip columnist, whose long-running feud with friend turned arch-rival Louella Parsons became at least as notorious as many of Hopper's columns.-Early life:...

 introduced the Taylors to Andrea Berens, the fiancée of John Cheever Cowdin
John Cheever Cowdin
John Cheever Cowdin was an American financier and polo champion who was a head at Standard Capital Corporation of New York City and Chairman of Ideal Chemicals.-Biography:He was born in 1889 to John Elliott Cowdin....

, chairman and major stockholder of Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
-1920:* White Youth* The Flaming Disc* Am I Dreaming?* The Dragon's Net* The Adorable Savage* Putting It Over* The Line Runners-1921:* The Fire Eater* A Battle of Wits* Dream Girl* The Millionaire...

. Berens insisted that Sara take Taylor to see Cowden who, she assured, would be dazzled by her breathtaking beauty. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs. MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer...

 also became interested in Taylor, and MGM head Louis B. Mayer
Louis B. Mayer
Louis Burt Mayer born Lazar Meir was an American film producer. He is generally cited as the creator of the "star system" within Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in its golden years. Known always as Louis B...

 reportedly told his producer, "Sign her up, sign her up! What are you waiting for?" As a result, she soon had both Universal and MGM willing to place her under contract. When Universal learned that MGM was equally interested, however, Cowden telephoned Universal from New York: "Sign her up, he ordered, don't even wait for the screen test." Universal then gave her a seven-year contract.

Taylor appeared in her first motion picture at the age of nine in There's One Born Every Minute
There's One Born Every Minute
There's One Born Every Minute is a 1942 American Universal Pictures comedy film directed by Harold Young. It was the debut film of Elizabeth Taylor.-Cast:*Hugh Herbert ... Lemuel P. Twine / Abner Twine / Colonel Cladius Zebediah Twine...

 (1942), her only film for Universal. After less than a year, however, the studio fired Taylor for unknown reasons. Some speculate that she did not live up to Cowden's promise. Walker believes that Taylor's intuition told her "she wasn't really welcome at Universal." She learned, for instance, that her casting director complained, "The kid has nothing," after a test. Even her beautiful eyes—they were a deep blue that appeared violet and stunned those who met her in person, with a mutation that gave Taylor double eyelashes—did not impress him: "Her eyes are too old, she doesn't have the face of a child," he said.

But Walker admits that "this was not so far off the mark as it may appear now." He explains:
Taylor herself remembers that when she was a child in England, adults used to describe her as having an "old soul," because, as she says, "I was totally direct." She also recognized similar traits in her baby daughter:
Taylor's father served as an air raid warden with MGM producer Sam Marx
Sam Marx
Samuel Marx, born Simon Marx , was the husband of Minnie Marx, and father of the Marx Brothers.He was born in Mertzwiller, Alsace, France in 1859, and he died on May 10, 1933 in Los Angeles, California. He met Minnie in New York where he was working as a dance teacher. They married in 1884 and had...

, and learned that the studio was searching for an English actress for a Lassie
Lassie
Lassie is a fictional collie dog character created by Eric Knight in a short story expanded to novel length called Lassie Come-Home. Published in 1940, the novel was filmed by MGM in 1943 as Lassie Come Home with a dog named Pal playing Lassie. Pal then appeared with the stage name "Lassie" in six...

 film. Taylor received the role and was offered a long-term contract at the beginning of 1943. She chose MGM because "the people there had been nicer to her when she went to audition," Taylor recalled. MGM's production chief, Benny Thau, was to remain the "only MGM executive" she fully trusted during subsequent years, because, writes Walker, "he had, out of kindly habit, made the gesture that showed her she was loved." Thau remembered her as a "little dark-haired beauty...[with] those strange and lovely eyes that gave the face its central focus, oddly powerful in someone so young." MGM, in addition, was considered a "glamorous studio," boasting that it had "more stars than there are in heaven." Before Taylor's mother would sign the contract, however, she sought certainty that Taylor had a "God-given talent" to become an actress. Walker describes how they came to a decision:

Adolescent star


MGM cast Taylor in Lassie Come Home
Lassie Come Home
Lassie Come Home is a 1943 MGM film starring Roddy McDowall and canine actor, Pal, in a story about the profound bond between Yorkshire boy Joe Carraclough and his rough collie, Lassie. The film was directed by Fred M. Wilcox from a screenplay by Hugo Butler based upon the 1940 novel Lassie...

 (1943) with child star Roddy McDowall
Roddy McDowall
Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude "Roddy" McDowall was an English actor and photographer. His film roles included Cornelius and Caesar in the Planet of the Apes film series...

, with whom she would share a lifelong friendship. He later recalled regarding her beauty, "who has double eyelashes except a girl who was absolutely born to be on the big screen?" The film received favorable attention for both actors, and MGM signed Taylor to a conventional seven-year contract starting at $100 a week and with regular raises. Her first assignment under her new contract was a loan-out to 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

 for the character of Helen Burns in a film version of the Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood, whose novels are English literature standards...

 novel Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre (1944 film)
Jane Eyre is a classic film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel of the same name, made by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by William Goetz, Kenneth Macgowan, and Orson Welles . The screenplay was by John Houseman, Aldous Huxley, Henry Koster, and Robert...

 (1944). Taylor returned to England to appear in another McDowall picture for MGM, The White Cliffs of Dover
The White Cliffs of Dover (1944 film)
The White Cliffs of Dover is a 1944 film made by Loew's and MGM. It was directed by Clarence Brown and produced by Clarence Brown and Sidney Franklin. The screenplay was by Claudine West, Jan Lustig and George Froeschel, based on the Alice Duer Miller poem titled The White Cliffs with additional...

 (1944).

Taylor's persistence in seeking the role of Velvet Brown in MGM's National Velvet
National Velvet (film)
National Velvet is a 1944 drama film, in Technicolor, based on the novel by Enid Bagnold, published in 1935. It stars Mickey Rooney, Donald Crisp and a young Elizabeth Taylor....

 made her a star at the age of 12. Her character is a young girl who trains her beloved horse to win the Grand National. Velvet, which costarred fellow young actor Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney is an American film actor and entertainer whose film, television, and stage appearances span nearly his entire lifetime. He has won multiple awards, including an Honorary Academy Award, a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award...

 and English newcomer Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury
Angela Brigid Lansbury CBE is an English actress and singer in theatre, television and motion pictures, whose career has spanned eight decades and earned her more performance Tony Awards than any other individual , with five wins...

, became a great success upon its release in December 1944. Many years later Taylor called it "the most exciting film" she had ever made, although the film caused many of her later back problems due to her falling off a horse during filming.

Viewers and critics "fell in love with Elizabeth Taylor when they saw her in it." Walker explains why the film was popular:
Velvet grossed over US$4 million and MGM signed Taylor to a new long-term contract. Because of the movie's success she was cast in another animal film, Courage of Lassie
Courage of Lassie
Courage of Lassie is a 1946 MGM feature film starring Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Morgan, and dog actor Pal in a story about a collie named Bill and his young companion, Kathie Merrick. When Bill is separated from Kathie following a vehicular accident, he is trained as a war dog, performs heroically,...

 (1946), in which Bill the dog outsmarts the Nazis. The film's success led to another contract for Taylor paying her $750 per week. Her roles as Mary Skinner in a loan-out to Warner Brothers' Life With Father
Life with Father (film)
Life with Father is a 1947 American comedy film. It tells the true story of Clarence Day, a stockbroker who wants to be master of his house, but finds his wife and his children ignoring him, until they start making demands for him to change his own life. In keeping with the autobiography, all the...

 (1947), Cynthia Bishop in Cynthia (1947), Carol Pringle in A Date with Judy
A Date with Judy (film)
A Date with Judy is a 1948 MGM musical film starring Wallace Beery, Jane Powell, and Elizabeth Taylor. Directed by Richard Thorpe, the movie was based on the radio series of the same name....

 (1948), and Susan Prackett in Julia Misbehaves
Julia Misbehaves
Julia Misbehaves is a 1948 romantic comedy film. It stars Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon as a married couple who are soon separated by his snobbish family. They meet again many years later, when the daughter he has raised, played by Elizabeth Taylor, invites her mother to her wedding...

 (1948) were all successful. Taylor received a reputation as a consistently successful adolescent actress, with a nickname of "One-Shot Liz" (referring to her ability to shoot a scene in one take) and a promising career. Taylor's portrayal of Amy in the American classic Little Women
Little Women (1949 film)
Little Women directed by Mervyn LeRoy is based on Louisa May Alcott's novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Sally Benson, Victor Heerman, Sarah Y. Mason, and Andrew Solt...

 (1949) was her last adolescent role.

Transition into adult roles


The teenage Taylor was reluctant to continue making films. Her stage mother
Stage mother
In the performing arts, a stage mother is a term for the mother of a child actor. The mother will often drive her child to auditions, make sure he or she is on the set on time, etc...

 forced Taylor to relentlessly practice until she could cry on cue and watched her during filming, signaling to change her delivery or a mistake. Taylor met few others her age on movie sets, and was so poorly educated that she needed to use her fingers to do basic arithmetic. When at age 16 Taylor told her parents that she wanted to quit acting for a normal childhood, however, Sara Taylor told her that she was ungrateful: "You have a responsibility, Elizabeth. Not just to this family, but to the country now, the whole world".

In October 1948, Taylor sailed aboard the to England to begin filming Conspirator
Conspirator (1949 film)
Conspirator is a 1949 British thriller film directed by Victor Saville and starring Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Taylor and Robert Flemyng. A British guards officer who is a spy for the Soviet Union is ordered by his KGB handlers to murder his young American wife when she discovers his true...

. Unlike some other child actors, Taylor made an easy transition to adult roles. Before Conspirator 1949 release, a TIME cover article called her "a jewel of great price, a true star sapphire", and the leader among Hollywood's next generation of stars such as Montgomery Clift
Montgomery Clift
Edward Montgomery Clift was an American film and stage actor. The New York Times’ obituary noted his portrayal of "moody, sensitive young men"....

, Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas is an American stage and film actor, film producer and author. His popular films include Out of the Past , Champion , Ace in the Hole , The Bad and the Beautiful , Lust for Life , Paths of Glory , Gunfight at the O.K...

, and Ava Gardner
Ava Gardner
Ava Lavinia Gardner was an American actress.She was signed to a contract by MGM Studios in 1941 and appeared mainly in small roles until she drew attention with her performance in The Killers . She became one of Hollywood's leading actresses, considered one of the most beautiful women of her day...

. The petite Taylor had the figure of a mature woman, with a 19" waist. Conspirator failed at the box office, but 16-year-old Taylor's portrayal of a 21-year-old debutante who unknowingly marries a communist spy played by 38-year-old Robert Taylor
Robert Taylor (actor)
Robert Taylor was an American film and television actor.-Early life:Born Spangler Arlington Brugh in Filley, Nebraska, he was the son of Ruth Adaline and Spangler Andrew Brugh, who was a farmer turned doctor...

, was praised by critics for her first adult lead in a film. Taylor's first picture under her new salary of $2,000 per week was The Big Hangover
The Big Hangover
The Big Hangover is a comedy film released by M-G-M. The film starred Van Johnson and Elizabeth Taylor. Supporting players, include, Percy Waram, Fay Holden, Leon Ames, Edgar Bunchman, Selena Royle, Gene Lockhart, and Rosemary DeCamp...

 (1950), both a critical and box office failure, that paired her with screen idol Van Johnson
Van Johnson
Van Johnson was an American film and television actor and dancer who was a major star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios during and after World War II....

. The picture also failed to present Taylor with an opportunity to exhibit her newly realized sensuality.

Her first box office success in an adult role came as Kay Banks in the romantic comedy Father of the Bride
Father of the Bride (1950 film)
Father of the Bride is a 1950 American comedy film about a man trying to cope with preparations for his daughter's upcoming wedding. The movie stars Spencer Tracy in the titular role, Joan Bennett, Elizabeth Taylor, Don Taylor, Billie Burke, and Leo G. Carroll. It was adapted by Frances Goodrich...

 (1950), alongside Spencer Tracy
Spencer Tracy
Spencer Bonaventure Tracy was an American theatrical and film actor, who appeared in 75 films from 1930 to 1967. Tracy was one of the major stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, ranking among the top ten box office draws for almost every year from 1938 to 1951...

 and Joan Bennett
Joan Bennett
Joan Geraldine Bennett was an American stage, film and television actress. Besides acting on the stage, Bennett appeared in more than 70 motion pictures from the era of silent movies well into the sound era...

. The film spawned a sequel, Father's Little Dividend
Father's Little Dividend
Father's Little Dividend is a 1951 comedy film directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, and Elizabeth Taylor. The movie is the sequel to Father of the Bride ....

 (1951), which Taylor's costar Spencer Tracy summarized with "boring… boring… boring". The film did well at the box office, but it would be Taylor's next picture that would set the course for her career as a dramatic actress.

In late 1949, Taylor had begun filming George Stevens
George Stevens
George Stevens was an American film director, producer, screenwriter and cinematographer.Among his most notable films were Diary of Anne Frank , nominated for Best Director, Giant , winner of Oscar for Best Director, Shane , Oscar nominated, and A Place in the Sun , winner of Oscar for Best...

' A Place in the Sun. Upon its release in 1951, Taylor was hailed for her performance as Angela Vickers, a spoiled socialite who comes between George Eastman (Clift) and his poor, pregnant factory-working girlfriend Alice Tripp (Shelley Winters
Shelley Winters
Shelley Winters was an American actress who appeared in dozens of films, as well as on stage and television; her career spanned over 50 years until her death in 2006...

). The film, based on Theodore Dreiser
Theodore Dreiser
Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser was an American novelist and journalist of the naturalist school. His novels often featured main characters who succeeded at their objectives despite a lack of a firm moral code, and literary situations that more closely resemble studies of nature than tales of...

's novel, An American Tragedy
An American Tragedy
-Plot summary:The ambitious but immature Clyde Griffiths, raised by poor and devoutly religious parents who force him to participate in their street missionary work, is anxious to achieve better things. His troubles begin when he takes a job as a bellboy at a local hotel. The boys he meets are...

, was an indictment of "the American dream" and its corrupting influences, notes biographer Kitty Kelley.

Although Taylor, then only 17, was unaware of the psychological implications of the story and its powerful nuances, it became the pivotal performance of Taylor's career. Kelley explains that Stevens, its director, knew that with Elizabeth Taylor as the young and beautiful star, the "audience would understand why George Eastman (Clift) would kill for a place in the sun with her." Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper
Hedda Hopper
Hedda Hopper was an American actress and gossip columnist, whose long-running feud with friend turned arch-rival Louella Parsons became at least as notorious as many of Hopper's columns.-Early life:...

, allowed on the set to watch the filming, became "wide-eyed watching the little girl from National Velvet seduce Montgomery Clift in front of the camera," writes Kelley. When the scene was over, Hopper went to her, "Elizabeth, where on earth did you ever learn how to make love like that?"

Critics acclaimed the film as a classic, a reputation it sustained throughout the next 50 years of cinema history. The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

A.H. Weiler wrote, "Elizabeth's delineation of the rich and beauteous Angela is the top effort of her career", and the Boxoffice
Boxoffice (magazine)
Boxoffice is a film industry magazine dedicated to the movie theatre business published by Boxoffice Media LP. It started in 1920 as The Reel Journal, taking its current name in 1931 and still publishes today, with an intended audience of theatre owners and film professionals.Boxoffice is the...

 reviewer unequivocally stated "Miss Taylor deserves an Academy Award".

Taylor became increasingly unsatisfied with the roles being offered to her at the time. While she wanted to play the lead roles in The Barefoot Contessa
The Barefoot Contessa
The Barefoot Contessa is a 1954 film about the life and loves of fictional Spanish sex symbol Maria Vargas. It was written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and stars Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner and Edmond O'Brien....

 and I'll Cry Tomorrow
I'll Cry Tomorrow
I'll Cry Tomorrow is a biopic which tells the story of Lillian Roth, a Broadway star who rebels against the pressure of her domineering mother and reacts to the death of her fiancé by becoming an alcoholic...

, MGM continued to restrict her to mindless and somewhat forgettable films such as: a cameo as herself in Callaway Went Thataway
Callaway Went Thataway
Callaway Went Thataway is a 1951 American comedy film starring Fred MacMurray, Dorothy McGuire, and Howard Keel. It was written, directed, and produced by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama...

 (1951), Love Is Better Than Ever
Love Is Better Than Ever
Love Is Better Than Ever is a 1952 American romantic comedy film directed by Stanley Donen from a screenplay by Ruth Brooks Flippen, starring Larry Parks and Elizabeth Taylor. The plot concerns a small-town girl who falls in love with a big-city talent agent.-Cast:*Larry Parks as Jud...

 (1952), Ivanhoe
Ivanhoe (1952 film)
Ivanhoe is a 1952 historical film made by MGM. It was directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Pandro S. Berman. The cast featured Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Emlyn Williams, Finlay Currie and Felix Aylmer...

 (1952), The Girl Who Had Everything
The Girl Who Had Everything
The Girl Who Had Everything is a 1953 film directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Armande Deutsch for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film features William Powell in his last MGM feature and one of his last film roles before retirement. The screenplay was written by Art Cohn, based upon a play by...

 (1953) and Beau Brummel (1954). She had wanted to play the role of Lady Rowena in Ivanhoe, but the part was given to Joan Fontaine
Joan Fontaine
Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland , known professionally as Joan Fontaine, is a British American actress. She and her elder sister Olivia de Havilland are two of the last surviving leading ladies from Hollywood of the 1930s....

; Taylor was given the role of Rebecca. When Taylor became pregnant with her first child, MGM forced her through The Girl Who Had Everything (even adding two hours to her daily work schedule) so as to get one more film out of her before she became too heavily pregnant. Taylor lamented that she needed the money, as she had just bought a new house with second husband Michael Wilding
Michael Wilding (actor)
-Early life:Born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England, Wilding was a successful commercial artist when he joined the art department of a London film studio in 1933. He soon embarked on an acting career.-Career:...

 and with a child on the way things would be pretty tight. Taylor had been forced by her pregnancy to turn down Elephant Walk
Elephant Walk
Elephant Walk is a 1954 Paramount Pictures film, directed by William Dieterle, and starring Elizabeth Taylor, Dana Andrews, Peter Finch and Abraham Sofaer....

 (1954), though the role had been designed for her. Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh, Lady Olivier was an English actress. She won the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire , a role she also played on stage in London's West End, as well as for her portrayal of the southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, alongside Clark...

, almost two decades Taylor's senior, but to whom Taylor bore a striking resemblance, got the part and went to Ceylon to shoot on location. Leigh suffered a nervous breakdown during filming, and Taylor reclaimed the role after the birth of her child, Michael Wilding, Jr., in January 1953.

Taylor's next screen endeavor, Rhapsody (1954), another tedious romantic drama, proved equally frustrating. Taylor portrayed Louise Durant, a beautiful rich girl in love with a temperamental violinist (Vittorio Gassman
Vittorio Gassman
Vittorio Gassman Knight Grand Cross OMRI , popularly known as Il Mattatore, was an Italian theatre and film actor and director...

) and an earnest young pianist (John Ericson). A film critic for the New York Herald Tribune
New York Herald Tribune
The New York Herald Tribune was a daily newspaper created in 1924 when the New York Tribune acquired the New York Herald.Other predecessors, which had earlier merged into the New York Tribune, included the original The New Yorker newsweekly , and the Whig Party's Log Cabin.The paper was home to...

 wrote: "There is beauty in the picture all right, with Miss Taylor glowing into the camera from every angle… but the dramatic pretenses are weak, despite the lofty sentences and handsome manikin poses."

Taylor's fourth period picture, Beau Brummell
Beau Brummell (film)
Beau Brummell is a historical film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed by Curtis Bernhardt and produced by Sam Zimbalist from a screenplay by Karl Tunberg, based on the play Beau Brummell by Clyde Fitch. The music score was by Richard Addinsell with Miklós Rózsa...

, made just after Elephant Walk and Rhapsody, cast her as the elaborately costumed Lady Patricia, which many felt was only a screen prop—a ravishing beauty whose sole purpose was to lend romantic support to the film's title star, Stewart Granger
Stewart Granger
Stewart Granger was an English-American film actor, mainly associated with heroic and romantic leading roles. He was a popular leading man from the 1940s to the early 1960s rising to fame through his appearances in the Gainsborough melodramas.-Early life:He was born James Lablache Stewart in Old...

. The Last Time I Saw Paris
The Last Time I Saw Paris
The Last Time I Saw Paris is a 1954 romantic drama made by MGM. It is loosely based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story "Babylon Revisited." It was directed by Richard Brooks, produced by Jack Cummings and filmed on locations in Paris and the MGM backlot. The screenplay was by Julius J. Epstein,...

 (1954) fared only slightly better than her previous pictures, with Taylor being reunited with The Big Hangover costar Van Johnson. The role of Helen Ellsworth Willis was based on that of Zelda Fitzgerald
Zelda Fitzgerald
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald , born Zelda Sayre in Montgomery, Alabama, was an American novelist and the wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. She was an icon of the 1920s—dubbed by her husband "the first American Flapper"...

 and, although pregnant with her second child, Taylor went ahead with the film, her fourth in 12 months. Although proving somewhat successful at the box office, she still yearned for more substantial roles.

1955–79


Following a more substantial role opposite Rock Hudson
Rock Hudson
Roy Harold Scherer, Jr., later Roy Harold Fitzgerald , known professionally as Rock Hudson, was an American film and television actor, recognized as a romantic leading man during the 1950s and 1960s, most notably in several romantic comedies with Doris Day.Hudson was voted "Star of the Year",...

 and James Dean
James Dean
James Byron Dean was an American film actor. He is a cultural icon, best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause , in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark...

 in George Stevens
George Stevens
George Stevens was an American film director, producer, screenwriter and cinematographer.Among his most notable films were Diary of Anne Frank , nominated for Best Director, Giant , winner of Oscar for Best Director, Shane , Oscar nominated, and A Place in the Sun , winner of Oscar for Best...

' epic Giant (1956), Taylor was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress
Academy Award for Best Actress
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

 four years in a row for Raintree County
Raintree County (film)
Raintree County is a 1957 Technicolor film drama about the American Civil War. It was directed by Edward Dmytryk. The film stars Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Marie Saint, and Lee Marvin....

 (1957) opposite Montgomery Clift
Montgomery Clift
Edward Montgomery Clift was an American film and stage actor. The New York Times’ obituary noted his portrayal of "moody, sensitive young men"....

; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (film)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a 1958 American drama film directed by Richard Brooks. It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Tennessee Williams adapted by Richard Brooks and James Poe...

 (1958) opposite Paul Newman
Paul Newman
Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

; Suddenly, Last Summer
Suddenly, Last Summer (film)
Suddenly, Last Summer is a 1959 American Southern Gothic mystery film based on the play of the same title by Tennessee Williams. The film was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by Sam Spiegel from a screenplay by Gore Vidal and Williams. The music score was by Buxton Orr using themes by...

 (1959) with Montgomery Clift, Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Houghton Hepburn was an American actress of film, stage, and television. In a career that spanned 62 years as a leading lady, she was best known for playing strong-willed, sophisticated women in both dramas and comedies...

 and Mercedes McCambridge
Mercedes McCambridge
Carlotta Mercedes McCambridge was an American actress. Orson Welles called her "the world's greatest living radio actress."-Early life:...

; and finally winning for BUtterfield 8
BUtterfield 8
BUtterfield 8 is a 1960 Metrocolor drama film directed by Daniel Mann, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey. Taylor, then 28 years old, won an Academy Award for her performance...

 (1960). The film co-starred then husband Eddie Fisher
Eddie Fisher (singer)
Edwin Jack "Eddie" Fisher , was an American entertainer. He was one of the world's most famous and successful singers in the 1950s, selling millions of records and hosting his own TV show. His divorce from his first wife, Debbie Reynolds, to marry his best friend's widow, Elizabeth Taylor, garnered...

and ended her contract, which Taylor said had made her an "MGM chattel" for 18 years.

Suddenly, Last Summers success made Taylor among the top ten most successful actors at the box office, and she remained in the top ten almost every year for the next decade. In 1960, Taylor became the highest paid actress up to that time when she signed a $1 million dollar contract to play the title role in 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

's lavish production of Cleopatra
Cleopatra (1963 film)
Cleopatra is a 1963 British-American-Swiss epic drama film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The screenplay was adapted by Sidney Buchman, Ben Hecht, Ranald MacDougall, and Mankiewicz from a book by Carlo Maria Franzero. The film starred Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Roddy...

, which was released in 1963. During the filming, she began a romance with her future husband Richard Burton
Richard Burton
Richard Burton, CBE was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role , and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid...

, who played Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

 in the film. The romance received much attention from the tabloid press, as both were married to other spouses at the time. Taylor ultimately received $7 million for her role.

Her second Academy Award, also for Best Actress in a Leading Role, was for her performance as Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (film)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a 1966 American drama film directed by Mike Nichols. The screenplay by Ernest Lehman is an adaptation of the play of the same title by Edward Albee...

 (1966), playing opposite then husband Richard Burton. Taylor and Burton would appear together in six other films during the decade, among them The V.I.P.s
The V.I.P.s
The V.I.P.s, also known as Hotel International, is a 1963 British drama film. It was directed by Anthony Asquith, produced by Anatole de Grunwald and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer...

 (1963), The Sandpiper
The Sandpiper
The Sandpiper is a 1965 film starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, directed by Vincente Minnelli.-Plot:Laura Reynolds is a free-spirited, unwed single mother living with her young son Danny in an isolated California beach house...

 (1965), and The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew (1967 film)
The Taming of the Shrew is a 1967 film based on the play of the same name by William Shakespeare about a courtship between two strong-willed people...

 (1967). By 1967 their films had earned $200 million at the box office. When Taylor and Burton considered not working for three months, the possibility caused alarm in Hollywood as "nearly half of the U.S. film industry's income" came from movies starring one or both of them. Their next films Doctor Faustus (1967), The Comedians (1967) and Boom!
Boom! (1968 film)
Boom! is a 1968 British drama film starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Noël Coward. It was directed by Joseph Losey and adapted from Tennessee Williams' play The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore.-Plot:...

 (1968), however, all failed at the box office.

Taylor appeared in John Huston
John Huston
John Marcellus Huston was an American film director, screenwriter and actor. He wrote most of the 37 feature films he directed, many of which are today considered classics: The Maltese Falcon , The Treasure of the Sierra Madre , Key Largo , The Asphalt Jungle , The African Queen , Moulin Rouge...

's Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) opposite Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

 (replacing Clift, who died before production began) and Secret Ceremony
Secret Ceremony
Secret Ceremony is a 1968 film, produced in Britain and released by Universal Pictures. It stars Elizabeth Taylor, Mia Farrow, Robert Mitchum, Pamela Brown, and Peggy Ashcroft. Joseph Losey directed, from a script by George Tabori.-Plot:...

 (1968) opposite Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow is an American actress, singer, humanitarian, and fashion model.Farrow first gained wide acclaim for her role as Allison Mackenzie in the soap opera Peyton Place, and for her subsequent short-lived marriage to Frank Sinatra...

. By the end of the decade her box-office drawing power had considerably diminished, as evidenced by the failure of The Only Game in Town
The Only Game in Town (film)
The Only Game in Town is a 1970 American drama film, the last directed by George Stevens. It stars Elizabeth Taylor and Warren Beatty.The screenplay by Frank D...

 (1970), with Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty born March 30, 1937) is an American actor, producer, screenwriter and director. He has received a total of fourteen Academy Award nominations, winning one for Best Director in 1982. He has also won four Golden Globe Awards including the Cecil B. DeMille Award.-Early life and...

.

Although limited by a "thin and inflexible voice", Taylor continued to star in numerous theatrical films throughout the 1970s, such as Zee and Co. (1972) with Michael Caine
Michael Caine
Sir Michael Caine, CBE is an English actor. He won Academy Awards for best supporting actor in both Hannah and Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules ....

, Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday, in the calendar of Western Christianity, is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days before Easter. It is a moveable fast, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter...

 (1973), The Blue Bird
The Blue Bird (film)
Maurice Maeterlinck's 1908 play The Blue Bird has been adapted numerous times for film and television:*The Blue Bird , a silent film starring Pauline Gilmer and Olive Walter...

 (1976) with Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru. She rose to fame in the 1960s with films such as Barbarella and Cat Ballou. She has won two Academy Awards and received several other movie awards and nominations during more than 50 years as an...

 and Ava Gardner, and A Little Night Music
A Little Night Music
A Little Night Music is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler. Inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night, it involves the romantic lives of several couples. Its title is a literal English translation of the German name for Mozart's Serenade...

 (1977). With then-husband Richard Burton, she co-starred in the 1972 films Under Milk Wood
Under Milk Wood
Under Milk Wood is a 1954 radio drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, adapted later as a stage play. A movie version, Under Milk Wood directed by Andrew Sinclair, was released during 1972....

 and Hammersmith Is Out
Hammersmith Is Out
Hammersmith Is Out is a 1972 comedy film based on the legend of Faust. It is directed by Peter Ustinov, who starred in the film alongside Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Beau Bridges, Leon Ames, and George Raft.-Plot:...

, and the 1973 made-for-TV movie Divorce His, Divorce Hers
Divorce His, Divorce Hers
Divorce His, Divorce Hers is a 1973 film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The film examines the conflicted emotions felt by a couple whose 18-year marriage has frayed beyond repair. The first half of the film details the story from the husband's view, and the second half takes the...

.

1980–2003



Taylor starred in the 1980 mystery film The Mirror Crack'd
The Mirror Crack'd
The Mirror Crack'd is a 1980 film British mystery film based on Agatha Christie's Miss Marple novel The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side...

, based on an Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie
Dame Agatha Christie DBE was a British crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections , and her successful West End plays.According to...

 novel. In 1985, she played movie gossip columnist Louella Parsons
Louella Parsons
Louella Parsons was the first American news-writer movie columnist in the United States. She was a gossip columnist who, for many years, was an influential arbiter of Hollywood mores, often feared and hated by the individuals, mostly actors, whose careers she could negatively impact via her...

 in the TV film Malice in Wonderland opposite Jane Alexander
Jane Alexander
Jane Alexander is an American actress, author, and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts. Although perhaps best known for playing the female lead in The Great White Hope on both stage and screen, Alexander has played a wide array of roles in both theater and film and has committed...

, who played Hedda Hopper
Hedda Hopper
Hedda Hopper was an American actress and gossip columnist, whose long-running feud with friend turned arch-rival Louella Parsons became at least as notorious as many of Hopper's columns.-Early life:...

. Taylor appeared in the miniseries North and South
North and South (TV miniseries)
North and South is the title of three American television miniseries broadcast on the ABC network in 1985, 1986, and 1994. Set before, during, and immediately after the American Civil War, they are based on the 1980s trilogy of novels North and South by John Jakes. The 1985 first installment, North...

. Her last theatrical film was 1994's The Flintstones
The Flintstones (film)
The Flintstones is a 1994 American live-action comedy film based on the Hanna-Barbera cartoon television series of the same name about a Stone-Age man, his family and his best friend. The film was directed by Brian Levant, written by Tom S. Parker, Jim Jennewein and Steven E...

.

In February 1996, she appeared on the TV program, The Nanny
The Nanny
Nanny may refer to:* Nanny, a child's caregiver* A grandmother * A Cajun word for godmother * A female goat* Nanny , a 1981–83 British drama series starring Wendy Craig* Nanny of the Maroons...

 as herself, and the star of the show, Fran
Fran Drescher
Francine Joy "Fran" Drescher is an American film and television actress, comedian, screenwriter, director, producer, author, singer, talk show host, political lobbyist and health activist...

, identifies her to a friend by using all of her husbands' names, stating that she would be meeting "Elizabeth Taylor-Hilton-Wilding-Todd-Fisher-Burton-Burton-Warner-Fortensky." In 2001, she played an agent in the TV film These Old Broads
These Old Broads
These Old Broads is a 2001 television film written by Carrie Fisher and starring her mother Debbie Reynolds, as well as Shirley MacLaine, Joan Collins, and Elizabeth Taylor in her final film role...

. She appeared on a number of television series, including the soap operas General Hospital
General Hospital
General Hospital is an American daytime television drama that is credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running American soap opera currently in production and the third longest running drama in television in American history after Guiding Light and As the World Turns....

 and All My Children
All My Children
All My Children is an American television soap opera that aired on ABC from January 5, 1970 to September 23, 2011. Created by Agnes Nixon, All My Children is set in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, a fictitious suburb of Philadelphia. The show features Susan Lucci as Erica Kane, one of daytime's most...

, as well as the animated series The Simpsons
The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

—once as herself, and once as the voice of Maggie Simpson
Maggie Simpson
Margaret "Maggie" Simpson is a fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons. She first appeared on television in the Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Maggie was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James...

, uttering one word, "Daddy".

Taylor also acted on the stage, making her Broadway and West End debuts in 1982 with a revival of Lillian Hellman
Lillian Hellman
Lillian Florence "Lily" Hellman was an American playwright, linked throughout her life with many left-wing causes...

's The Little Foxes
The Little Foxes
The Little Foxes is a 1939 play by Lillian Hellman. Its title comes from Chapter 2, Verse 15 in the Song of Solomon in the King James version of the Bible, which reads, "Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes." Set in a small town in Alabama in...

. She was then in a production of Noël Coward
Noël Coward
Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".Born in Teddington, a suburb of London, Coward attended a dance academy...

's Private Lives
Private Lives
Private Lives is a 1930 comedy of manners in three acts by Noël Coward. It focuses on a divorced couple who discover that they are honeymooning with their new spouses in neighbouring rooms at the same hotel. Despite a perpetually stormy relationship, they realise that they still have feelings for...

 (1983), in which she starred with her former husband, Richard Burton. The student-run Burton Taylor Theatre
Burton Taylor Theatre
The Burton Taylor Studio is a 50-seater studio theatre owned by Oxford University. It is situated on Gloucester Street off Beaumont Street in Oxford, United Kingdom close to the Oxford Playhouse, a larger professional theatre, which manages the Burton Taylor Studio on behalf of the University...

 in Oxford was named for the famous couple after Burton appeared as Doctor Faustus in the Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS) production of the Marlowe play. Taylor played the ghostly, wordless Helen of Troy, who is entreated by Faustus to "make [him] immortal with a kiss".

In the early 1980s, Taylor moved to Bel Air, Los Angeles, which was her residence until her death. She also owned homes in Palm Springs, London and Hawaii.

2003–11


In March 2003, Taylor declined to attend the 75th Annual Academy Awards, due to her opposition to the Iraq War. She publicly condemned then President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 for calling on Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 to leave Iraq, and said she feared the conflict would lead to "World War III
World War III
World War III denotes a successor to World War II that would be on a global scale, with common speculation that it would be likely nuclear and devastating in nature....

".

The February 2007 issue of Interview
Interview (magazine)
Interview is an American magazine which has the nickname The Crystal Ball Of Pop. It was founded in late 1969 by artist Andy Warhol. The magazine features intimate conversations between some of the world's biggest celebrities, artists, musicians, and creative thinkers...

 magazine was devoted entirely to Taylor. It celebrated her life, career and her upcoming 75th birthday.

On December 1, 2007, Taylor acted on-stage again, appearing opposite James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones is an American actor. He is well-known for his distinctive bass voice and for his portrayal of characters of substance, gravitas and leadership...

 in a benefit performance of the A. R. Gurney
A. R. Gurney
A. R. Gurney is an American playwright and novelist. He is known for works including Love Letters, The Cocktail Hour, and The Dining Room. Gurney currently lives in both New York and Connecticut....

 play Love Letters
Love Letters (play)
Love Letters is a Pulitzer Prize for Drama nominated play by A. R. Gurney. The play centers on just two characters, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III...

. The event's goal was to raise $1 million for Taylor's AIDS foundation. Tickets for the show were priced at $2,500, and more than 500 people attended. The event happened to coincide with the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike and, rather than cross the picket line, Taylor requested a "one night dispensation." The Writers Guild agreed not to picket the Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

 lot that night to allow for the performance.

Marriages, romances, and children


Taylor was married eight times to seven husbands. When asked why she married so often, she replied, "I don't know, honey. It sure beats the hell out of me," but also said that, "I was taught by my parents that if you fall in love, if you want to have a love affair, you get married. I guess I'm very old-fashioned." Taylor's husbands were:
  • Conrad "Nicky" Hilton
    Conrad Hilton, Jr.
    Conrad Nicholson "Nicky" Hilton, Jr. was an American socialite, hotel heir, businessman, and TWA director. He was one of the sons of Conrad Hilton .-Early life:...

     (May 6, 1950 – January 29, 1951): Taylor believed that she was in love with the young hotel heir, but also wanted to escape her mother. MGM staff designed Taylor's wedding dress and honeymoon outfits. Hilton's "gambling, drinking, and abusive behavior", however, horrified her and her parents, caused a miscarriage, and ended the marriage in divorce after nine months.
  • Michael Wilding
    Michael Wilding (actor)
    -Early life:Born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England, Wilding was a successful commercial artist when he joined the art department of a London film studio in 1933. He soon embarked on an acting career.-Career:...

     (February 21, 1952 – January 26, 1957): The "gentle" Wilding, 20 years older than Taylor, comforted her after leaving Hilton. After their divorce Taylor admitted that "I gave him rather a rough time, sort of henpecked him and probably wasn't mature enough for him."
  • Michael Todd
    Mike Todd
    Michael Todd was an American theatre and film producer, best known for his 1956 production of Around the World in Eighty Days, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture...

     (February 2, 1957 – March 22, 1958): Todd's death ended Taylor's only marriage not to result in divorce. Although their relationship was tumultuous, she later called him one of the three loves of her life, along with Burton and jewelry.
  • Eddie Fisher
    Eddie Fisher (singer)
    Edwin Jack "Eddie" Fisher , was an American entertainer. He was one of the world's most famous and successful singers in the 1950s, selling millions of records and hosting his own TV show. His divorce from his first wife, Debbie Reynolds, to marry his best friend's widow, Elizabeth Taylor, garnered...

     (May 12, 1959 – March 6, 1964): Fisher, Todd's best friend, consoled Taylor after Todd's death. They began an affair while Fisher was still married to Debbie Reynolds
    Debbie Reynolds
    Debbie Reynolds is an American actress, singer, and dancer.She was initially signed at age 16 by Warner Bros., but her career got off to a slow start. When her contract was not renewed, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer gave her a small, but significant part in the film Three Little Words , then signed her to...

    , causing a scandal; Taylor outraged columnist Hopper by telling her, "Well, Mike is dead and I'm alive...What do you expect me to do? Sleep alone?" Reynolds eventually forgave Taylor; she voted for her when Taylor was nominated for an Oscar for BUtterfield 8, and starred with her in These Old Broads.
  • Richard Burton
    Richard Burton
    Richard Burton, CBE was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role , and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid...

     (March 15, 1964 – June 26, 1974): The Vatican
    Holy See
    The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

     condemned Burton and Taylor's affair, which began when both were married to others, as "erotic vagrancy". The press closely followed their relationship before, during, and after their ten years of marriage, due to great public interest in "the most famous film star in the world and the man many believed to be the finest classical actor of his generation." Taylor wanted to focus on her marriage rather than her career, and gained weight in an unsuccessful attempt to not receive film roles.
  • Richard Burton (October 10, 1975 – July 29, 1976): Sixteen months after divorcing—Burton said, "You can't keep clapping a couple of sticks [of dynamite
    Dynamite
    Dynamite is an explosive material based on nitroglycerin, initially using diatomaceous earth , or another absorbent substance such as powdered shells, clay, sawdust, or wood pulp. Dynamites using organic materials such as sawdust are less stable and such use has been generally discontinued...

    ] together without expecting them to blow up"—they remarried in a private ceremony in Kasane
    Kasane
    Kasane is a town in Botswana, close to Africa's 'Four Corners', where four countries almost meet: Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is at the far north-eastern corner of Botswana where it serves as the administrative center of the Chobe District...

    , Botswana, but soon separated and redivorced in 1976. Burton disagreed with others about her famed beauty, acknowledging her "wonderful eyes" but saying that calling her "the most beautiful woman in the world is absolute nonsense. She has...a double chin and an overdeveloped chest, and she's rather short in the leg." He stated, however, that when he first saw Taylor in 1952, "She was unquestionably gorgeous. I can think of no other word to describe a combination of plentitude, frugality, abundance, tightness. She was lavish. She was a dark unyielding largesse. She was, in short, too bloody much."
  • John Warner
    John Warner
    John William Warner, KBE is an American Republican politician who served as Secretary of the Navy from 1972 to 1974 and as a five-term United States Senator from Virginia from January 2, 1979, to January 3, 2009...

     (December 4, 1976 – November 7, 1982): As with Burton, Taylor sought to be known as the wife of her husband, a Republican
    Republican Party (United States)
    The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

     United States Senator from Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

    . Unhappy with her life in Washington, however, Taylor became depressed and entered the Betty Ford Clinic.
  • Larry Fortensky
    Larry Fortensky
    Larry Fortensky is a construction worker best known as the eighth and last husband of actress Elizabeth Taylor.Fortensky and Taylor were married on October 6, 1991, at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch and divorced on October 31, 1996....

     (October 6, 1991 – October 31, 1996): Taylor and Fortensky met during another stay at the Betty Ford Clinic and were married at the Neverland Ranch
    Neverland Ranch
    Neverland Valley Ranch is a developed property in Santa Barbara County, California, most famous for being a home of American entertainer Michael Jackson from 1988 to 2005. Jackson named the property after Neverland, the fantasy island in the story of Peter Pan, a boy who never grows up...

    .


Taylor had many romances outside her marriages. Before marrying Hilton she was engaged to both Heisman Trophy
Heisman Trophy
The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award , is awarded annually to the player deemed the most outstanding player in collegiate football. It was created in 1935 as the Downtown Athletic Club trophy and renamed in 1936 following the death of the Club's athletic director, John Heisman The Heisman Memorial...

 winner Glenn Davis—who did not know until the relationship ended that Taylor's mother had encouraged it to build publicity for her daughter—and the son of William D. Pawley
William D. Pawley
William D. Pawley was a U.S. ambassador, a noted businessman and associated with the Flying Tigers American Volunteer Group during World War II.-Early life:...

, the United States Ambassador to Brazil
United States Ambassador to Brazil
The following is a list of Ambassadors of the United States, or other chiefs of mission, to Brazil. The title given by the United States State Department to this position is currently Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary.-See also:...

. Howard Hughes
Howard Hughes
Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. was an American business magnate, investor, aviator, engineer, film producer, director, and philanthropist. He was one of the wealthiest people in the world...

 promised Taylor's parents that if they would encourage her to marry him, the enormously wealthy industrialist and film producer would finance a movie studio for her; Sara Taylor agreed, but Taylor refused. After she left Hilton Hughes returned, proposing to Taylor by suddenly landing a helicopter nearby and sprinkling diamonds on her. Other dates included Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

, Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

, and Malcolm Forbes
Malcolm Forbes
Malcolm Stevenson Forbes was publisher of Forbes magazine, founded by his father B. C. Forbes and today run by his son Steve Forbes.-Life and career:...

. In 2007, Taylor denied rumors of a ninth marriage to her partner Jason Winters, but referred to him as "one of the most wonderful men I've ever known."

Taylor had two sons, Michael Howard (born January 6, 1953) and Christopher Edward (born February 27, 1955), with Michael Wilding. She had a daughter, Elizabeth Frances "Liza" (born August 6, 1957), with Michael Todd. During her marriage to Eddie Fisher, Taylor started proceedings to adopt a two-year-old girl from Germany, Maria (born August 1, 1961); the adoption process was finalized in 1964 following their divorce. Richard Burton later adopted Taylor's daughters Liza and Maria.

In 1971, Taylor became a grandmother at the age of 39. At the time of her death, she was survived by her four children, ten grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Religion and identity


In 1959, at age 27, after nine months of study, Taylor converted from Christian Science
Christian Science
Christian Science is a system of thought and practice derived from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy and the Bible. It is practiced by members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist as well as some others who are nonmembers. Its central texts are the Bible and the Christian Science textbook,...

 to Judaism, taking the Hebrew name Elisheba Rachel. She stated that her conversion was something she had long considered and was not related to her marriages. After Mike Todd
Mike Todd
Michael Todd was an American theatre and film producer, best known for his 1956 production of Around the World in Eighty Days, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture...

's death, Taylor said that she "felt a desperate need for a formalized religion," and explained that neither Catholicism nor Christian Science were able to address many of the "questions she had about life and death."

Biographer Randy Taraborrelli notes that after studying the philosophy of Judaism for nine months, "she felt an immediate connection to the faith." Although Taylor rarely attended synagogue, she stated, "I'm one of those people who think you can be close to God anywhere, not just in a place designed for worship . . . " At the conversion ceremony, with her parents present as witnesses and in full support of her decision, Taylor repeated the words of Ruth
Ruth (biblical figure)
Ruth , is the main character in the Book of Ruth in the Hebrew Bible.-Biblical narrative:Ruth was a Moabitess, who married Mahlon, the son of Elimelech and Naomi, but Elimelech and his two sons died...

:
. . . for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people and thy God my God.


Taylor was a follower of Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 and a member of the Kabbalah Centre
Kabbalah Centre
The Kabbalah Centre is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, that provides courses online and through its local centres and study groups. The Kabbalah Centre teaches principles of Kabbalah...

.

During an interview when she was 55, she describes how her inner sense of identity, when a child actress, kept her from giving in to many of the studio's demands, especially with regard to altering her appearance to fit in:
She adds that she began to recognize her "inner being" during her adulthood:

Jewelry, perfume and fashion



Taylor had a passion for jewelry, stating that "You can't cry on a diamond's shoulder, and diamonds won't keep you warm at night, but they're sure fun when the sun shines". At her death, Taylor's jewelry collection was reportedly worth $150 million. She was a client of jewelry designer Shlomo Moussaieff
Shlomo Moussaieff (businessman)
Shlomo Moussaieff is an Israeli millionaire of Bukharian Jewish descent who has lived in London since the early 1960s. He is the son of Rehavia Moussaieff, and grandson of Shlomo Moussaieff of Bukhara. He made most of his fortune by selling precious jewelry to international royalty and high...

. Over the years she owned a number of well-known pieces, two of the most famous being the 33.19 carats (6.6 g) Krupp Diamond
Krupp Diamond
The Krupp Diamond is a stone, last sold at Sotheby's on May 16, 1968, for $305,000, to Welsh actor Richard Burton. Burton gave the stone to English-American actress Dame Elizabeth Taylor, his wife at that time.-Description:...

, which Taylor wore daily, and the 69.42 carats (13.9 g) pear-shaped Taylor-Burton Diamond
Taylor-Burton Diamond
The Taylor-Burton Diamond is a diamond made famous when purchased by actor Richard Burton for his wife Dame Elizabeth Taylor in 1969, receiving worldwide publicity for its size and value.-Description:...

; both were among many gifts from husband Richard Burton. Taylor also owned the 50 carats (10 g) La Peregrina Pearl
La Peregrina pearl
La Peregrina is one of the most famous pearls in the world. Its history spans almost 500 years, and it has passed from the African slave who found it at Pearl Islands in the Gulf of Panama, to European kings and queens. Most recently, the pearl belonged to Elizabeth Taylor.-Origin of name:La...

, purchased by Burton as a Valentine's Day present in 1969. The pearl was formerly owned by Mary I of England
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

, and Burton sought a portrait of Queen Mary wearing the pearl. Upon the purchase of such a painting, the Burtons discovered that the British National Portrait Gallery did not have an original painting of Mary, so they donated the painting to the Gallery. Her enduring collection of jewelry has been documented in her book My Love Affair with Jewelry (2002) with photographs by the New York photographer John Bigelow Taylor
John Bigelow Taylor
John Bigelow Taylor, based in New York City, is a photographer of works of art and, along with his partner, Dianne Dubler, is known for photographic essays on diverse subjects.-Career:...

.

At her death Taylor left an estate estimated at $600 million to $1 billion; beyond the $150 million in jewelry, she owned $130 million in real estate. Taylor was a pioneer in marketing a celebrity merchandise brand, and despite her years as an actress, most of Taylor's wealth came from her business ventures. She designed fine jewelry for The Elizabeth Collection, and launched three perfumes, "White Diamonds", "Passion", and "Passion for Men", which together had an estimated US$69 million in 2010 sales.

Taylor was a fashion icon during her years as an active film star. In addition to her own purchases, MGM costumers Edith Head
Edith Head
Edith Head was an American costume designer who won eight Academy Awards, more than any other woman.-Early life and career:...

 and Helen Rose
Helen Rose
Helen Rose was an American costume designer and clothing designer who spent the bulk of her career with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer-Career:...

 helped Taylor choose clothes that emphasized her face, chest, and waist. Taylor helped popularize Valentino and Halston
Halston
Roy Halston Frowick, also known as Halston was a clothing designer of the 1970s. His long dresses or copies of his style were popular fashion wear in mid-1970s discotheques.-Early life and career:...

's designs, and in the 1980s Schering-Plough
Schering-Plough
Schering-Plough Corporation was a United States-based pharmaceutical company. It was founded in 1851 by Ernst Christian Friedrich Schering as Schering AG in Germany. In 1971, the Schering Corporation merged with Plough to form Schering-Plough. On November 4, 2009 Merck & Co...

 developed violet contact lens
Contact lens
A contact lens, or simply contact, is a lens placed on the eye. They are considered medical devices and can be worn to correct vision, for cosmetic or therapeutic reasons. In 2004, it was estimated that 125 million people use contact lenses worldwide, including 28 to 38 million in the United...

es, citing Taylor's eyes as inspiration.

HIV/AIDS


Taylor devoted consistent and generous humanitarian time, advocacy efforts, and funding to HIV and AIDS-related projects and charities, helping to raise more than $270 million for the cause. She was one of the first celebrities and public personalities to do so at a time when few acknowledged the disease, organizing and hosting the first AIDS fundraiser in 1984, to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles
AIDS Project Los Angeles
AIDS Project Los Angeles is a 5013 non-profit organization, "dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by AIDS disease, reducing the incidence of HIV infection, and advocating for fair and effective HIV-related public policy."...

.

Taylor was cofounder of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR
AmfAR
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy.-History:...

) with Dr. Michael Gottlieb
Michael S. Gottlieb
Michael Stuart Gottlieb is an American physician and immunologist known predominantly for his research in the identification of acquired immune deficiency syndrome and for clinical and philanthropic work associated with AIDS treatment....

 and Dr. Mathilde Krim
Mathilde Krim
Mathilde Krim, Ph.D. is the founding chairman of amfAR, an association for AIDS research.-Biography:Krim received her Ph.D. from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, in 1953...

 in 1985. Her longtime friend and former co-star Rock Hudson
Rock Hudson
Roy Harold Scherer, Jr., later Roy Harold Fitzgerald , known professionally as Rock Hudson, was an American film and television actor, recognized as a romantic leading man during the 1950s and 1960s, most notably in several romantic comedies with Doris Day.Hudson was voted "Star of the Year",...

 had disclosed having AIDS and died of it that year. She also founded the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) in 1993, created to provide critically needed support services for people with HIV/AIDS. For example, in 2006 Taylor commissioned a 37 feet (11.3 m) "Care Van" equipped with examination tables and xray equipment, the New Orleans donation made by her Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and Macy's
Macy's
Macy's is a U.S. chain of mid-to-high range department stores. In addition to its flagship Herald Square location in New York City, the company operates over 800 stores in the United States...

. That year, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

, she also donated US$40,000 to the NO/AIDS Task Force, a non-profit organization serving the community of those affected by HIV/AIDS in and around New Orleans.

Taylor was honored with a special Academy Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, in 1992 for her HIV/AIDS humanitarian work. Speaking of that work, former President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 said at her death, "Elizabeth's legacy will live on in many people around the world whose lives will be longer and better because of her work and the ongoing efforts of those she inspired."

Jewish causes


After her conversion to Judaism
Conversion to Judaism
Conversion to Judaism is a formal act undertaken by a non-Jewish person who wishes to be recognised as a full member of the Jewish community. A Jewish conversion is both a religious act and an expression of association with the Jewish people...

, Taylor worked for Jewish causes throughout her life.
In 1959, her large-scale purchase of Israeli Bonds
State of Israel Bonds
State of Israel Bonds are debt securities issued by the Government of Israel.State of Israel Bonds is also the more familiar name of the underwriter of the bonds in the United States. The company is officially known as Development Corporation for Israel...

 caused Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 boycotts of her films. In 1962, she was barred from entering Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 to complete Cleopatra; its government announced that "that Miss Taylor will not be allowed to come to Egypt because she has adopted the Jewish faith and 'supports Israeli causes.'" In 1974, Taylor and Richard Burton considered marrying in Israel, but could not because Burton was not Jewish. Taylor helped to raise money for organizations such as the Jewish National Fund
Jewish National Fund
The Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in Ottoman Palestine for Jewish settlement. The JNF is a quasi-governmental, non-profit organisation...

; advocated for the right of Soviet Jews to emigate to Israel
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

 and canceled a visit to the USSR because of its condemnation of Israel due to the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

; signed a letter protesting the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 of 1975; and offered herself as a replacement hostage during the 1976 Entebbe skyjacking
Operation Entebbe
Operation Entebbe was a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by the Special Forces of the Israel Defense Forces at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976. A week earlier, on 27 June, an Air France plane with 248 passengers was hijacked by Palestinian and German terrorists and...

.

Illnesses and death


Taylor struggled with health problems much of her life; starting with her divorce from Hilton, Taylor experienced serious medical issues whenever she faced problems in her personal life. Taylor was hospitalized more than 70 times and had at least 20 major operations. Many times newspaper headlines erroneously announced that Taylor was close to death; she herself only claimed to have almost died on four occasions.

At 5'4", Taylor constantly gained and lost significant amounts of weight
Yo-yo dieting
Yo-yo dieting or Yo-yo effect, also known as weight cycling The term "yo-yo dieting" was coined by Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D., at Yale University, in reference to the cyclical up-down motion of a yo-yo. In this process, the dieter is initially successful in the pursuit of weight loss but is...

, reaching both 119 pounds and 180 pounds in the 1980s. She smoked cigarettes into her mid-fifties, and feared she had lung cancer in October 1975 after an X-ray
X-ray
X-radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. X-rays have a wavelength in the range of 0.01 to 10 nanometers, corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz and energies in the range 120 eV to 120 keV. They are shorter in wavelength than UV rays and longer than gamma...

 showed spots on her lungs, but was later found not to have the disease. Taylor broke her back five times, had both her hips replaced
Hip replacement
Hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the hip joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant. Hip replacement surgery can be performed as a total replacement or a hemi replacement. Such joint replacement orthopaedic surgery generally is conducted to relieve arthritis pain or fix severe...

, had a hysterectomy
Hysterectomy
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus, usually performed by a gynecologist. Hysterectomy may be total or partial...

, suffered from dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

 and phlebitis
Phlebitis
Phlebitis is an inflammation of a vein, usually in the legs.When phlebitis is associated with the formation of blood clots , usually in the deep veins of the legs, the condition is called thrombophlebitis...

, punctured her esophagus
Esophagus
The esophagus is an organ in vertebrates which consists of a muscular tube through which food passes from the pharynx to the stomach. During swallowing, food passes from the mouth through the pharynx into the esophagus and travels via peristalsis to the stomach...

, survived a benign brain tumor
Brain tumor
A brain tumor is an intracranial solid neoplasm, a tumor within the brain or the central spinal canal.Brain tumors include all tumors inside the cranium or in the central spinal canal...

 operation in 1997 and skin cancer
Skin cancer
Skin neoplasms are skin growths with differing causes and varying degrees of malignancy. The three most common malignant skin cancers are basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, and melanoma, each of which is named after the type of skin cell from which it arises...

, and faced life-threatening bouts with pneumonia twice, one in 1961 requiring an emergency tracheotomy
Tracheotomy
Among the oldest described surgical procedures, tracheotomy consists of making an incision on the anterior aspect of the neck and opening a direct airway through an incision in the trachea...

. In 1983 she admitted to having been addicted to sleeping pills
Hypnotic
Hypnotic drugs are a class of psychoactives whose primary function is to induce sleep and to be used in the treatment of insomnia and in surgical anesthesia...

 and painkillers for 35 years. Taylor was treated for alcoholism and prescription drug addiction at the Betty Ford Clinic for seven weeks from December 1983 to January 1984, and again from the autumn of 1988 until early 1989.

On May 30, 2006, Taylor appeared on Larry King Live
Larry King Live
Larry King Live is an American talk show hosted by Larry King on CNN from 1985 to 2010. It was CNN's most watched and longest-running program, with over one million viewers nightly....

 to refute the claims that she had been ill, and denied the allegations that she was suffering from Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

 and was close to death. Near the end of her life, however, she was reclusive and sometimes failed to make scheduled appearances due to illness or other personal reasons. She used a wheelchair and when asked about it stated that she had osteoporosis
Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease of bones that leads to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis the bone mineral density is reduced, bone microarchitecture is deteriorating, and the amount and variety of proteins in bone is altered...

 and was born with scoliosis
Scoliosis
Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side. Although it is a complex three-dimensional deformity, on an X-ray, viewed from the rear, the spine of an individual with scoliosis may look more like an "S" or a "C" than a straight line...

.

The mutation that gave Taylor her striking double eyelashes may also have contributed to her history of heart trouble. In November 2004, Taylor announced a diagnosis of congestive heart failure, a progressive condition in which the heart is too weak to pump sufficient blood throughout the body, particularly to the lower extremities such as the ankles and feet. In 2009 she underwent cardiac surgery
Cardiac surgery
Cardiovascular surgery is surgery on the heart or great vessels performed by cardiac surgeons. Frequently, it is done to treat complications of ischemic heart disease , correct congenital heart disease, or treat valvular heart disease from various causes including endocarditis, rheumatic heart...

 to replace a leaky valve
Heart valve
A heart valve normally allows blood flow in only one direction through the heart. The four valves commonly represented in a mammalian heart determine the pathway of blood flow through the heart...

. In February 2011, new symptoms related to heart failure caused her to be admitted into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Originally established as Kaspare Cohn Hospital in 1902, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is a non-profit, tertiary 958-bed hospital and multi-specialty academic health science centre located in Los Angeles, California, US. Part of the Cedars-Sinai Health System, the hospital employs a staff of over...

 in Los Angeles for treatment, where she remained until her death at age 79 on March 23, 2011, surrounded by her four children.

She was buried in a private Jewish ceremony
Bereavement in Judaism
Bereavement in Judaism is a combination of minhag and mitzvah derived from Judaism's classical Torah and rabbinic texts...

, presided over by Rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

 Jerry Cutler, the day after she died, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale
Forest Lawn Memorial Park is a privately owned cemetery in Glendale, California. It is the original location of Forest Lawn, a chain of cemeteries in Southern California. The land was formerly part of Providencia Ranch.-History:...

 in Glendale, California. Taylor is entombed in the Great Mausoleum, where public access to her tomb is restricted. At her request, the funeral began 15 minutes after it was scheduled to begin; as her representative told the media "She even wanted to be late for her own funeral."

Legacy


Taylor has been called the "greatest movie star of all," writes biographer William J. Mann. A child star at the age of 12, she soon after launched into public awareness by MGM and a string of successful films, many of which are today considered "classics." Her resulting celebrity made her into a Hollywood icon, as she set the "gold standard" for Hollywood fame, and "created the model for stardom," adds Mann.

Other observers, such as social critic Camille Paglia
Camille Paglia
Camille Anna Paglia , is an American author, teacher, and social critic. Paglia, a self-described dissident feminist, has been a Professor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania since 1984...

, similarly describe Taylor as "the greatest actress in film history," partly as a result of the "liquid realm of emotion" she expressed on screen. Paglia describes the effect Taylor had in some of her films:
Taylor had a major role in sparking the sexual revolution
Sexual revolution
The sexual revolution was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the Western world from the 1960s into the 1980s...

 of the 1960s, as she pushed the envelope on sexuality: She was one of the first major stars to pose (mostly) nude in Playboy, and among the first to remove her clothes onscreen. In A Place in the Sun, filmed when she was 17, her surprising maturity shocked Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper
Hedda Hopper
Hedda Hopper was an American actress and gossip columnist, whose long-running feud with friend turned arch-rival Louella Parsons became at least as notorious as many of Hopper's columns.-Early life:...

, who wrote of her precocious sexuality. Film historian Andrew Sarris
Andrew Sarris
Andrew Sarris is an American film critic and a leading proponent of the auteur theory of criticism.-Career:Sarris is generally credited with popularizing the auteur theory in the U.S...

 describes her love scenes in the film with Montgomery Clift
Montgomery Clift
Edward Montgomery Clift was an American film and stage actor. The New York Times’ obituary noted his portrayal of "moody, sensitive young men"....

 as "unnerving—sybaritic—like gorging on chocolate sundaes."

In real life, she was considered "a star without airs," notes Mann. Writer Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem
Gloria Marie Steinem is an American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist who became nationally recognized as a leader of, and media spokeswoman for, the women's liberation movement in the late 1960s and 1970s...

 likewise described her as a "movie queen with no ego . . . expert at what she does, uncatty in her work relationships with other actresses." Mike Nichols
Mike Nichols
Mike Nichols is a German-born American television, stage and film director, writer, producer and comedian. He began his career in the 1950s as one half of the comedy duo Nichols and May, along with Elaine May. In 1968 he won the Academy Award for Best Director for the film The Graduate...

, who directed her in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), said that of all the actors he’s worked with, Taylor had the "most democratic soul." Mann adds that she treated electricians and studio crew the "same way she would a Rothschild at a charity gala." Director George Cukor
George Cukor
George Dewey Cukor was an American film director. He mainly concentrated on comedies and literary adaptations. His career flourished at RKO and later MGM, where he directed What Price Hollywood? , A Bill of Divorcement , Dinner at Eight , Little Women , David Copperfield , Romeo and Juliet and...

 told Taylor that she possessed "that rarest of virtues—simple kindness."

Awards and honors


Taylor won two Academy Awards for Best Actress for her performance in BUtterfield 8 in 1960, and for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1966. Additionally, she received the Jean Herscholt Humanitarian Academy Award in 1992 for her work fighting AIDS.

In 1997, Taylor was honored by the Screen Actors Guild
Screen Actors Guild
The Screen Actors Guild is an American labor union representing over 200,000 film and television principal performers and background performers worldwide...

 (SAG) with the Life Achievement Award. As Taylor could not be in attendance, Gregory Peck
Gregory Peck
Eldred Gregory Peck was an American actor.One of 20th Century Fox's most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s, Peck continued to play important roles well into the 1980s. His notable performances include that of Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird, for which he won an...

 read the following statement on her behalf:
Taylor received the French Legion of Honour in 1987, and in 2000 was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 2001, she received a Presidential Citizens Medal
Presidential Citizens Medal
The Presidential Citizens Medal is the second highest civilian award in the United States, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is awarded by the President of the United States, and may be given posthumously....

 for her humanitarian work, most notably for helping to raise more than $200 million for AIDS research and bringing international attention and resources to addressing the epidemic. Taylor was inducted into the California Hall of Fame
California Hall of Fame
Conceived by First Lady Maria Shriver, the California Hall of Fame was established at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts to honor individuals and families who embody California’s innovative spirit and have made their mark on history...

 in 2007.

Books


Taylor was the subject of at least 53 books as of 2006; Kitty Kelley
Kitty Kelley
Kitty Kelley is an American journalist and author of several best-selling unauthorized biographies of celebrities and politicians. Her subjects have included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan, the British Royal Family, the Bush family, and Oprah Winfrey...

 wrote the first unauthorized biography of the actress in 1981, which Taylor denounced. She never wrote a comprehensive autobiography due to her desire for privacy, but did publish several books besides My Love Affair with Jewelry. Taylor's first, Nibbles and Me (1946), discussed the child star's "adventures with her pet chipmunk". Reviewers criticized another, Elizabeth Taylor (1964), for being uninteresting and lacking in new information. She received a $750,000 advance payment
Advance payment
An advance payment, or simply an advance, is the part of a contractually due sum that is paid in advance for goods or services, while the balance included in the invoice will only follow the delivery. It is called a prepaid expense in accrual accounting.-See also:*Advance against royalties*Pay or...

 for Elizabeth Takes Off: On Weight Gain, Weight Loss, Self-Image and Self-Esteem (1988).

External links