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Elizabeth Taylor

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Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, DBE (February 27, 1932 March 23, 2011) is an iconic two-time Academy Award-winning English actress. She was long considered one of the most beautiful women in the world and, arguably, the most beautiful actress of all time. Her trademark is her dazzling violet-blue eyes framed by a double row of eyelashes. The American Film Institute named Taylor among the Greatest Female Stars of All Time, ranking at No. 7.

Early life and career

She was born in Hampstead, London, the second child of Francis Lenn Taylor (December 28, 1897 November 20, 1968) and Sara Viola Warmbrodt (August 21, 1896 September 11, 1994), who were Americans residing in England. Her older brother is Howard Taylor (born in 1929).

Though sometimes referred to as "Liz," she is not fond of that name and prefers her given name to be pronounced Eee-lizabeth. Her first names are in honor of her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Taylor, who was born Elizabeth Mary Rosemond. Taylor was born with U.S. nationality, which she would relinquish after marrying Richard Burton, and take British nationality.

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Both of her American parents were originally from Arkansas City, Kansas. Her father was an art dealer and her mother a former actress whose stage name was Sara Sothern. Sara retired from the stage when she and Francis Taylor married in 1926 in New York.

At the age of 3, Elizabeth began taking ballet lessons. After the UK entered World War II, her parents decided to return to the United States to avoid hostilities. Her mother took the children first, while her father remained in London to wrap up matters in the art business. They settled in Los Angeles, California, where Sara's family, the Warmbrodts, were then living.

Taylor appeared in her first motion picture at the age of 9 for Universal. They let her contract drop, and she was signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Her first movie with that studio was Lassie Come Home (1943), which drew favorable attention. After a couple more movies, the second on loan-out to 20th Century Fox, she appeared in her first leading role and achieved child star status playing Velvet Brown, a young girl who trains a horse to win the Grand National in Clarence Brown's movie National Velvet (1944) with Mickey Rooney. National Velvet was a big hit, grossing over $4,000,000 at the box-office, and she was signed to a long-term contract.

She attended school on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot and received a diploma from University High School in Los Angeles on January 26, 1950, the same year she was first married at age 18.

Elizabeth Taylor with Bette Davis 1981


Elizabeth Taylor with Bette Davis 1981 at a Filmex "An Evening With Elizabeth Taylor" by Alan Light

Mature career and marriages

Elizabeth Taylor won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performances in BUtterfield 8 (1960), which co-starred then husband Eddie Fisher, and again for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), which co-starred then-husband Richard Burton and the Supporting Actress Oscar-winner, Sandy Dennis.

Taylor was nominated for Raintree County (1957) opposite Montgomery Clift, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) opposite Paul Newman, and Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) with Clift, Katharine Hepburn and Mercedes McCambridge.

In 1963, she became the highest paid movie star up until that time when she accepted $1,000,000 to play the title role in the lavish production of Cleopatra for 20th Century Fox. It was during the filming of that movie that she worked for the first time with future husband Richard Burton, who played Mark Antony. Movie magazines, the forerunners of today's tabloids, had a field day when Taylor and Burton began an affair during filming; both stars were married to other people at the time.

In a romantic entanglement that had tongues wagging on every continent, Taylor would trade in husband Eddie Fisher for Burton not long after Fisher had unceremoniously ditched wife Debbie Reynolds for Taylor. Years later, Burton would slyly refer to the whole mess as "la scandale". The episode cemented Taylor's reputation as a dark, hypnotic femme fatale (who was condemned by the Vatican), boosted Reynolds' career as a blonde, all-American sweetheart, and elevated Burton to the front ranks of film stars. Only Fisher did not really profit from the cascade of free publicity. She has been married eight times to seven husbands:

  • Hotel heir Conrad Hilton, Jr (May 6, 1950 - January 29, 1951) (divorced)
  • Michael Wilding (February 21, 1952 - January 26, 1957) (divorced)
  • Producer Mike Todd (February 2, 1957 - March 22, 1958) (widowed)
  • Eddie Fisher (May 12, 1959 - March 6, 1964) (divorced)
  • Richard Burton (March 15, 1964 - June 26, 1974) (divorced)
  • Richard Burton (2nd marriage) (October 10, 1975 - July 29, 1976) (divorced)
  • Senator John Warner (December 4, 1976 - November 7, 1982) (divorced)
  • Teamster construction-equipment operator Larry Fortensky (October 6, 1991 - October 31, 1996) (divorced)

Taylor and Wilding had two sons, Michael Howard Wilding (born January 6, 1953), and Christopher Edward Wilding (born February 27, 1955). She and Todd had one daughter, Elizabeth Frances Todd, called "Liza," (born August 6, 1957). And in 1964, she and Fisher started adoption proceedings for a daughter, whom Burton later adopted, Maria Burton (born August 1, 1961). During her marriage to Fisher, Taylor converted to Reform Judaism (having been born into the Christian Science religion.) She remains Jewish to this day, having referred to herself as such several times. In her book Elizabeth Takes Off, Taylor writes, "It [conversion to Judaism] had absolutely nothing to do with my past marriage to Mike [Todd] or my upcoming marriage to Eddie Fisher, both of whom were Jewish. It was something I had wanted to do for a long time" (see [1]).

She has also appeared a number of times on television, including the 1973 made-for-TV movie with then husband Richard Burton, titled Divorce His - Divorce Hers. In 1985, she played movie gossip columnist Louella Parsons in Malice in Wonderland opposite Jane Alexander, who played Hedda Hopper, and also appeared in the mini-series North and South. In 2001, she played an agent in These Old Broads. She has also appeared on a number of other TV shows, including the soap operas General Hospital and All My Children and the animated The Simpsons (once as herself, and once as the voice of Maggie).

Taylor has also acted on the stage, making her Broadway and West End debuts in 1982 with a revival of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes. She was then in a production of Noel Coward's Private Lives (1983), in which she starred with her former husband, Richard Burton.

Elizabeth Taylor
Born Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor
27 February 1932 (1932-02-27)
Hampstead, London, England
Other name(s) Liz Taylor
Occupation Actress
Years active 19422003
Spouse(s) Conrad Hilton Jr. (19501951)
Michael Wilding (19521957)
Mike Todd (19571958)
Eddie Fisher (19591964)
Richard Burton (19641974)
Richard Burton (19751976)
John Warner (19761982)
Larry Fortensky (19911996)

Other interests

Taylor has a passion for jewelry. Over the years she has owned a number of well known pieces, two of the most talked about being the 33.19 carat (6.638 g) Krupp Diamond and the 69.42 carat (13.884 g) pear-shaped Taylor-Burton Diamond, which were among many dazzling gifts from husband Richard Burton. Her enduring collection of jewelry has been eternalized with her book My Love Affair with Jewelry (2002).

In 2005, she partnered with Jack and Monty Abramov of Mirabelle Luxury Concepts in Los Angeles to introduce the House of Taylor Jewelry. In 2005, House of Taylor Jewelry formed a partnership with Kathy Ireland Worldwide, a design-and-marketing firm with more than $1 billion in annual sales. She has also launched three perfumes, "Passion," "White Diamonds," and "Black Pearls", that together earn an estimated $200,000,000 in annual sales. In the Fall of 2006, Dame Elizabeth Taylor will celebrate the 15th anniversary of her White Diamonds perfume, one of the top-10 best selling fragrances for more than the past decade.

Taylor has devoted much time and energy to AIDS-related charities and fundraising. She helped start the ([2]) American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) after the death of her former co-star and friend, Rock Hudson. She also created her own AIDS foundation, ETAF. By 1999, she had helped to raise an estimated $50,000,000 (USD) to fight the disease.

In the early 1980s she moved to Bel-Air, Los Angeles, California, which is her current home. The fenced and gated property is on tour maps sold at street corners and is frequently passed by tour guides.

In 1988, the U.S. Congress passed a bill, expressly for the purpose of blocking deportation of Taylor's son, Michael, who had renounced his American citizenship in 1971 for past possession of marijuana.

Awards and honours

Dame Elizabeth Taylor has won two Academy Awards for Best Actress. She won the first in 1961 for Butterfield 8 and the second in 1967 for Mike Nichols' drama Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Taylor received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1992 from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The following year, 1993, she received the AFI Life Achievement Award. And in 2002, she was a Kennedy Center Honoree.

In 1999, she was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. Though she was thrilled with this honor, Taylor cracked, "I've always been a broad, now I'm a dame."

In 2001, U.S. President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Citizens Medal in recognition of her commitment to philanthropy. It is the second-highest civilian honor in the United States, awarded to U.S. citizens "who have performed exemplary deeds or services" for their country or fellow citizens, despite the fact that Taylor had relinquished her U.S. citizenship and is only an LPR (lawful permanent resident) of the U.S.

Elizabeth Taylor's hand and foot prints are immortalized in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theater and she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6336 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

On November 10, 2005, Taylor received the Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence in International Entertainment.

Recent years

In November 2004, Taylor announced that she had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, a condition in which the heart pumps insufficient amounts of blood throughout the body. She has broken her back five times, has survived a benign brain tumor operation, skin cancer, and has faced life-threatening bouts with pneumonia twice. She is reclusive and sometimes fails to make scheduled appearances due to illness or other personal reasons. She is now confined to a wheelchair to get around.

In 2005 she was a vocal supporter of her best friend, Michael Jackson, in his trial in California on charges of sexually abusing a child. He was acquitted.

In recent years, Taylor has reportedly become closely attached to her pet dog, saying that she goes nowhere without her little Maltese named Sugar. In an interview with American magazine W, Taylor said she was happiest while with husbands Todd and Burton, but now has to be content with Sugar for company. She explains, "I've never loved a dog like this in my life. It's amazing. Sometimes I think there's a person in there. There's something to say for this kind of love - it's unconditional." In June 2005, Taylor's beloved dog Sugar died. However, several months later (in September) she purchased a descendant of Sugar which she named Daisy.

It was reported on April 27th, 2006 that Taylor was close to death. This was quickly refuted by Taylor's publicist, Dick Guttman. "Dick Guttman says that he can refute every allegation in these published reports. In fact, he says they didn't get anything right. Guttman says Taylor has a very busy life, with her successful perfume and jewelry lines and the work she does for the fight against AIDS." On May 30, 2006, she appeared on Larry King Live to refute the claims that she has been ill, and denied the allegations that she was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and was close to death.

In August 2006, Taylor went on a shark spotting expedition during a trip to Hawaii.


Taylor dealt with various health problems over the years. In 2004 it was announced that she was suffering from congestive heart failure, and in 2009 she underwent cardiac surgery to replace a leaky valve. In February 2011, new symptoms related to congestive heart failure caused her to be admitted into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for treatment.

Taylor died on March 23, 2011, surrounded by her four children at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 79.



There's One Born Every Minute (1942)

Lassie Come Home (1943)

Jane Eyre (1944)

The White Cliffs of Dover (1944)

National Velvet (1944)

Courage of Lassie (1946)

Life with Father (1947)

Cynthia (1947)

A Date with Judy (1948)

Julia Misbehaves (1948)

Little Women (1949)

Conspirator (1949)

The Big Hangover (1950)

Father of the Bride (1950)

Quo Vadis? (1951) (uncredited as Christian prisoner in arena)

Father's Little Dividend (1951)

A Place in the Sun (1951)

Callaway Went Thataway (1951) (Cameo)

Love Is Better Than Ever (1952)

Ivanhoe (1952)

The Girl Who Had Everything (1953)

Rhapsody (1954)

Elephant Walk (1954)

Beau Brummell (1954)

The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954)

Screen Snapshots: Hollywood, City of Stars (1956) (short subject)

Giant (1956)

Operation Raintree (1957) (short subject)

Raintree County (1957)

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

Premier Khrushchev in the USA (1959) (documentary)

Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

Scent of Mystery (1960) (Cameo)

BUtterfield 8 (1960)

Lykke og krone (1962) (documentary)

Cleopatra (1963)

The V.I.P.s (1963)

On the Trail of the Iguana (1964) (short subject)

The Big Sur (1965) (short subject)

The Sandpiper (1965)

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

The Comedians in Africa (1967) (short subject)

The Taming of the Shrew (1967)

Doctor Faustus (1967)

Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)

The Comedians (1967)

On Location: 'Where Eagles Dare' (1968) (short subject)

Boom (1968)

Around the World of Mike Todd (1968) (documentary)

Secret Ceremony (1968)

Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) (uncredited as courtesan)

The Only Game in Town (1970)

Zee and Co. (1972)

Under Milk Wood (1972)

Hammersmith Is Out (1972)

Night Watch (1973)

Ash Wednesday (1973)

Just One More Time (1974) (short subject)

The Driver's Seat (1974)

That's Entertainment! (1974) (narrator)

The Blue Bird (1976)

A Little Night Music (1977)

Winter Kills (1979)

The Mirror Crack'd (1980)

Genocide (1981) (documentary) (narrator)

Young Toscanini (1988)

The Flintstones (1995)

Get Bruce (1999) (documentary)

These Old Broads (2001)

Academy Award for Best Actress
for BUtterfield 8
Academy Award for Best Actress
for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


  • "Ailing Liz Taylor is 'close to death'". Retrieved April 27, 2006, since refuted by publicist
  • Diamond Bug. "Elizabeth Taylor's life-long love affair with Jewelry". Retrieved May 15, 2005.
  • "Liz takes centre stage". (Nov. 6, 2005). New Sunday Times, p. 29.
  • "Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Kors talk fashion". (August 2006) [Harper's Bazaar], , pg. 116.

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