Elizabeth Taylor was many things to many people. She was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend, a pinup, a humanitarian, an actress, and a legendary film star. To me, Elizabeth Taylor was the brightest of them all.
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born in London, England on February 27th, 1932. Her parents were Americans residing in England and she was the youngest, she had an older brother named Howard. Pictured above is Elizabeth as a baby with her mother Sara Sothern, who was also an actress. Who knew that Elizabeth was a legacy??!!! By the way, I will refer to her as Elizabeth because she couldn't stand being called "Liz"!
When Elizabeth was a child her family moved to Los Angeles, California. It was there that she began getting a tremendous amount of attention from family friends and even strangers. Those who took noticed of her beauty encouraged her mother to have her audition for the role of "Bonnie Blue", Scarlett's child from "Gone with the Wind". Her mother refused and their family moved back to England after the war.
Hedda Hopper introduced the Taylor's to someone who knew someone at Universal Pictures. Before you know it Elizabeth was in her first film, There's One Born Every Minute (1942), but that would be her only picture with Universal. Eventually she would go to MGM where she made her next film, Lassie (1943).
During Elizabeth's adolescents some of the films she starred in were National Velvet (1944), Life with Father (1947), and her final adolescent role was in Little Women (1949). As a teen Elizabeth wanted to quit acting and get a proper education and a normal childhood. Ironically her mother who never wanted Elizabeth to act pushed her forward and told her that she was ungrateful and said to her, "You have a responsibility, Elizabeth. Not just to this family, but to the country now, the whole world". Talk about pressure!
Elizabeth transitioned into adult roles easily and her first was in 1948 with the fabulous and ever-so-handsome Robert Taylor called Conspirator (she was only sixteen at the time). She then filmed Father of the Bride in 1950 and its sequel in 1951 called Father's Little Dividend both with Spencer Tracy. It was in the 1950's where her beauty truly blossomed-when she was in her twenties and Elizabeth became a Hollywood Star. With films like A Place in the Sun (1951), Elephant Walk (1954), Raintree County (1957), Cat on the Hot Tin Roof (1957), and Suddenly, Last Summer (1959).
By the end of the 1950's she was a HUGE star, a beauty icon, a pinup, and believe it or not was onto her 4th marriage. Her first was to Conrad Hilton and she was only 18 years old! That union latest only one year. Then to Michael Wilding who was twenty years old that Elizabeth, they were married from 1952-1957, which produced two sons. Then in Michael Todd from 1957-1958, he died tragically but they had a daughter together. In 1958 she married Eddie Fisher who was the husband at the time to her dear friend Debbie Reynolds (scandalous), they adopted a daughter together.
By 1964, Elizabeth was divorced three times, widowed once, and had four beautiful children-she was just 32 years old! You cannot deny that this woman lived life to the fullest in every way. To her, she would rather marry a man she loved instead of just becoming his lover. Perhaps that is too old fashioned a way of thinking especially after eight failed marriages (by the end of her life), but I think she has good intentions. That's what matters right?
In the 1960's she starred in various films such BUtterfield 8 (1960), Cleopatra (1963), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966), and The Taming of the Shrew (1967). It was during the making of "Cleopatra" that Elizabeth and Richard Burton began an affair. Elizabeth was still married to Eddie Fisher at the time but eventually they divorced and she married Burton in 1964-1974 and then again from 1975-1976. Burton did adopt her two daughters from her two previous marriages.
In the 1970's she worked in theatre and remarried again in 1976 to John Warner hoping to simply be a housewife. That marriage lasted until 1982 and she entered the Betty Ford Clinic to get treated for depression.
In the 1980's Elizabeth made guest appearances on tv shows and did a few films. My favorite is called The Mirror Cracked, its an Agatha Christie mystery film also starring Rock Hudson, Geraldine Chaplin, Kim Novack, and Tony Curtis as well as Angela Landsbury. It's great fun! She also continued to perform in theatre as well.
She also has perfumes, fashions, and even violet contacts made for her and she earned millions by selling her products (you go girl!).
In 1985, one of her former co-stars and close friend Rock Hudson, shared with the world that he had Aids. The early 1980's was a time of great confusion and prejudice and hysteria when it came to this disease. Elizabeth stepped up to the plate and became a huge advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention, education, and treatment.
From 1991-1996 Elizabeth was briefly married to a non-Hollywood actor named Larry Fortensky. This was her final marriage and told Barbara Walters in an interview that she would not marry again and she never did.
Elizabeth has suffered greatly from physical illness since her first marriage to Hilton. She had been hospitalized more than 70 times and had at least 20 major surgeries. She survived benign brain tumor in 1997, the photo above is of Elizabeth post-surgery. She broke her back five times, both hips replaces, and so many other health problems. By the time she was in her 60's and 70's she looked much older than she was-I am sure due to all the health problems and the stress that comes with those problems. Through it all she continued with her humanitarian work and was always a devoted mother and friend.
Sadly, Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor passed away on March 23, 2011. She would have been 80 years old this February 27th. She was surrounded by all four of her beloved children. She is not only survived by her children but also her ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
She was a Hollywood icon. She lived her life fearlessly and with great love and devotion. Now we should all try and live our lives. Thank you Elizabeth Taylor for being a shining star and an inspiration to all women.