The Passing of a Legend,
A Hollywood Goddess
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born in London, England, on February 27, 1932. Although she was born an English subject, her parents were Americans, art dealers from St. Louis, Missouri (her father had gone to London to set up a gallery). Her mother had been an actress on the stage, but gave up that vocation when she married. Elizabeth lived in London until the age of seven, when the family left for the US when the clouds of war began brewing in Europe in 1939. They sailed without her father, who stayed behind to wrap up the loose ends of the art business.
The family relocated to Los Angeles, where Mrs. Taylor’s own family had moved. Mr. Taylor followed not long afterward. A family friend noticed the strikingly beautiful little Elizabeth and suggested that she be taken for a screen test. Her test impressed executives at Universal Pictures enough to sign her to a contract. Her first foray onto the screen was in There’s One Born Every Minute (1942), released when she was ten. Universal dropped her contract after that one film, but Elizabeth was soon picked up by MGM.
The first production she made with that studio was Lassie Come Home (1943), and on the strength of that one film, MGM signed her for a full year. She had minuscule parts in her next two films, The White Cliffs of Dover (1944) and Jane Eyre (1943) (the former made while she was on loan to 20th Century-Fox). Then came the picture that made Elizabeth a star: MGM’s National Velvet (1944). She played Velvet Brown oppositeMickey Rooney. The film was a smash hit, grossing over $4 million. Elizabeth now had a long-term contract with MGM and was its top child star. She made no films in 1945, but returned in 1946 in Courage of Lassie (1946). In 1947, when she was 15, she starred in Life with Father(1947) with such heavyweights as William Powell, Irene Dunne and Zasu Pitts.
Throughout the rest of the 1940s and into the early 1950s Elizabeth appeared in film after film with mostly good results. Her busiest year was 1954, with roles in Rhapsody (1954), Beau Brummell (1954), The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954) and Elephant Walk (1954). She was 22 now, and even at that young age was considered one of the world’s great beauties. In 1955 she appeared in the hit Giant (1956) with James Dean.
Sadly, Dean never saw the release of the film, as he died in a car accident in 1955. The next year saw Elizabeth star in Raintree County (1957), an overblown epic made, partially, in Kentucky. Critics called it dry as dust. Despite the film’s shortcomings, Elizabeth was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Southern belle Susanna Drake. However, on Oscar night the honor went to Joanne Woodward for The Three Faces of Eve (1957). In 1958 Elizabeth starred as Maggie Pollitt in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958).
The film received rave reviews from the critics and Elizabeth was nominated again for an Academy Award for best actress, but this time she lost to Susan Hayward in I Want to Live! (1958). She was still a hot commodity in the film world, though. In 1959 she appeared in another mega-hit and received yet another Oscar nomination for Suddenly, Last Summer (1959). Once again, however, she lost out, this time to Simone Signoretfor Room at the Top (1959). Her Oscar drought ended in 1960 when she brought home the coveted statue for her flawless performance inBUtterfield 8 (1960) as Gloria Wandrous, a call girl who is involved with a married man. Some critics blasted the movie but they couldn’t ignore her performance. There were no more films for Elizabeth for three years. She left MGM after her contract ran out, but would do projects for the studio later down the road. In 1963 she starred in Cleopatra (1963), which was one of the most expensive productions up to that time–as was her salary, a whopping $1,000,000.
This was the film where she met her future and fifth husband, Richard Burton (the previous four were Conrad Hilton, Michael Wilding, Michael Todd–who died in a plane crash–and Eddie Fisher). Her next handful of films were lackluster at best, especially 1963’s The V.I.P.s (1963), which was shredded by most critics. Elizabeth was to return to fine form, however, with the role of Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?(1966). Her performance as the loudmouthed, shrewish, unkempt Martha was easily her finest to date.
For this she would win her second Oscar and one that was more than well-deserved, but her films afterward didn’t approach the intensity of that one. Since then she has appeared in several movies, both theatrical and made-for-television, and a number of TV programs. In February 1997 Elizabeth entered the hospital for the removal of a brain tumor. The operation was successful. As for her private life, she divorced Burton in 1974, only to remarry him in 1975 and divorce him, permanently, in 1976. She has had two husbands since, Senator John Warner and Larry Fortensky.
IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson
Liz was a leading child star by the age of 12 after her performance in MGM’s National Velvet (1944). It wasn’t long before she was knocking critics dead as a serious adult actress with films like Giant (1956), Raintree County (1957) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958). She reigned the box office as the quintessential movie star taking the breath away from viewers with her glamorous looks and those velvet eyes. Her film career floundered in the 1960s and 1970s with a string of unusual and unsuccessful films. Her personal life has been a tempest of love affairs, unsuccessful marriages and multiple medical problems. Upon the death of her friend, Rock Hudson in 1985, she began her crusade on the behalf of AIDS sufferers. In the 1990s, she has also developed a successful series of scents. Her acting career has been relegated to the occasional tv-movie or TV guest appearance.
IMDb Mini Biography By: Ray Hamel
Elizabeth Taylor is considered one of the last, if not the last major star, to have come out of the old Hollywood studio system. And not just any studio, the top of the heap: MGM. Her early movies, as a child in the early 1940s, starred such Hollywood luminaries as Orson Welles andSpencer Tracy. She quickly grew up, however, and by 1950 was, if not starring in, assuming major responsibilities for the success of motion pictures she appeared in. Then with major roles onscreen, came worldwide attention off-screen, most notably due to a succession of famous and/or rich husbands and a series of health crises throughout her life. To put it simply, Elizabeth Taylor has lived a life far more exciting and dramatic than any movie she’s ever appeared in and probably most any other movie you could name. She’s known internationally for her beauty, especially for those violet eyes, with which she captured audiences early on in her youth and has kept the world hooked on ever since. She’s won the Oscar twice and she’s earned her place in and out of the sun.
IMDb Mini Biography By: Chris Wilson
|Larry Fortensky||(6 October 1991 – 31 October 1996) (divorced)|
|John Warner||(4 December 1976 – 7 November 1982) (divorced)|
|Richard Burton||(10 October 1975 – 1 August 1976) (remarried) (divorced)|
|Richard Burton||(15 March 1964 – 26 June 1974) (divorced) 1 child|
|Eddie Fisher||(12 May 1959 – 6 March 1964) (divorced)|
|Michael Todd||(2 February 1957 – 22 March 1958) (his death) 1 child|
|Michael Wilding||(21 February 1952 – 30 January 1957) (divorced) 2 children|
|Conrad Hilton Jr.||(6 May 1950 – 1 February 1951) (divorced)|
She was bridesmaid for Jane Powell for her first marriage. Powell was bridesmaid for Taylor at her first marriage.
Ranked #72 in Empire (UK) magazine’s “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time” list. [October 1997]
Discharged from hospital, but later rushed back in after a suffering a brain seizure. Said to be comfortable. [26 February 1997]
Underwent successful surgery to remove the benign brain tumor. [20 February 1997]
Has three children and nine grandchildren.
Has appeared solo on the cover of PEOPLE magazine 14 times, second only to Princess Diana (as of 1996).
Liz and Richard Burton appeared together on stage in a 1983 revival of “Private Lives.”
Her episode of “Biography” (1987) was the highest-rated episode of that series on Arts & Entertainment (thru the end of 1995).
American Film Institute Life Achievement Award 
Liz was a close friend of Montgomery Clift until his death in 1966. They met for the first time when Paramount decided that she had to accompany him to the premiere of The Heiress (1949) because they were both to star in the upcoming A Place in the Sun (1951). They liked each other right away. Clift used to call her “Bessie Mae”. When he had a car accident a few years later that disfigured him, he had just left a party at Liz’s house. It was she who found him first, got into the wreck and removed some teeth from his throat that threatened to choke him.
Her perfumes have been Passion (1987), White Diamonds (1991), Diamonds and Rubies, Diamonds and Emeralds, Diamonds and Sapphires and Black Pearls (1995).
At one point during her life-threatening illness while filming BUtterfield 8 (1960), she was actually pronounced dead.
First actress to earn $1,000,000 for a movie role (in Cleopatra (1963)).
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#16). 
Mother-in-law of Brooke Palance.
Lives in BelAir house once owned by Frank Sinatra when he was married to first wife, Nancy.
Born at 2:15 AM GMT
Has owned some of the world’s most magnificent jewelry, including the the 33-carat “Krupp Diamond”, the Duchess of Windsor diamond brooch, the Grand Duchess of Russia emeralds, the “LaPeregina Pearl” (which was a Valentine present from her from Richard Burton), and the famous pear-shaped 69-carat “Burton-Cartier Diamond” Burton gave her in 1969 (subsequently renamed the “Burton-Taylor Diamond.”
Considered Michael Jackson among her closest friends.
In the early 1970s she planned to star in the movie version of the hit 1971 Broadway play “Twigs” by George Furth, in which she would have played four characters — three sisters and their aged, cranky Bronx-Irish mother — but the project never materialized.
Stepmother of the late Michael Todd Jr., who was actually her senior by three years.
She is a recipient of the 2002 John F. Kennedy Center Honors.
Admitted in an interview with Barbara Walters in the late 1990s that she would still like to act but, because of her medical problems, no movie company will insure her. In addition to many other medical problems, including a benign brain tumor she had removed, she has broken her back four times. This causes her severe pain when walking or standing for long amounts of time.
She is mentioned in the song “Lady Nina” by rock band Marillion.
The stories of her Oscar win for BUtterfield 8 (1960) have grown legendary. It is generally accepted as truth that she won Oscar voters by a vote of sympathy, because of the recent death of her husband, Michael Todd, and her near-fatal illness and emergency tracheotomy to save her life (her scar was very visible on Oscar night). Wisecracker and Rat Pack member Shirley MacLaine, who was favored to win for her role in The Apartment (1960), said afterwards that “I lost out to a tracheotomy.”
Measurements: 36C-21-36 (for the majority of her film career), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
The premiere of her film Father of the Bride (1950) took place two days after her real-life marriage to Conrad Hilton Jr.. The publicity surrounding the event is credited with helping to make the film so successful. The marriage lasted as long as the 3 month European honeymoon. Irreconcilable differences were cited in the divorce court.
She was voted the 11th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
Has four children. Two sons with Michael Wilding: Michael Howard (born January 6, 1953) and Christopher Edward (born February 28, 1955). Her daughter with Michael Todd, Elizabeth Frances Todd, called “Liza”, was born August 6, 1957. Her daughter, Maria Burton, (adopted 1964 with Richard Burton) was born August 1, 1961.
Ranked #7 in the American Film Insitutes list of the 50 ‘Greatest American Screen Legends’, the top 25 male and top 25 female.
Although born in England, her parents were actually Americans who were just working in England. Her mother was of German descent and her dad was of Scots-Irish descent.
Premiere Magazine ranked her as #40 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature (2005).
Announced in November 2004 she has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, but vowed to continue raising funds for AIDS charities and to build a Richard Burton Memorial Theatre in Cardiff, Wales.
Was unable to give evidence at Michael Jackson‘s trial due to illness.
Along with Mark Hamill and Joe Mantegna, she is one of only three actors to play both themselves and a fictional character in “The Simpsons”(1989). She supplied the voice of Maggie Simpson in the Season Four episode “Lisa’s First Word” and portrayed herself in the Season Four episode “Krusty Gets Kancelled”.
She and Richard Burton starred together in 11 movies: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The V.I.P.s (1963), Under Milk Wood (1972), The Taming of the Shrew (1967), The Sandpiper (1965), Hammersmith Is Out (1972), Doctor Faustus (1967), Divorce His – Divorce Hers (1973) (TV),The Comedians (1967), Cleopatra (1963) and Boom! (1968). She had an uncredited cameo in Burton’s film Anne of the Thousand Days (1969).
In 1969, Richard Burton bought her one of the world’s largest and most beautiful diamonds from the jeweler Cartier after losing an auction for the 69-carat, pear-shaped stone to the jeweler, who won with a $1-million bid. The rough diamond that would yield the prized stone weighed 244 carats and was found in 1966 at South Africa’s Premier mine. Harry Winston cut and polished the diamond, which was put up for auction in 1969. Burton purchased the diamond from Cartier the next day for $1,069,000 to give to Taylor. The small premium was the result of the publicity Cartier garnered from selling the stone, then called the “Burton-Cartier Diamond,” to the then “world’s most famous couple.” Ten years later, the twice-divorced-from-Burton Taylor herself auctioned off the “Burton-Taylor Diamond” to fund a hospital in Botswana. The last recorded sale of the Taylor-Burton was in 1979 for nearly $3,000,000 to an anonymous buyer in Saudi Arabia. The ring was the center of the classic“Here’s Lucy” (1968) episode “Lucy Meets the Burtons,” in which Lucy Carter, played by Lucille Ball, gets the famous ring stuck on her finger. The actual ring was used and the episode was the highest rated episode of the very popular series.
Auctioned off her diamond-and-emerald engagement ring from Richard Burton to raise money for an AIDS charity.
Her third husband Michael Todd gave her a 29-carat diamond ring during their marriage, a feat topped by fifth husband Richard Burton when he gave her the 69-carat “Burton-Cartier” (later renamed “Burton-Taylor”) diamond. Fourth-husband Eddie Fisher said that a $50,000 diamond could keep Taylor happy for approximately four days.
Was named a Dame of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on the Millenium New Year’s Honours List, December 31, 1999.
Writer Charles Bukowski, in his newspaper column (and later book) “Notes of a Dirty Old Man,” revealed that he loathed Taylor as an absurd icon of the celebrity-mad, media-besotted American culture that he despised.
1976: Won the title of “Most Memorable Eyebrows” in a magazine poll. The first runner up was Lassie.
Was unable to attend the civil partnership ceremony of her friend Sir Elton John in England due to her illness. (December 2005)
Became friends with Marlon Brando while shooting Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967). Brando agreed to pick up her Best Actress Award forWho’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) from the New York Film Critics Circle. When Brando made his appearance at the NYFCC Award ceremony at Sardi’s on January 29, 1967, he berated the critics, querying them as to why they hadn’t recognized Liz before. He then flew to Dahomey, Africa, where she was shooting The Comedians (1967) with Richard Burton to personally deliver the award, a development Burton thought odd. Several years later Brando socialized with the Burtons, visiting them on their famous yacht the Kalizma, while they plied the Mediterreanean. Brando’s ex-wife Anna Kashfi, in her book “Brando for Breakfast” (1979), claimed that Brando and Burton got into a fist fight aboard the yacht, probably over Liz, but nothing of the incident appears in Burton’s voluminous diaries. In his diaries, Burton found Brando to be quite intelligent but believed he suffered, like Liz did, from becoming too famous too early in his life and believed their affinity for one another was based on this (both Liz and Marlon would later befriend Michael Jackson, another superstar-cum-legend who had become too famous too soon). Burton recognized Brando as a great actor, but felt he would have been more suited to silent films due to the deficiency in his voice (the famous “mumble”). As a silent film star, Burton believed Brando would have been the greatest motion picture actor ever.
In 2006 she introduced a line of diamond and precious stone jewelry called “House of Taylor”. The designs are said to be inspired by certain favorite pieces in her own collection. She actually wrote a book on jewelry and is considered to be an authority on the subject.
Cancelled her appearance at the Cannes Film Festival, prompting renewed fears about her health. The acting legend usually attends an annual charity dinner organized by the American Foundation For AIDS Research (AMFAR), which always coincides with the South of France festival. However, Taylor – who also pulled out in 2004 due to health problems – was replaced by Sharon Stone and Liza Minnelli at the gala. (May 2005)
Underwent radiation therapy in 2002 for basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer.
After her son Michael had renounced his American citizenship for possession of marijuana, the U.S. Congress passed a bill to block his deportation (1988).
Her beloved dog, a Maltese named Sugar, died in 2005. Some months later, she purchased Daisy, one of Sugar’s descendants.
Her older brother Howard Taylor was born in 1929.
Was a frequent guest at the infamous “Studio 54”
Appeared on “Larry King Live” (1985) to refute claims that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and was close to death. (30 May 2006)
Former stepmother of Kate Burton.
Godmother of Paris Jackson.
Godmother of Prince Michael.
Announced her retirement from acting in 2003.
In Italy she was exclusively dubbed until the mid-1950s by Germana Calderini. As she matured, she was dubbed by Fiorella Betti. For two of her most celebrated roles–Leslie Lynnton Benedict in Giant (1956) and Catherine Holly in Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)–Taylor was dubbed respectively by Micaela Giustiniani and Lidia Simoneschi, the only time either actress lent their voice to her.
Organized “A Commitment to Life”, a celebrity event to benefit AIDS research after her Giant (1956) co-star Rock Hudson became ill in 1985. The event featured former First Lady Betty Ford, Burt Lancaster, Shirley MacLaine, Sammy Davis Jr., and Burt Reynolds. More than $1.3 million was raised.
Her AIDS organization AMFAR raised $83 million in the twelve years following its creation in 1985.
Did not attend The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) (TV) due to her opposition to the Iraq war.
Endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 presidential election.
In 1963, while the highest paid American business executive earned $650,000 and President John F. Kennedy‘s salary was $150,000, she received at least $2.4 million.
Has had three hip replacements.
Received $500,000 divorce settlement from Conrad Hilton Jr., 1951.
Mentioned in Walter Kirn‘s novel “Thumbsucker”.
Inducted into the California Hall of Fame in Sacramento (5 December 2007).
The 1963 Andy Warhol portrait of hers was sold for $ 23,7 million to an anonymous bidder at a Christie’s auction in New York (14 November 2007).
After the death of husband Mike Todd, she and Todd’s son sued the company Ayer Lease Plan, Inc. for $5,000,000 charging negligence. They were awarded only $40,000, of which $13,000 went to attorney’s fees. The remaining $27,000 went to their daughter, Frances.
In 2006, she donated $500,000 to the New Orleans AIDS Task Force to purchase mobile medical unit for AIDS sufferers in New Orleans.
Taylor and Shirley Jones are the only actresses to win Oscars for playing prostitutes in the same year: Taylor for BUtterfield 8 (1960) (Best Actress) and Jones for Elmer Gantry (1960) (Best Supporting Actress).
She was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of her outstanding contribution to film culture.
Her first Oscar nomination for Raintree County (1957) marks her first of 4 consecutive nominations, a feat she shares with Jennifer Jones (1943-46), Thelma Ritter (1950-53), Marlon Brando (1951-54) and Al Pacino (1972-75).
Hospitalized with congestive heart failure and pneumonia in July 2008 and was briefly on a life support machine.
Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6336 Hollywood Blvd.
Has a street named after her in Iowa City, Iowa.
Nominated for the 1981 Tony Award (New York City) for Actress in a Musical for “Little Foxes”.
Underwent heart surgery in October 2009 to repair a leaky valve.
Was a heavy smoker until being mistakenly diagnosed with lung cancer in October 1975.
First husband Conrad Hilton Jr. was physically abusive, which was partly caused by a drug problem.
Former stepmother of Julie Fortensky Henderson.
Paid for ex-husband Larry Fortensky‘s hospital bills when he was in a coma after falling of a balcony in 1999.
Met future husband Larry Fortensky while in rehab in 1988. They were later married for five years in the 1990s.
On Monday evening, November 8, 2010, Andy Warhol‘s “Men in Her Life”, a 1962 painting based on an image of Elizabeth Taylor between husbands, was auctioned at Phillips de Pury & Company’s new salesroom on Park Avenue in New York City. An unidentified bidder bought it for $63.3 million.
[On turning 53 years old] I think I’m finally growing up – and about time.
I had a hollow leg. I could drink everyone under the table and not get drunk. My capacity was terrifying.
My mother says I didn’t open my eyes for eight days after I was born, but when I did, the first thing I saw was an engagement ring. I was hooked.
I don’t pretend to be an ordinary housewife.
[Cannes, May 2001] If not to make the world better, what is money for?
[On her weight fluctuations] When you’re fat, the world is divided into two groups – people who bug you and people who leave you alone. The funny thing is, supporters and saboteurs exist in either camp.
Success is a great deodorant. It takes away all your past smells.
Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.
I don’t remember much about Cleopatra (1963). There were a lot of other things going on.
One problem with people who have no vices is that they’re pretty sure to have some annoying virtues.
[About Montgomery Clift] The most gorgeous thing in the world and easily one of the best actors.
You find out who your real friends are when you’re involved in a scandal.
 Acting is, to me now, artificial. Seeing people suffer is real. It couldn’t be more real. Some people don’t like to look at it in the face because it’s painful. But if nobody does, then nothing gets done.
 There’s still so much more to do. I can’t sit back and be complacent, and none of us should be. I get around now in a wheelchair, but I get around.
[on Michael Jackson] What is a genius? What is a living legend? What is a mega star? Michael Jackson – that’s all. And when you think you know him, he gives you more . . . I think he is one of the finest people to hit this planet, and, in my estimation, he is the true King of Pop, Rock and Soul.
[on John Wayne] His image had as much impact in the world as many of our presidents have had, but Duke was a great actor, a great humanitarian, but always himself. To be a friend was a lifetime thing.
If someone’s dumb enough to offer me a million dollars to make a picture, I’m certainly not dumb enough to turn it down.
I believe in mind over matter and doing anything you set your mind on.
I, along with the critics, have never taken myself very seriously.
[on Michael Jackson] He is part of my heart. We would do anything for each other.
[On Michael Wilding] I’m afraid in those last few years I gave him a rather rough time. Sort of henpecked him and probably wasn’t mature enough for him. It wasn’t that we had anything to fight over. We just weren’t happy.
[On John Wayne] He is as tough as an old nut and as soft as a yellow ribbon.
[On Clark Gable] He was the epitome of the movie star — so romantic, such bearing, such friendliness.
[On Montgomery Clift] Monty was the most emotional actor I have ever worked with. And it is contagious.
[on Marilyn Monroe] She seemed to have a kind of unconscious glow about her physical self that was innocent, like a child. When she posed nude, it was ‘Gee, I am kind of, you know, sort of dishy,’ like she enjoyed it without being egotistical.
[On the death of Michael Jackson] I just don’t believe that Michael would want me to share my grief with millions of others. How I feel is between us. Not a public event.
Richard came on the set and sort of sidled over to me and said: “Has anybody ever told you that you’re a very pretty girl?” ‘I thought, Oy gevalt, the great lover, the great wit, the great Welsh intellectual, and he comes out with a corny line like that! But then I noticed his hands were shaking as if he had Saturday night palsy. He had the worst hangover I’d ever seen. And he was obviously terrified of me. I just took pity on him. I realized he really was human. That was the beginning of our affair.
|The Flintstones (1994)||$2,500,000|
|Poker Alice (1987) (TV)||$500,000|
|Malice in Wonderland (1985) (TV)||$1,000,000|
|The Mirror Crack’d (1980)||$250,000|
|Winter Kills (1979)||$100,000|
|The Only Game in Town (1970)||$1,250,000|
|Secret Ceremony (1968)||$1,000,000|
|The Comedians (1967)||$500,000|
|The Taming of the Shrew (1967)||50% of the net profits (Co-producer)|
|Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)||$1,100,000 + 10% of the gross|
|The Sandpiper (1965)||$1,000,000|
|Elizabeth Taylor in London (1963) (TV)||£ 250,000|
|Cleopatra (1963)||$1,000,000 + 10% of the gross|
|BUtterfield 8 (1960)||$150,000|
|Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)||$500,000|
|Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)||$4,750 per week|
|A Place in the Sun (1951)||$1,500/week|
|Courage of Lassie (1946)||$750/week|
|Lassie Come Home (1943)||$100 a week|
|There’s One Born Every Minute (1942)||$200 a week.|