Hollywood was rocked today with the news that Dame Elizabeth Taylor had passed away today. Although Elizabeth has been in poor health over the last few years, illness had almost ended her life in the past and she always was able to triumph over it. Some may say she was almost immortal, and with the legacy of her film work she will always be remembered and loved.
Elizabeth was born in England and became a child star for MGM. As a child, Elizabeth already showed the promise of a great beauty. But, it was her incredible talent that made her a star. As a child, Taylor starred in two Iconic films: 1943’s Lassie Come Home and 1944’s National Velvet. Both films are classics and National Velvet will continue to be the ultimate film for any girl in love with her horse.
Many child actors find it difficult to transition from child actor to adult actor, but Elizabeth’s coming of age seem to pass without notice. As a young woman, Elizabeth’s beauty was more apparent than ever and those Violet eyes were mesmerizing. But Elizabeth had the conviction, work ethic and ever impressive talent to make each film better than her last.
As a young starlet, she starred with Spencer Tracy in Father of the Bride and following sequel of Father’s Little Dividend. Then in 1951 she starred in A Place in the Sun with Montgomery Clift and showed her amazing range as an actress. In 1954 she starred opposite Van Johnson for the sentimental film The Last Time I Saw Paris and in 1956 she starred in the George Steven’s epic film Giant. In Giant, she shared the screen with long-time friend Rock Hudson.
In 1957, Elizabeth received her first Academy Award nomination for her role in Raintree County, and the following year she garnered another nomination for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. And in 1959, she was again nominated for her performance in Suddenly Last Summer. Oscar finally came home with Elizabeth in 1961 for her role in BUtterfield 8, and she won her second Academy Award for Best Actress in 1967 for her role in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Elizabeth’s life was as much a drama off camera. She was married eight times. Her third husband, Mike Todd, died in a plane crash leaving Elizabeth with her first daughter. And what became the story of the century, she fell in love with her best friend’s (Debbie Reynolds) husband Eddie Fisher. But it was not until the filming of Cleopatra that Elizabeth met her match. She fell madly in love with Richard Burton. Their love affair was steamy, stormy and took the pair to wed twice.
Most remarkable to me was Elizabeth’s enduring friendships and loyalty. She embraced Rock Hudson when he was ill with AIDS as most others shunned him. His death from the disease led Elizabeth to start the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundation. Her foundation “provides funding to AIDS service organizations throughout the world to assist those living with HIV and AIDS.” (The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation Website) If anything, Dame Elizabeth Taylor will be remembered for her beauty. Her beauty of mind, body and most importantly spirit.