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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Legendary Actress Elizabeth Taylor Has Died

Two-time Academy Award-winning actress Elizabeth Taylor died today of congestive heart failure; she was 79 years old.

[Elizabeth Taylor (February 27th, 1932 - March 23rd, 2011)]

Considered one of the last major stars to derive from the old Hollywood studio system, Elizabeth Taylor was truly a "Giant" of Hollywood actresses. From her breakthrough roles in such films as National Velvet, Little Women, Father of the Bride, A Place in the Sun, and Giant, to her first ever Academy Award-nominated performance in Raintree Country, the stunningly beautiful and talented Taylor took 1950s Hollywood by storm, and never looked back. She was nominated for an Oscar four more times, and won twice for Best Actress for BUtterfield 8 and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

In one of her most iconic roles, Taylor played the immortal titular character in Joseph L. Mankiewicz' Cleopatra. While also known for her performances in such films as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Suddenly, Last Summer, her most universally respected work was in Mike Nichols classic stage play adaptation of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Starring alongside Richard Burton (her husband at the time - Taylor was married a total of eight times... twice to Burton), her tour-de-force performance in Virginia Woolf was as riveting (and prophetically frightening) as any other seen on film - both before or since. It was a daringly honest performance, and one which will forever stand the test of time.

Beyond Taylor's outstanding film career lay an even more extraordinary gift: her tenacious charity work. As well known as she was as an actress, Taylor was equally recognized for her unyielding activism against AIDS.

The household name of Elizabeth Taylor is as practically recognizable as that of John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean. To paraphrase Shakespeare's famous Antony and Cleopatra line: Age cannot wither Taylor's name, nor custom stale her immortal career. Even though she has passed on to her place in the sun, her work left behind will remain with us forever.

A look back at the life and career of Elizabeth Taylor


Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born on February 27, 1932 in London, England to American parents. She's pictured in the mid-30's with her older brother Howard.



As a child she had roles in a number of films, the most successful critically and commercially being 1944's National Velvet (pictured).


Taylor in 1947.


Liz Taylor's first adult role was in 1949's Conspirator opposite Robert Taylor. Taylor was praised for her efforts, but the film was a disaster at the box office.


1950's Father of the Bride, a romantic comedy co-starring Spencer Tracy, was Taylor's first major box office success as an adult actress. As it would turn out Taylor was quite good at being a bride - she was married 8 times to 7 different men over her lifetime.


Taylor in 1950.


Greeted with praise for her role as Angela Vickers upon its release, 1951's A Place in the Sun established Taylor as a dramatic actress.


Taylor with her first child, son Michael, in 1953. At the time of her death she was survived by her four children, 10 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.

During the early 1950's Taylor's roles tended to be restricted to romantic period dramas. She's shown in 1952's Ivanhoe with George Sanders.

In 1956 Taylor starred with Rock Hudson and James Dean in the film Giant.

In the late 1950's Taylor was nominated for an Academy Award three times: for 1957's Raintree Country, 1958's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (pictured with Paul Newman), and 1959's Suddenly, Last Summer.

 Taylor won her first Academy Award for her leading role in 1960's Butterfield 8.


The 1 million dollars Taylor made to star in the titular role 20th Century Fox's Cleopatra was at that point the highest salary ever paid to an actress. She's pictured in the film alongside co-star (and two-time husband) Richard Burton.


Taylor's second Academy Award was earned for her work in Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf?, again alongside Richard Burton.


Taylor at the Academt Awards in 1976.


A well-known humanitarian, Taylor was involed in numerous charities, particularly those focused on the fight against AIDS. In recognition of her efforts Taylor was presented the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 65th Annual Academy Awards in 1993.


Elizabeth Taylor in 2009.



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