Legendary actress, Elizabeth Taylor, was born Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor on Feb 27, 1932 in Hampstead, London, England. Taylor died at the age of 79 on Mar 23, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA and was laid to rest in Forest Lawn (Glendale) Cemetery in Glendale, CA.
EARLY YEARS / MGM CONTRACT:Elizabeth Taylor was born on February 27th, 1932 to American born parents in Hampstead Garden Suburb, England. At the onset of World War Two, Taylor's family decided to relocate back to the States, as mounting political tension in Europe grew. They first went to New York but soon found themselves settling in Los Angeles, her father founding an art gallery often frequented by the Hollywood elite. A family friend introduced Taylor to some of Hollywood's top agents and, after a being pursued by both MGM and Universal Studios, 9-year old Taylor signed a 7-year contract with Universal. Her first film was 1942's, There's One Born Every Minute. Soon, however, Universal began to second-guess their costly acquisition and released Taylor from her contract a year later, leaving her free to star in MGM's Lassie Comes Home. She was subsequently offered and accepted a long term MGM contract. For her next film, Taylor would be loaned out to 20th Century Fox for the latest silver screen adaption of Charlotte Bronte's novel, Jane Eyre. She returned to her homeland of England for the Roddy McDowall film The White Cliffs of Dover. It was her next role as horseback riding Velvet Brown that would make her a star.
NATIONAL VELVET:National Velvet was released in 1944, when Taylor was just 12 years old. The film was Taylor's first starring role and was an instant success with audiences and critics. The movie-going public flocked to see the violet eyed new star, with critics attributing her presence in the film as a large part of the film's 4 million dollar gross. Her next film was Courage of Lassie, in which Taylor helped Bill the Dog outsmart the Nazis. She had a stream of successful teen films in the late 1940's including Life with Father, A Date with Judy and Julia Misbehaves. The studio took note of her box office record and constant professionalism, seeing a promising career ahead of the young star. Her last teen role was Amy March in Little Women. She transitioned from teen to adult star with ease, starring opposite Robert Taylor in Conspirator. Although the film was not a hit, critics praised the 16 year old's performance. In 1950, Taylor starred with Spencer Tracey and Joan Bennett in Father of the Bride. That same year, she married the first in her stream of husbands, hotel heir Conrad Hilton. The Studios capitalized on the nuptials, using it as part of the film's publicity. The publicity proved successful and the movie was a hit. Although Taylor's star power was long established, she had yet to receive notice for her acting. Her next film, A Place in the Sun, would change that.
A PLACE IN THE SUN:Upon its release in 1951, A Place in the Sun was an immediate critical darling. Taylor was praised for her performance as Angela Vickers, a socialite caught in a deadly love triangle. Taylor, at age 17, showed the world that the little girl from National Velvet had the power to seduce a man like Montgomery Clift. Despite this, Taylor would spend the rest of the early 50s starring in popcorn films such as Love is Better than Ever, Ivanhoe and the Girl Who had Everything. It would not be until 1956 that Taylor would again have a role of substance in George Stevens' 1956 epic Giant, starring opposite Rock Hudson and James Dean. The film was a huge success and was nominated for nine Academy Awards. In 1957, Taylor reteamed with Montgomery Clift for Raintree Country, earning her the first of four consecutive Oscar nominations. Her second nomination came from the 1958 adaptation of Tennessee William's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opposite Paul Newman. Although her beauty had always been ever present, the film cemented her status as a silver screen siren. In 1959, she starred opposite Katharine Hepburn and Montgomery Clift in another Tennessee Williams' film adaptation, Suddenly Last Summer. She won her first Oscar for her role in Butterfield 8, a film she begrudgingly did as her last obligation to MGM after 18 years under contract. Most film historians agree that the Oscar was a result of Âpity votesÂ due to the fact that Taylor had just received life saving throat surgery due to an illness she acquired on the set of her most famous film, Cleopatra.
CLEOPATRA / RICHARD BURTON:Cleopatra was a turning point in the life of Elizabeth Taylor. The myths and legends surrounding the film have become almost as infamous as the actual life of Cleopatra herself. Taylor was paid an unprecedented one million dollars to play the title role. During filming, Taylor became severely ill with the flu and was given a tracheotomy. With already five million dollars spent, the entire film shoot was moved to Italy, as Taylor required a warm, dry climate to recover from the surgery. A shoot that was once scheduled to last 16 weeks went on for over a year -- and with a bloated cost of 44 million dollars, the film became the most expensive in history. Although it was the top grossing film of year, it still lost money almost causing Fox to go bankrupt. During filming, Taylor also began her intensely passionate relationship with Richard Burton. When the affair began, both were married to other people, with Taylor having married Eddie Fisher only a year earlier. The couple received massive attention from the press, unintentionally creating the paradigm for modern tabloid culture.
The next phase of both her life and career was dominated by her life with Richard Burton. Whether on screen or in tabloids, audiences around the world saw their relationship unravel before their eyes. In 1966, the two starred in Mike Nichols' directorial debut, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The roles were not glamorous. The most beautiful actress in all of Hollywood now appeared as an over weight, tried lush who delights in her verbal cruelty and sharp tongue. Many consider it to be Taylor's best performance and for it, she received her second Academy Award. Although the two had hit after hit in the early 1960s, the latter end of the decade proved unkind. After Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, their next three films, Doctor Faustus and The Comedians of 1967 and Boom! of 1968, were all failures at the box office. Her teaming with Marlon Brando for John Huston's Reflections in a Golden Eye was also deemed a failure, as were 1968's Secret Ceremony and 1970's The Only Game in Town. It became apparent that her box-office appeal had dwindled, much like her marriage to Richard Burton. In 1972, the two starred in the TV movie Divorce His, Divorce Hers (*see below for complete list of Taylor/Burton films). In 1974, the two divorced. Although they married for a second time a year later, the marriage dissolved in less than a year.
LATER YEARS:The subsequent years of Taylor's life were full of triumphs and failures. With her days as box office royalty behind her, Taylor took to stage and television. She starred in a 1983 production of The Little Foxes and teamed with ex-husband Richard Burton in Private Lives. She also made guest appearances on General Hospital, All My Children, The Simpsons, Murphy Brown and The Nanny among others. However, by this point in her life acting was secondary to her charity work. After her close friend and fellow classic film star, Rock Hudson, succumbed to AIDS in 1985, Taylor began her tireless lifelong crusade against the misunderstood disease. In 1991 she founded the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation to create more awareness and better support for those suffering from the disease. The Foundation has raised over 12 million dollars since its inception to date (2013). In 1993 Taylor received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2000, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Always plagued with health problems, Taylor went through a series of surgeries and complications throughout the 1990's and early 2000's. On March 23, 2011, she passed away from congestive heart failure in Beverly Hills. She was 79 years old.(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).
*TAYLOR/BURTON FILMS:Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton made eleven films together (ten theatrical and one TV movie): The V.I.P.s (1963), Cleopatra (1963), The Sandpiper (1965), Who?s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The Taming of the Shrew (1967), Doctor Faustus (1967), The Comedians (1967), Boom! (1968), Under Milk Wood (1972), Hammersmith is Out (1972), and Divorce His - Divorce Hers (TV Movie 1973).
HONORS and AWARDS:.
Elizabeth Taylor was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two for Best Actress for Butterfield 8 (as Gloria Wandrous) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (as Martha) in 1960 and 1966 respectively. She also won one Honorary Award in 1992 Elizabeth Taylor .
|1957||Best Actress||Raintree County (1957)||Susanna Drake||Nominated|
|1958||Best Actress||Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)||Maggie Pollitt||Nominated|
|1959||Best Actress||Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)||Catherine Holly||Nominated|
|1960||Best Actress||Butterfield 8 (1960)||Gloria Wandrous||Won|
|1966||Best Actress||Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)||Martha||Won|
Academy Awards (Honorary Oscars)
|1992||JEAN HERSHOLT HUMANITARIAN AWARD||Elizabeth Taylor|
She was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures. Elizabeth Taylor's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #113 on Sep 26, 1956.
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