in full Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor
Actress. Born Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor on February 27, 1932 in London,
England. One of film's most celebrated stars, Taylor has fashioned
a career that's covered more than six decades, accepting roles that
have not only showcased her beauty, but her ability to take on emotionally
American parents, both art dealers, were residing in London when
she was born. Soon after the outbreak of World War II, the Taylors
returned to the United States and settled into their new life
in Los Angeles.
was in Taylor's blood. Her mother had worked as an actress until
she married. At the age of three the young Taylor started dancing,
and eventually gave a recital for Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.
Not long after relocating to California a family friend suggested
the Taylors' daugher take a screen test.
soon signed a contract with Universal Studios and made her screen
debut at the age of ten in There's One Born Every Minute (1942).
She followed that up with a bigger role in Lassie Come Home (1943)
and later The White Cliffs of Dover (1944).
breakout role, however, came in 1944 with National Velvet, in
a role Taylor spent four months working to get. The film subsequently
turned out to be a huge hit that pulled in more than $4 million
and made the 12-year-old actress a huge star.
the glare of the Hollywood spotlight, the young actress showed
she was more than adept at handling celebrity's tricky terrain.
Even more impressive was the fact that, unlike so many child
stars before and after her, Taylor proved she could make a seamless
transition to more adult roles.
stunning looks helped. At just 18 she played opposite Spencer
Tracy in Father of the Bride (1950). Taylor showed her acting
talents in 1954 with three films: The Last Time I Saw Paris,
Rhapsody, and Elephant Walk, the latter of which saw Taylor take
on the role of a plantation owner's wife who is in love with
the farm's manager.
personal life only boosted the success of her films. For a time
she dated millionaire Howard Hughes, then at the age of 17, Taylor
made her first entrance into marriage, when she wed hotel heir,
union didn't last long and in 1952, Taylor was walking down the
aisle again, this time to marry actor Michael Welding. In all
Taylor has married eight times during life, including twice to
actor Richard Burton.
her love life continued to make international headlines, Taylor
showed her talent as an actress. She delivered a riveting performance
in the drama A Place in the Sun, and turned things up even more
in 1956 with the film adaptation of the Edna Ferber novel, Giant
that co-starred James Dean. Two years later she sizzled on the
big screen in the film adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Cat
on a Hot Tin Roof. Then, the following year she starred in another
Williams classic, Suddenly Last Summer. Taylor earned her first
Oscar, capturing the coveted Best Actress award for her role
as call girl in Butterfield 8 (1960).
But Taylor's fame was also touched by tragedy and loss. In 1958, she became a
young widow when her husband, pioneering film producer Mike Todd, was killed
in a plane crash.
public's obsession with Taylor's love life hit new heights with
her 1964 marriage to Richard Burton. She'd met and fallen in
love with actor during her work on Cleopatra (1963), a film that
not only heightened Taylor's clout and fame, but proved to be
a staggering investment, clocking in at an unprecedented $37
million to make.
Taylor-Burton union was a fiery and passionate one. They appeared
onscreen together in the much panned The V.I.P.'s (1963) and
then again two years later for the much heralded Who's Afraid
of Virginia Wolf?, a film that earned Taylor her second Oscar
for her role as an overweight, angry wife of an alcoholic professor
played by Burton.
subsequent years proved to be an up-and-down affair for Taylor.
There were more marriages, more divorces, health obstacles, and
a struggling film career, with movies that gained little traction
with critics or the movie going public.
Taylor continued to act. She found work on television , even
making a guest appearance on General Hospital, and on stage.
She also began focusing more attention on philanthropy. After
her close friend Rock Hudson died in 1985 following his battle
with HIV/AIDS, the actress started work to find a cure for the
disease. In 1991 she launched the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation
in order to offer greater support for those who are sick, as
well fund research for more advanced treatments.
the years, Taylor has overcome a litany of health problems, from
diabetes to congestive heart failure. She's had both hips replaced
and in 1997 had a brain tumor removed. In October 2009, Taylor,
who has four children, underwent successful heart surgery.
retired from the world of acting, Taylor has received numerous
awards for her body of work. In 1993 she received the American
Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. In 2000 she was made
Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE).
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