The woman, the star, the legend that is Elizabeth Taylor passed away this morning at the age of 79.
The violet-eyed actress was hospitalized six weeks ago at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for treatment of congestive heart failure, a condition that had stabilized. The hope was she would soon be well enough to return home, sadly that wasn’t to be.
Taylor had a career that spanned a full six decades, from her first role in the 1942 comedy “There’s One Born Every Minute” to her last in the 2001 TV movie “These Old Broads”. Her first real breakthrough role was as Velvet Brown in MGM’s “National Velvet” which made her a star at age 12.
For the next few years she became a very bankable adolescent star with a string of successful features. Her first success in an adult role was in the original “Father of the Bride” in 1950 with Spencer Tracy, but it was her part in 1951 classic “A Place In The Sun” opposite Montgomery Clift and Shelley Winters that really pushed her into the limelight.
A string of so-so parts followed until the late 50’s when the actress hit her stride following a key role in what would prove to be the final film of James Dean – 1956’s “Giant”. For three years in a row she scored Oscar nominations for her roles in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Raintree County” and “Suddenly Last Summer”. She won her first Oscar in 1960 playing a call girl in “Butterfield 8”, and a few years later her second playing the shrewish wife in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”.
Between those two films she played the titular Egyptian queen herself in “Cleopatra” for which she received a record-breaking salary for the time, and the film during which she began a romance with her future husband Richard Burton.
Taylor’s drawing power began to fade in the late 60’s though she continued working on films right through the 70’s including “Ash Wednesday, “The Only Game in Town,” “Under Milk Wood” and “The Mirror Crack’d”. Her last big screen film was 1994’s “The Flintstones”.
Off screen she was famous for her love affairs and eight marriages with husbands including actor Richar Burton (twice), singer Eddie Fisher, U.S. Senator John Warner and producer Mike Todd.
She was also a famed early AIDS activist, charity supporter, and was even made a Dame of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
She leaves behind four children, nine grandchildren, and countless millions of fans. Our sincerest condolences go out to all.