The entertainment industry suffered a great loss today with the passing of Dame Elizabeth Taylor. She died in Los Angeles at the age of 79.
One of the few true Hollywood icons, Dame Elizabeth was arguably one of the world’s greatest actresses and most beautiful women. Since finding fame at the age of 12 she has never been out of the spotlight.
The peak of her film career came in the 1950’s and 60’s. She was nominated for four Oscars in a row from 1958 to 1961, and didn’t take the gold statute home until her fourth attempt in 1961 for Butterfield 8. She won her second Oscar in 1967 for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Just as famous for her marriages as she was her films, she married 7 times. Her most famous husband being actor Richard Burton, who she met on the set of 1963’s Cleopatra- notorious for being one of the most expensive films of all time. Taylor had already been married four times – to Conrad Hilton Jr, Michael Wilding, Michael Todd and Eddie Fisher – before she wed Burton in 1964.
They were one of Hollywood’s greatest romances, starring together in 12 films, divorcing and remarrying in 1975 before she moved onto husbands number 6 and 7, John W Warner and Larry Fortensky.
The double Oscar winning actress had a history of health problems which began with a fall whilst filming her first hit film, National Velvet. A rare strain of pneumonia almost killed her in 1961 and she also battled addictions to alcohol and painkillers.
In the 1990s, she endured two hip replacement operations and another near-fatal bout of pneumonia and survived surgery for a benign brain tumour in 1997.
In 2004, it was revealed that she was suffering from congestive heart failure, with symptoms including fatigue and shortness of breath, and scoliosis, which twisted her spine.
After the death of her friend and co-star Rock Hudson, she started an Aids charity which she continually supported up until her death.
Her four children – Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Maria Burton-Carson and Liza Todd-Tivey – were at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center when she died.
Her son Michael Wilding called her “an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest. We know, quite simply, that the world is a better place for Mom having lived in it,” he continued. “Her legacy will never fade, her spirit will always be with us, and her love will live forever in our hearts.”
A private family funeral will be held later this week. Instead of flowers, the family has requested that contributions be made to the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation.
By Carrie-Ann Vessey