News / Arts & Entertainment

Elizabeth Taylor Remembered for Sultry Roles, Turbulent Life

Actress Elizabeth Taylor and her husband, former secretary of the U.S. Navy John Warner, at the 42nd New York Film Critics Circle Awards dinner in New York, Jan. 30, 1977
Actress Elizabeth Taylor and her husband, former secretary of the U.S. Navy John Warner, at the 42nd New York Film Critics Circle Awards dinner in New York, Jan. 30, 1977

Multimedia

Audio
Mike O'Sullivan

Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor has died in Los Angeles at the age of 79.  Her publicist says the actress had been hospitalized for six weeks and died of congestive heart failure early Wednesday.   The screen icon is remembered for several Oscar-winning performances and a tempestuous personal life.

Elizabeth Taylor was born to American parents in London, where her father owned an art gallery.  On the brink of World War II, the family moved to Los Angeles, where Elizabeth drew the attention of studio talent scouts.  She landed her first film role at the age of 10, appearing in the 1942 comedy There’s One Born Every Minute.

Related video report by Penelope Poulou

The child actress quickly rose to stardom in such films as Lassie Come Home, The White Cliffs of Dover, and National Velvet, a story about racing and a girl who loves horses.

National Velvet was a hit, and Taylor went on to appear opposite major stars in a string of films in the 1940s and early 1950s, when she was celebrated for her beauty.  Her performances in Raintree County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Suddenly, Last Summer earned her Academy Award nominations.

In 1955, she appeared in the Texas oil tale Giant opposite Rock Hudson and James Dean.

Taylor had a tumultuous personal life.  She was married eight times, twice to the same husband, actor Richard Burton.  

At 18, she married hotel heir Nicky Hilton, but was divorced within months.  In 1952, she married actor Michael Wilding, and divorced five years later.

Within months, she married producer Mike Todd, but he was killed in a crash of a private plane the following year.

In 1959, she married Eddie Fisher, and was blamed by the tabloid press for breaking up his marriage to popular singer Debbie Reynolds.

Taylor's on-screen romance with actor Richard Burton became passionate off-screen.  She divorced Fisher and became forever linked with Burton in the public imagination.

They starred together in the big-screen spectacle Cleopatra, released in 1963.

Taylor and Burton were married in 1964.

The actress earned Academy Awards for the 1960 film Butterfield 8, in which she played a New York call girl, and the 1966 film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Starring Taylor and Burton as an unhappy married couple, the film mirrored the couple’s turbulent real-life relationship.

Burton and Taylor separated and reconciled, divorced and remarried, and divorced a final time in 1976.  She was married to John Warner, a former U.S. secretary of the Navy, who became a U.S. senator from Virginia, from 1976 to 1982.

At the height of her career, Taylor was one of Hollywood’s best-paid performers.  She appeared in more than 50 films, and even as roles dwindled in the 1980s and 1990s, she remained one of Hollywood’s most popular celebrities.  She raised millions of dollars for AIDS research and other charitable causes, and in 1993 was awarded a special Oscar for her humanitarian work.  

In 1991, Taylor married for the last time.  Her eighth husband was a construction worker, Larry Fortensky.  They had met at a drug rehabilitation center, where the actress was being treated for addiction to alcohol and painkillers.  The ceremony took place at the California ranch of Taylor’s close friend, pop star Michael Jackson.  The couple divorced five years later.

Taylor suffered bouts of serious illness, had many operations, and several times over the years, nearly died of pneumonia.  But friends and familymembers say she lived a full life.  

Elizabeth Taylor at a 2007 charity benefit in Santa Monica, California
Elizabeth Taylor at a 2007 charity benefit in Santa Monica, California

"[I have] wonderful memories," she once summed it up to an interviewer.  "They’re warm memories.  And they’re my memories."

For her fans, Elizabeth Taylor is remembered for her sultry looks and stunning violet eyes, for some memorable performances and a life off-screen as interesting as her Hollywood film roles.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the latest edition of "Beyond Category" blues singer and guitarist Corey Harris performs with his band and talks about his travels in West Africa tracing the roots of the blues.