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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

Hamilton Live: Dustbowl Revivali
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
September 02, 2015 12:19 PM
Dustbowl Revival is an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members who performed live at "The Hamilton" songs from their new CD, "With A Lampshade On."

Dustbowl Revival is an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members who performed live at "The Hamilton" songs from their new CD, "With A Lampshade On."