Screen legend Dame Elizabeth Taylor has died, aged 79.
Taylor died on Wednesday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in California from congestive heart failure, following a six week hospitalisation. Her children were at her side.
Taylor’s first film was as a child actress at the age of nine in There’s One Born Every Minute, (1942), but she rocketed to stardom in National Velvet (1944). A fall while filming led to a lifetime of back problems.
She went on to appear in more than 50 films including luminous performances in Cleopatra, A Place in the Sun, Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer, and The Taming of the Shrew.
She won Oscars for her performances in Butterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
In television she appeared in General Hospital, All My Children, Hotel, North and South, Sweet Bird of Youth, plus numerous appearances as herself including Here’s Lucy, The Nanny and The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. She was once the voice of Maggie Simpson, with just one word “Daddy”.
Her final screen role was the 2001 series God, the Devil and Bob.
Famous for her extraordinary beauty she survived eight marriages, including two to Richard Burton, and a series of physical ailments.
Her work for humanitarian causes was profound, especially in HIV / AIDS, when she trailblazed campaigns during the Reagan years, helping to break down myths and scare-mongering.
For her crusading work she was awarded a special Oscar in 1993.
Taylor also defended her friend Michael Jackson in later years.
In 2004, it was announced she suffered congestive heart failure. She had to undergo heart surgery in 2009 to replace a leaky valve.
Taylor has been using a wheelchair for more than five years to cope with chronic pain after breaking her back four times, and three hip replacement operations, a benign brain tumour, skin cancer and pneumonia.
But despite her torrid personal life she will always be remembered simply as, a star.