Vale: Elizabeth Taylor

Dame Elizabeth Taylor has died, aged 79, leaving behind a legacy of luminous performances and a personal life full of marriages and humanitarian work.

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.

Source: ABC, IMDb, BBC

22 Responses

  1. We have lost a real hollywood legend,her life had so many ups and downs but she survived .She had a heart of gold ,and she was the first famous person to make people aware of AIDS in the 1980s,and continued rest of her life helping raising money.God Bless You Elizabeth for hard work in that cause.She was a true beauty,we will not see another of her type again ,She will be greatly missed by so many around the world.We have her classic movies forever.RIP Elizabeth

  2. Elisabeth Taylor in her prime was one of the most beautiful women in the world. I found her very atractive in Cleopatra. Elisabeth was the last of Holywood’s golden era.

  3. This is so sad…Elizabeth Taylor raised so much money for HIV research and was the first star to publicly associate herself with this deadly virus.Her impassioned speaches helped the sufferers to realise someone was on your side.
    When I was very young I saw her live in the play Little Foxes in Los Angeles and her acting was amazing.I met her at a charity fundraiser years later and she was inspiring , criticizing President Reagan for his inaptitude in recognising and helping AIDS patients

  4. When George Bush (1) was doing nothing about AIDS in the early 1990s, she publicly took him on and won – Taylor helped change the official policy on AIDS by exposing the shame of inaction and indifference of the Bush and Reagan administrations. As a result, she changed and probably saved many thousands of lives. This is a woman who did something more with her celebrity than pose on red carpets. A job well done.

  5. I knew Liz had been sick for some time, still her death came as a big shock. She had not really recovered since the death of her friend Michael Jackson back in mid-2009. She was well and truly a screen legend.

  6. I use Taming of the Shrew at work (I’m an English teacher) and my students always comment on how much they enjoy her performance. Her first moment on screen in that film where it is just an extreme closeup on her eye – cinema magic! Such a beautiful and talented woman who had such a major impact on the world – both in her acting and her humanitarian work. Vale.

  7. Like others, i am with much sadness this morning, waking up to this news. There are some stars that you feel are immortal, and Elizabeth Taylor for me, was such an icon. Such beauty, such raw talent and such a compassionate and generous human being, and indeed human ‘doing’. Thank you David, for honouring her, and celebrating her in this post. Her notorious life and marriages, her various health issues and her extraordinary screen career, are equalled by that breathtaking beauty and pioneering spirit in the cause of AIDS.
    She may be gone, but never forgotten!

  8. This is so sad, I didn’t realise she had been hospitalised; I really hope she went peacefully. She was so great and beautiful; (and just to name two films) her wonderful performance in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and the great Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf , a film which left such a lasting impression on me. Still love ya Liz!

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