On this day, 80 years ago, one of the greatest stars ever to grace Hollywood and silver screens around the world was born. Let’s take a look back and celebrate the life and works of Dame Elizabeth Taylor.
On February 27, 1932, Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born in Hampstead Garden Suburb in northwestern London, to art dealer Francis Lenn Taylor and former stage actress Sara Viola Warmbrodt, an American couple residing in England. She was the younger of two children, her older brother Howard born two years ahead of her.
Taylor and her family had to leave England just before World War II began. To avoid the dangers of war, the Taylors returned to the United States, arrived in New York in 1939, and eventually settled in Los Angeles. There, Taylor’s father established a new art gallery, which featured several paintings he obtained from England. Through this, the Taylors gained access to the society’s rich and famous, and many Hollywood celebrities who found the European paintings appealing.
Soon, Taylor joined Hollywood’s roster of young stars. She was signed up as a child actress under Universal Pictures in 1942. Shortly after, the nine-year-old British-born American actress starred in her first motion picture, There’s One Born Every Minute. However, this was her only movie under Universal, for the studio let go of her for unknown reasons in less than a year. It didn’t take long before Taylor worked on another film, as her father’s service as an air raid warden with MGM producer Sam Marx led her to audition and obtain a role in Lassie Come Home in 1943.
Taylor was 12 when she was casted in National Velvet, a 1944 drama film which catapulted her to stardom. She eventually starred in many other successful MGM films, her role as Amy in Little Women (1949) being her last adolescent role. Although she was only 16, Taylor easily transitioned to adult roles, unlike other child actors. She received her first adult role as a 21-year-old debutante in the 1949 British thriller film Conspirator.
Taylor appeared in a string of successful films soon after, including BUtterfield 8, which won her an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1960. She would win another Best Actress Academy Award for her performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf six years later. By then, she had already became known for her unique beauty, glamorous lifestyle, and striking violet eyes. One of her most memorable performance is her title role in the 1963 epic drama film Cleopatra.
Aside from her film roles and exceptional beauty, Taylor was also put on the spotlight for her personal life and advocacies. She married eight times, struggled with several serious health problems, and rallied for HIV/AIDS and Jewish causes.
Now, through some photos, let’s take time to remember the colorful life of Dame Elizabeth Taylor who remains one of the most influential actresses to have ever graced silver screens around the world, the beautiful lady who has been dubbed as the “greatest movie star of all.”
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