If ever an actress deserved the title: “Queen Of Hollywood” (stop your tittering at he back, class! ) it is the iconic and legendary Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, DBE.She was born on February 27th, 1932 on British soil – specifically in Hampstead Garden Suburb, (a north-western suburb of London) to American parents, meaning that she enjoyed dual-citizenship.Elizabeth was an exceptionally pretty child, with beautiful violet-coloured eyes and when her parents relocated to America (just before the outbreak of World War 11) she quickly became an in-demand “child-star” (and at MGM no less, the top movie-studio of the era).Elizabeth made her acting debut in “There’s One Born Every Minute” (1942) but it was however, her role as Velvet Brown in “National Velvet” (1944) which brought her early international fame and transformed her into a true movie-star.She went on to make many iconic pictures throughout her career, including “Butterfield 8” (1960) and “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolf?” (1966), both of which won her the “Best Actress” Academy Award as well as “Suddenly Last Summer”, “Giant”, “Ivanhoe”, “Cat On A hot Tin Roof”, “A Place In The Sun”, “Little Women” and one of the most expensive movies ever made – 1963’s “Cleopatra”, which still enjoys a certain notoriety in the annals of film-history, not least because Taylor was paid $4 million dollars for the title-role (equating to about $47 million today!) and because she nearly died at the beginning of filming due to a severe viral infection/pnemonia (in fact, Elizabeth was plagued with ill-health throughout her life, being hospitalised more than 70 times and enduring at least 20 major operations; she herself claimed to have almost died on four occasions).Apart from being a hugely talented and beautiful actress, she was an exceptional humanitarian who co-founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) with Dr. Michael Gottlieb and Dr. Mathilde Krim in 1985 as well as hosting the First AIDS benefit in Los Angeles in 1984.Elizabeth Taylor was just one of fourteen women in the world who became a self-made billionaire.In the 1990’s she was earning more than $62.9 million a year! When she died of congestive heart failure at the age of 79 on March 23rd 2011, her fortune was estimated to be worth over $1 billion; the last time her fortune was made public (in 1994) it was declared that she owned more than $104 million in the form of interest-bearing bank accounts, $274.21 million in stocks and bonds and around $127.45 million in the form of real estate, whilst her ” Elizabeth Taylor” fragrance (which she created with Elizabeth Arden) was reported to have amassed over $1 billion through sales, on its own.Elizabeth Taylor was a remarkable and charasmatic woman, one whose luminosity and charisma was as over-powering as her talent and beauty; she will live on forever through her four children, ten grandchildren and four great-grand-children, but more especially (it has to be said) in her celluloid performances, which have thrilled (and will continue to thrill) audiences around the globe for over six decades.The three images I have selected for my Elizabeth Taylor tribute show her at her glamorous and most bewitching; ultimately her stardom (and legend) transcended all that life threw at her…..
TEXT ©copyright Gary Alston 2013.
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