Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011, that had a lot of fans in Iran, one of the last great screen legends and winner of two Academy Awards, died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles of complications from congestive heart failure; she was 79. . The actress had been hospitalized for the past few weeks, celebrating her birthday on February 27th. Her four children, two sons and two daughters, were by her side as she passed. A striking brunette beauty with violet eyes who embodied both innocence and seductiveness, and was known for her flamboyant private life and numerous marriages as well as her acting career, Taylor was the epitome of Hollywood glamour, and was one of the last legendary stars who could still command headlines and standing ovations in her later years.
Born to American parents in England in 1932, Taylor’s family decamped to Los Angeles as World War II escalated in the late 1930s. Even as a child, her amazing good looks — her eyes were amplified by a double set of eyelashes, a mutation she was born with — garnered the attention of family friends in Hollywood, and she undertook a screen test at 10 years old with Universal Studios. As she blossomed into a young woman, she began to outgrow the roles she was assigned, often playing women far older than her actual age. She scored another hit alongside Spencer Tracy as the young daughter preparing for marriage in Father of the Bride (1950), but her career officially entered adulthood with George Stevens’ A Place in the Sun (1951), as a seductive rich girl who bedazzles Montgomery Clift to the degree that he kills his pregnant girlfriend (Shelley Winters).
Elizabeth Taylor had some Great roles. Roles in two Tennessee Williams adaptations followed — Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Suddenly Last Summer (1959), both considered two of her best performances — earning her two more Oscar nominations, just as tragedy and notoriety would strike her life. In 1960’s Butterfield 8, where Taylor played prostitute Gloria Wandrous in a performance that was considered good but nowhere near her previous films, and earned her another Oscar nomination. She win her first Oscar for Butterfield 8. Taylor won, her second and final Academy Award for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).
Taylor was the biggest female star in the world, in terms of film and popularity, but her notoriety in 1960s was a funny matter. Twentieth Century Fox, making a small biopic about the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, tried to offer Taylor the part; she laughed them off, saying she would do it for $1 million, a then-unheard of sum for an actress. Taylor married U.S. Senator John Warner at the end of 1976, and during the late 1970s and 1980s played the politician’s wife, and her unsatisfying life led her to depression, drinking, overeating and ultimately a visit to the Betty Ford Center. He friendship with singer Michael Jackson, and her continual charity work, which was only sidelined by hospital visits after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2004. She had four children — two sons with Michael Wilding, a daughter with Michael Todd, and another daughter adopted with Richard Burton — and nine grandchildren.