Elizabeth Taylor died earlier today of congestive heart failure at the age of 79. Taylor had been hospitalized for her condition since February.
Taylor made her silver screen debut as a 10-year-old in There’s One Born Every Minute, but it was her role in National Velvet a couple years later that captured national attention. Since then, Taylor has gone on to become one of the most legendary actresses in cinema history. Her most notable films include A Place in the Sun, Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cleopatra, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (for which she won the Best Actress Academy Award). Taylor’s last cinematic appearance was in 1994’s The Flintstones, in which she played Wilma’s mother. She has also made various television appearances over the years.
Taylor was as well-known for her offscreen life as her onscreen career. She embodied Hollywood glamour, with her often stormy personal life, her taste for jewels, and her stunningly high salaries. Cleopatra made her the first actress to break the seven-figure mark in 1963, and also marked the beginning of perhaps her most famous romance, to co-star Richard Burton. In all, Taylor was married eight times over five decades, twice to Burton.
In the 1980s, Taylor became an early advocate of the fight against AIDS, after the death of her former colleague Rock Hudson from the disease. She helped start The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), an organization that is still active today. For her charitable work, Taylor was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Academy in 1992.
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