Fans and friends of Elizabeth Taylor are remembering the film icon. She died Wednesday at age 79. She’d been undergoing treatment for congestive heart failure at L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
The life of Elizabeth Taylor spanned, and helped to define, Hollywood’s transition from the height of studio power to an era in which stars called the shots.
She started her movie career as a pre-teen in the 1940s. Elizabeth Taylor burst on the movie scene as a young blue-eyed beauty in the 1944 MGM classic “National Velvet.”
The violet-blue eyed beauty grew into a bejeweled screen goddess. She reached beyond sex kitten roles to play empresses, temptresses and aging drunks.
She won her first Academy Award in 1960 for Butterfield 8, in which she portrayed a call girl with daddy issues. Her character explained, “I was 13, my father was dead. All older men seemed like fathers to me. But I wanted one of my own. To sit in his lap and to hug him. And have him say I was beautiful."
She won Oscars twice, the second for her role in “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” – the 1966 tale of the alcohol-drenched relationship of a bitter aging couple played by Taylor and Burton.
Taylor was a married, divorced international superstar before she turned 20. She was a widow before she was 30.
Ultimately, she married eight times to seven men – twice to actor Richard Burton. In the era of Hollywood glamor, Taylor was the reigning queen. She married the famous and the wealthy – with Senator John Warner among her husbands.
In recent decades, she distinguished herself as much for her AIDS fundraising and activism as for her screen career. Taylor won a special Academy Award in recognition of her humanitarian work.
Her son Michael Wilding says in a statement his mother was "an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest with great passion, humor and love.”