Thursday, March 24, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor die sat the 79

Dame Elizabeth Rosemont Taylor, debatably the last great female star of the Hollywood studio system, has died at the age of 79.

The Oscar-winning star died in the early hours of the morning at Cedars-Sinai medical centre in Los Angeles, from congestive heart failure, according to her orator Sally Morrison. She said Taylor's children were at her side.

Dame Elizabeth, who had been in sick health for a number of years, was taken to the hospital with heart failure six weeks ago. A spokeswoman for the hospital said: "She passed away at 1.28."
Taylor's glowing screen presence, allied to a colorful private life, made her a mainstay of US popular culture for more than 50 years. She won her first best actress Oscar for playing the self-styled "slut of the world" in 1960s Butterfields 8. Her second came courtesy of a stimulating turn opposite then-husband Richard Burton in the 1966 drama who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Born in Hampstead, north London, Taylor relocated to the US in 1939 and made her screen introduction as a nine-year-old in the 1942 Universal comedy there’s One Born Every Minute. She found celebrity as the perky child star of Lassie Come Home and National Velvet before graduating to adult roles with the 1950 comedy Father of the Bride.

The following year she rustled up one of her the majority vibrant and vital performances in A Place in the Sun. George Stevens’ melodrama cast her as a spoiled debutante who bewitches Montgomery Clift's determined social climber. According to the critic Andrew Sarris, the film's youthful actors were "the most beautiful pair in the history of cinema. Those enormous close-ups of them kissing were unnerving – like gorging on chocolate sundaes."

Other prominent roles were in Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly, Last Summer and Reflections in a Golden Eye. Yet Taylor's on-screen ability was often upstaged by the ongoing soap-opera of her personal life. She was married eight times to seven husbands and sparked a scandal when she began an issue with the British actor Richard Burton on the set of Cleopatra.

The couple get married in 1964 and divorced a decade later. They remarried in 1975 and then split again the following year. Throughout this period they were embraced as the hydra-headed emblem of Hollywood glamour, their lives a whirl of ritzy premieres, champagne receptions and generous movie collaborations. "It was probably the most disordered time of my life," Taylor would later recall. "It was entertaining and it was dark – oceans of tears – but there were some good times too."

Throughout her life, Taylor seemed drawn to easily broken souls and those in need. She reportedly saved the life of the disgracefully self-destructive Montgomery Clift following a car crash in 1956. Spurred on by the 1985 death of her friend Rock Hudson, she helped found the American Federation for Aids Research and went on to increase an estimated $50m to fight the disease. More recently, she rode to the defense of Michael Jackson after the singer was arraigned on charges of child abuse.

Away from the cameras, her own life was punctuated by physical condition problems. She survived a brain tumor, suffered from a heart condition and reportedly broke her backside on five separate occasions. In later life, she was largely restricted to a wheelchair as a result of osteoporosis. Yet there was something resilient about Elizabeth Taylor – a fighting spirit belied by her famous good looks. "I've been throughout it all, baby," she once boasted. "I'm Mother Courage."


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