Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born in London, England, on February 27, 1932, to American parents Francis and Sara Taylor. Taylor was signed by Universal in 1941 for $200 a week, and made her screen debut at the age of 10 in “There’s One Born Every Minute”. She followed that up with a bigger role in “Lassie Come Home” and later “The White Cliffs of Dover”. Her breakout role, however, came in 1944 with “National Velvet”, in a role Elizabeth Taylor
spent four months working to get. In May 1950, she married Conrad N. Hilton Jr., whose family owned a chain of hotels, but the union lasted less than a year. After divorcing Hilton, she married British actor Michael Wilding, in February 1952. They had two sons. Between 1952 and 1956, Elizabeth Taylor played in many romantic films that did not demand great acting talent. In 1956, she played opposite James Dean in “Giant”, followed by the powerful “Raintree County”, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for the first time. In “Suddenly Last Summer” she received five hundred thousand dollars, the most ever earned by an actress for eight weeks of work and another Academy Award nomination.
In 1956, Taylor and Wilding separated, and in February 1957 she married producer Mike Todd. Taylor was shaken by James Dean’s death and her friend Montgomery Clift’s near fatal automobile accident, which occurred when the actor was driving home from a party at her house. In March 1958, her husband Mike Todd died in a plane crash. Taylor began trying to ease her grief with pills and alcohol. Her performance in the film “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” won her an Academy Award nomination and led to a relationship with singer Eddie Fisher, who had been Mike Todd’s best man at their wedding. In 1960, Taylor turned in one of her best performances in “Butterfield 8”, for which she won an Oscar as Best Actress. A few months later, in 1961, she signed with 20th Century Fox for $1 million, for the film Cleopatra, also starring Richard Burton. The two stars were soon romancing off the set as well as on, leading to criticism from the Vatican, which referred to the two stars as “adult children”. In early 2011, Taylor again experienced heart problems. Shortly after her death, her son Michael Wilding released a statement, saying “My mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love... We will always be inspired by her enduring contribution to our world”.
Until tomorrow: When people say, ‘She’s got everything’, I’ve got one answer, I haven’t had tomorrow.