Dubbed one of the most beautiful actresses that have ever walked this Earth, Elizabeth Taylor was a true diva. Her unique appearance, her double row of lashes due to a condition known as distichiasis, and her incredible eyes which were purple-colored only added to her gorgeousness.
Her beauty, along with her raw talent, were a reason enough for her mother to “push” her into the world of film. Well, it wasn’t that young Elizabeth didn’t like to act, although she would confess later in life that she was sorry she missed having an ordinary chidhood.
She signed her first contract with Universal Studios when she was still very young, and at 10 years of age, she already had her debut in the film There’s One Born Every Minute. What followed were the films Lassie Come Home (1943) and The White Cliffs of Dover (1944). Her big breakthrough, however, came with the film National Velvet in which she played a tomboy. At that point, she already had her contract with MGM because apparently, she was fired by Universal Studios before that for reasons unknown. Some magazines reported that the casting director believed “her eyes were too old,” and that “she didn’t have the face of a child.”
Over the years, she appeared in a number of movies and received plenty of attention and awards, including two Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Butterfield 8 (1961) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1967), as well as the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, awarded to individuals for “outstanding contributions to humanitarian causes.”
Elizabeth’s private life was as exciting as her very successful career which spanned almost her entire life. Her eight marriages placed her name in a number of gossip and celebrity news headlines, but despite that, she never stopped looking for love.
The Cleopatra star was married eight times, twice to the same man, actor Richard Burton.
Her first marriage, to hotel heir Nicky Hilton, didn’t last long because according to the actress herself, she was too young and probably expected a lot. He second husband, Michael Wilding, was twenty years her senior. They had two children together, Michael Jr., born in 1953, and Christopher, born in 1955.
Elizabeth married movie producer Mike Todd in 1957. The two welcomed daughter Lizz, but just a year later, he died in a plane crash. During the time of grieving, she got really close to her late husband’s best friend Eddie Fisher, who was married to actress Debbie Reynolds at the time. One thing led to another and the two decided to marry. Only after their divorce did Elizabeth and Debbie smoothed things between them.
One of her most controversial relationships was that with actor Richard Burton. They married twice and divorced that many times. They adopted a daughter from Germany named Maria together.
In 1967, Elizabeth married her seventh husband, John Warner, a Republican politician from Virginia.
Her last husband, Larry Fortensky, was 20 years younger than her. The two met at the Betty Ford Clinic in 1988. According to him, she was there for pills and he for beer.
Their relationship continued even after they left the clinic and tied the knot in 1991 in a ceremony held at Michael Jackson’s ranch Neverland. The wedding cost $1.6 million.
As their relationship was surrounded by plenty of rumors, Larry decided to speak up and reveal the truth. “Of course, she was very pretty, and I wasn’t too bad-looking in those days either. We had an instant physical attraction,” he said of the time they first met.
He spoke of her as of a very special person with a sense of humor and childish spirit. One of the most vibrant memories of her that he cherished was from their trip to Switzerland. “I chased her outside, and she fell in the snow and started waving her arms around giggling like a little girl. That is my favorite picture. I keep it by my bed,” he said. “That’s how I remember Elizabeth. She had a childishness about her. She was 20 years older than me, but I never felt she was old.”
Elizabeth was very passionate about their relationship and she would often shower him with expensive gifts. One time, she bought him a brand new Harley-Davidson motorbike, as well as a BMW for his birthday.
He, of course, couldn’t compete with her. “I knew I couldn’t compete with Elizabeth, so I didn’t try. When she gave me the bike, I gave her chocolate-covered roses. Another year I bought her a baby lop-eared bunny which she loved,” he said.
He added how she was used to being photographed all the time, but he had a hard time coping with paparazzi and cameras.
Even after their divorce, Elizabeth and Larry remained very close friends and that friendship was something they both nurtured until the end of her life.
When she passed away in 2011, from congestive heart failure, Elizabeth left Larry $500,000 in her will to “honor their friendship.”
The rest of her huge fortune was inherited by her children. As for her jewels and perfumes, they were auctioned off and the money went to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, a cause she kept close to her heart her entire life.