Elizabeth Taylor: The Life and Career of Classic Hollywood's Last Star

Roxana Anton

One of the biggest stars that ever crossed this earth, and one of Classic Hollywood’s most beautiful, unforgettable actresses, Elizabeth Taylor was born in the UK and is considered to be the last big star of Hollywood’s golden era.

The British-American actress was awarded the Oscar twice and received the American Film Institute Award for her entire career.

She grew up in London, before the start of the Second World War, in a wealthy family that made her attend the best schools and study dance.

During the War, the family moved to Los Angeles, and there, under the careful supervision of her mother, a retired actress herself, started the long career of Elizabeth Taylor.

She received her first role at the age of nine.

A few remarkable movies from her early years are Little Women (1949), Father of the Bride (1950), A Place in the Sun (1951), Ivanhoe (1952), The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954), Giant (with James Dean), from 1956, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Butterfield 8 (1960).

The last film earned her the first Academy Award in her long career.

She always said how uncomfortable that role was to her, as she wanted to do Cleopatra.

Elizabeth won her second Academy Award for her role in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966 )

After one year, she did The Taming of the Shrew directed by Franco Zeffirelli, where she played together with her beloved, controversial husband, Richard Burton, that had already been on her side in Cleopatra.

It has been told and believed that Richard Burton was the most important love of her life, and her seven husbands.

When Elizabeth and Richard met in Rome, on the set of Cleopatra, they were both married. So their relationship caused big rumors in the international press. Even the Vatican sent them an open letter that was talking about their behavior.

A year after, Elizabeth and Richard were both getting a divorce, and married each other. He gifted her a 68-carat diamond, that was going to become famous as the Taylor-Burton diamond.

Their love was going to be profound but still destined to end, after ten years.

Elizabeth got married several times after and ended up fighting for humanitarian causes, with her huge patrimony trying to serve the causes that she believed in.

This way, she concluded, at the age of 79, a legendary, full life, that got her everything a woman could ever want. Maybe, except true love. But she probably had a lot of that too.

From the list of her memorable films, I will remember my favorite ones, this is of course subjective and you can also share your thoughts about your favorite Elizabeth Taylor movies if you appreciate them at all.

#1. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958 film)


Did you ever have relationships/marriage issues?

I had seen this one as a teenager, and what a pleasant surprise to watch it 20 years later, even though at first I was reluctant! I find that I have a much deeper understanding of the situations the characters must face and their deep psychology when it comes to certain life choices.

It is a family drama directed by Richard Brooks, based on the 1955 Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Tennessee Williams. (source: Wikipedia)

Liz Taylor and Paul Newman play an unhappy married couple with alcohol addiction and other problems.

In my opinion, it’s a movie full of realism, about marriage and its “not always pink” challenges, made great thanks to the two extraordinary main characters.

#2. The Mirror Crack’d — 1980


Made after Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple novel The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (1962).

It stars Angela Lansbury, Kim Novak, Elizabeth Taylor, Geraldine Chaplin, Tony Curtis, Edward Fox, Rock Hudson, and Pierce Brosnan.

For me, it’s one of the classics, and in case you haven’t seen it yet, I do advise you to.

I’m probably the only person in the world who’s not a big fan of Agatha Christie, but this one has something special, as I thought the story is deeply touching, doubled by Liz Taylor’s interpretation.

She plays a famous actress who has to get along with all the traumatic events happening in her life, and at a certain point- she collapses. The psychological struggle is very well portrayed by Liz Taylor, and makes, in my opinion, the best of the movie.

I hope I have intrigued you a little bit to watch these two films, can’t wait to see if someone will, and what you thought about them.

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