During the height of her career, Elizabeth Taylor shared the Hollywood stage with the likes of other actors and actresses such as Gene Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland, and Marlon Brando. It is, however, hard to find another actress that could better exemplify this Golden Age of Hollywood movie production. Actress Elizabeth Taylor was known for her beauty and on screen charm that set her up to star in countless Hollywood classics.
She was born in Hampstead, London, England to two wealthy americans residing there. Her mother had been a stage actress and her father, an art dealer. Along with her family, she moved to the United States 7 years later and entered the Hollywood scene as an actress at an early age. Through her parents’ connections, Taylor landed her first Hollywood contract at the age of 9. It was worth 6 months, renewable, and payed 100 dollars a week. Her first role was in the comedy There’s One Born Every Minute. It was her first and only role during her time with Universal as her contract was cancelled. She soon signed a new contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, setting her up for her next role in Lassie Come Home as Priscilla. The movie was warmly received and Taylor continued her young career.
Although her first couple movies with adulthood roles such at 1949’s Conspirator and 1950’s The Big Hangover would be considered dissapointments at the box office, Taylor was praised for her performances nonetheless. In 1950, she starred in Father of the Bride, a romantic comedy that was successful at the box office. This success set Taylor up with a sequel and countless other dramatic lead roles in movies such as Love is Better than Ever, Invanhoe, and Rhapsody. She married Hilton hotel heir Conrad Hilton at the young age of 18. The marriage didn’t last and Taylor married british actor Michael Wilding soon after (with whom she’d have 2 children). Other movies began to gain Taylor even more praise, thus earning her academy award nominations for such films as Raintree County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Suddeny, Last Summer.
While filming the classic movie Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with actor Paul Newman, Taylor’s life was struck with tragedy when third husband Mike Todd was killed in a place crash. Taylor persevered and continued the filming. She won her first academy award for best actress in 1960’s BUtterfield 8. In 1960, Taylor became Hollwood’s highest paid actress for her role in Cleopatra. The film was the role of a lifetime for Taylor but was plagued by delays and increased production costs. In fact, film almost bankrupted 20th Century Fox. Despite this, the film was nominated for 9 academy awards(including 1 for best picture), 4 of which it won. On the set of the film, Taylor began a romance with co-star Richard Burton. The two later married and went on to star in a lot of other films throughout the 1960’s including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?, a movie that earned Taylor her second Oscar for best actress.
Throughout the 1970’s, Taylor continued to star in films but her power at the box office had considerably diminished. Taylor was known for her life off the camera as well. She had her own struggles with substance abuse and checked into the Betty Ford Clinic in the early 1990’s. She was also a notable advocate for the fight against aids. She was noted for her close friendship with superstar Michael Jackson, with whom she shared a similar childhood. Towards the late 1980’s, Taylor began appearing in less roles.