Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor, DBE (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011) was an English-born American actress. Beginning as a child star then throughout her adulthood, she became known for her acting talent, glamour and beauty; as well as a much publicized private life, which included eight marriages, several near-death experiences, and decades spent as a social activist, championing the cause of AIDS awareness, research and cure. Taylor, a two-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress, was considered one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age. The American Film Institute named Taylor seventh on its Female Legends list.
Taylor was married eight times to seven husbands, with all but one ending in divorce. When asked why she married so often, she replied "I don’t know, honey. It sure beats the hell out of me." The husbands were:
Conrad "Nicky" Hilton (May 6, 1950 – January 29, 1951) The marriage was unhappy and ended in divorce after nine months.
Michael Wilding (February 21, 1952 – January 26, 1957) Wilding was 20 years older than Taylor.
Michael Todd (February 2, 1957 – March 22, 1958) Todd's death ended Taylor's only marriage to not result in divorce. She later called Todd one of the two loves of her life, with Burton.
Eddie Fisher (May 12, 1959 – March 6, 1964) Todd's best friend, Fisher, consoled Todd's widow, Taylor, after his death. They began an affair while Fisher was still married to Debbie Reynolds, causing a scandal.
Richard Burton (March 15, 1964 – June 26, 1974) The press closely followed Burton and Taylor's relationship before, during, and after their 10 years of marriage, due to great public interest in "the most famous film star in the world and the man many believed to be the finest classical actor of his generation." Taylor hoped to focus on her marriage over her career, and gained weight in an unsuccessful attempt to not receive film roles.
Richard Burton (October 10, 1975 – July 29, 1976) Sixteen months after divorcing they remarried in a mud hut in Botswana, but soon separated and redivorced in 1976. Burton once disagreed with others about Taylor's famed beauty, saying that calling her "the most beautiful woman in the world is absolute nonsense. She has wonderful eyes, but she has a double chin and an overdeveloped chest, and she’s rather short in the leg." On another occasion, however, he praised her lavishly, stating that, "She was unquestionably gorgeous. I can think of no other word to describe a combination of plentitude, frugality, abundance, tightness. She was lavish. She was a dark unyielding largesse. She was, in short, too bloody much."
John Warner (December 4, 1976 – November 7, 1982) As with Burton, Taylor sought to be known as the wife of her husband, a United States Senator from Virginia. Unhappy with her life in Washington, however, Taylor became depressed and entered the Betty Ford Clinic.
Larry Fortensky (October 6, 1991 – October 31, 1996) Taylor and Fortensky met during another stay at the Betty Ford Clinic and were married at the Neverland Ranch.
Taylor converted from Christian Science to Judaism between her marriages to Todd and Fisher.
Taylor struggled with physical health issues during much of her life, and many times newspaper headlines announced that she was close to death. In 2004 it was announced that she was suffering from congestive heart failure, and in 2009 she underwent cardiac surgery to replace a leaky valve. In February 2011, new symptoms related to congestive heart failure caused her to be admitted into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for treatment.
Taylor died on March 23, 2011, surrounded by her four children at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 79.
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