Legendary film star Elizabeth Taylor, one of the few remaining giants of Hollywood’s Golden Age, died in Los Angeles Wednesday at 79. View photos of her life and watch Paul Newman’s tribute. Plus, full coverage of Elizabeth Taylor.
Nominated for many Academy Awards, Taylor won Best Actress for Butterfield 8 in 1961 and for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1966. In addition to her silver-screen success, Taylor was well-known for her flashy style and her many marriages—eight, to seven different men, including Richard Burton (twice), Eddie Fisher, and former Sen. John Warner. Born in London to American parents, she moved with her family to the U.S. in 1939 to escape World War II. Taylor had been ill with congestive heart failure for several years and was hospitalized in February.
Elizabeth Taylor’s Life
Elizabeth Taylor's Many Men
Watch: Paul Newman’s Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor
Taylor was also one of the earliest Hollywood activists fighting against AIDS. After her friend and co-star Rock Hudson died of the disease, she decided she could not sit back any longer. Taylor joined with a group of physicians and scientists to form amfAR in 1985. "I could no longer take a passive role as I watched several people I knew and loved die a painful, slow and lonely death," Taylor said in an interview about her activism. "Even if we make the smallest gesture, at least we are making an impact.” Taylor went on to found an organization that bore her own name and it’s one of the few celebrity AIDS charities to focus primarily on victims in the United States. Taylor dedicated the past 25 years of her life to battling the epidemic, testifying on Capitol Hill, paying visits to victims in hospitals, and lobbying politicians for funds to find a cure. “I hope with all of my heart that in some way I have made a difference in the lives of people with AIDS," Taylor once said. “I want that to be my legacy. Better that than for the mole on my cheek.”
William J. Mann is the author of Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn, which was named a New York Times Notable Book. Mann has worked as a freelance journalist and editor, and has written several other works of fiction and nonfiction. He divides his time between Massachusetts and California.