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Elizabeth Taylor 

Known internationally for her beauty, especially for her violet eyes, with which she captured audiences early on in her youth in National Velvet and kept the world hooked on since.

Elizabeth Taylor

Filmography

1942      

There’s One Born Every Minute

 

1943      

Lassie Come Home

 

1944      

Jane Eyre

The White Cliffs of Dover

National Velvet

 

1946      

Courage of Lassie

 

1947      

Life with Father

Cynthia (aka The Rich Full Life)

 

1948      

A Date with Judy

Julia Misbehaves

 

1949      

Little Women

Conspirator

 

1950      

The Big Hangover

Father of the Bride

 

1951      

Father’s Little Dividend

A Place in the Sun

Quo Vadis

Callaway Went Thataway

 

1952      

Love Is Better Than Ever

Ivanhoe

 

1953      

The Girl Who Had Everything

 

1954      

Rhapsody

Elephant Walk

Beau Brummell

The Last Time I Saw Paris

 

1956      

Giant

 

1957      

Raintree County

 

1958      

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

 

1959      

Suddenly, Last Summer

 

1960      

Scent of Mystery

BUtterfield 8

 

1963      

Cleopatra

The V.I.P.s

 

1965      

The Sandpiper

 

1966      

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

 

1967      

The Taming of the Shrew

Doctor Faustus

Reflections in a Golden Eye

The Comedians

 

1968      

Boom!

Secret Ceremony

 

1969      

Anne of the Thousand Days

 

1970      

The Only Game in Town

 

1972      

X,Y, and Zee

Under Milk Wood

Hammersmith Is Out

 

1973      

Night Watch

Ash Wednesday

 

1974      

Identikit

 

1976      

The Blue Bird

 

1977      

A Little Night Music

 

1979      

Winter Kills

 

1980      

The Mirror Crack’d

 

1988      

Young Toscanini

Awards

Elizabeth Taylor was nominated for five competitive Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role and won two.

In 1993, she received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

If someone’s dumb enough to offer me a million dollars to make a picture, I’m certainly not dumb enough to turn it down. ~ Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born on February 27, 1932, at Heathwood, her family’s home in Hampstead Garden Suburb, London. She received dual British-American citizenship at birth, as her parents, art dealer Francis Lenn Taylor (1897–1968) and retired stage actress Sara Sothern (née Sara Viola Warmbrodt, 1895–1994), were United States citizens, both originally from Arkansas City, Kansas. They moved to London in 1929, and opened an art gallery on Bond Street; their first child, a son named Howard, was born the same year.

The family led a privileged life in London during Taylor’s childhood. She was enrolled in Byron House, a Montessori school in Highgate, and was raised according to the teachings of Christian Science, the religion of her mother.

The Taylors decided to return to the United States in the spring of 1939 due to the increasingly tense political situation in Europe. American ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy also contacted Francis and encouraged him to return to the U.S. with his family. Sara and the children left first in April 1939, and moved in with Taylor’s maternal grandfather in Pasadena, California. Francis stayed behind to close the London gallery, and joined them in December. In early 1940, he opened a new gallery in Los Angeles, and after briefly living in Pacific Palisades, the family settled in Beverly Hills, where Taylor and her brother were enrolled in Hawthorne School.

In California, Taylor’s mother was frequently told that her daughter should audition for films. Taylor’s eyes in particular drew attention; they were blue to the extent of appearing violet and were rimmed by dark double eyelashes. Sara was initially opposed to Taylor appearing in films, but after the outbreak of war in Europe made return there unlikely, she began to view the film industry as a way of assimilating to American society. Francis Taylor’s Beverly Hills gallery had gained clients from the film industry soon after opening, helped by the endorsement of gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. Through a client and a school friend’s father, Taylor auditioned for both Universal Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer early 1941. Both studios offered Taylor contracts, and Sara Taylor chose to accept Universal’s offer.

Taylor began her contract in April 1941, and was cast in a small role in There’s One Born Every Minute (1942). She did not receive other roles, and her contract was terminated after a year. Universal’s casting director explained her dislike of Taylor, stating that “the kid has nothing … her eyes are too old, she doesn’t have the face of a child”. Biographer Alexander Walker agrees that Taylor looked different from the child stars of the era, such as Shirley Temple and Judy Garland.

Taylor received another opportunity in late 1942, when her father’s acquaintance, MGM producer Samuel Marx, arranged her to audition for a minor role requiring an actress with an English accent in Lassie Come Ho