Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor has died at age 79. Taylor, known as much for her off-screen life as her on-screen portrayals, died as the result of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles.
“We have just lost a Hollywood giant. More importantly we have lost an incredible human being,” singer Elton John said in a statement.
Below, in pictures, the style and grace of Elizabeth Taylor:
Taylor was born in London to American parents. The outbreak of WWII sent Taylor to Hollywood, where the young beauty was quickly was noticed by talent scouts. Her big break came with National Velvet, in 1944, making the 12 year old girl a star. She remained in child roles until the 1950s, where her beauty and talent would be put to good use in many films.
Her movies during the 50s and 60s included Father of the Bride, A Place in the Sun, Ivanhoe, Giant, Suddenly, Last Summer, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Butterfield 8, Cleopatra, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and many others. Her popularity at the box office waned in the late 60s, but her star power never diminished.
Taylor was nominated for five Oscars, winning twice, for Butterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
Off screen, Taylor was famed for her many husbands, which included Conrad Hilton, Michael Wilding, Michael Todd, Richard Burton (twice), Eddie Fisher, John Warner and Larry Fortensky.
Taylor worked for many humanitarian causes in her later years, including fighting for those suffering from AIDs (Taylor’s friend, Rock Hudson, died from the disease). She had battled various health problems over the years.
In May 2000, Taylor received the title “Dame,” the female equivalent of a knighthood, from Queen Elizabeth.
She died surrounded by her children, Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton. In addition to her children, she is survived by 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
“Elizabeth Taylor was a great friend, a great star and one gutsy woman. She was so special. You won’t see the likes of her again… If Elizabeth took on a battle, she took it on 100%. She was first major celeb in the AIDS battle and she made it her cause…”
“I met Elizabeth Taylor several times. She was witty and self-deprecating, which I found surprising and delightful. She loved to laugh.”
“Today my friend Elizabeth Taylor passed away. Oddly, we all knew this day was coming but still her passing took my breath away. She was a funny, loud, joke tellin, diamond loving, fantastic woman. She played a big role in shaping my life as Whoopi Goldberg. It really is the end of an era.”
“Elizabeth…thank u for the lessons u taught me about life..suffering and Joy….you are the BRIGHTEST STAR in the universe..Eternal love.”
“Elizabeth taylor! Rest in peace sweet angel. No star has ever illuminated the world quite like you. You were the first to champion those suffering with AIDS publicly. Today, the world loses, but heaven just became very very glamorous. We will miss you terribly.”
“Liz Taylor lived life with grace, class and a deep respect for others. The heavens now shine with a bright new star.”
“Sad to hear of Elizabeth Taylor’s death. She was the 1st major celebrity to join me in the fight against AIDS when it wasn’t a popular cause.”
“Such a sad day, Elizabeth Taylor was the last of the Hollywood greats, and a fantastically charming woman. She also did a great deal in the last 25 years to help the world deal with the HIV epidemic. I am proud to have known her if only a little. She was also the only person I’ve ever met that had violet eyes. They were genuinely violet. So beautiful.”
“Surely the greatest screen beauty of them all?
“R.I.P the amazing Liz Taylor, goddess, actress, aids activist and one of the worlds true beauties!”
“RIP Dame Elizabeth Taylor…..Like a pure white diamond you’ll shine on and on and on.”