Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, 1932 - 2011

portrait of Elizabeth Taylor
USO performance with Bob Hope on USS LIvinsgston (1 May 1986)
1954

Born: 27 February 1932, Hampstead, London, England, UK
Died: 23 March 2011, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California

Elizabeth (never "Liz") was born to an art dealer and a former actress, her American parents and English birth made her a citizen of both nations. She started ballet lessons at three and soon was learning to ride horses. The family returned to the US immediately before World War II began and settled at Los Angeles. Under contract to Universal Pictures she appeared in her first film at age nine but her contract was terminated. With MGM she appeared in Lassie Came Home and was "loaned out" to 20th Century Fox and soon was campaigning to get the role of Velvet Brown in National Velvet. The studio needed a girl who could handle a horse and a British accent but rejected her because of her height. She grew a little and the studio relented, she made a great impression on the public but also on the turf, she broke her back for the first of five times during filming. She appeared in over 50 films before her retirement in 1994. Over the years she married seven men, one of them twice, won two Best Actress Oscars, overcame alcoholism, and raised over $100 million for AIDS research and prevention. She was known for her perfectly-symmetrical face, violet eyes, and heavy eyelashes that were the result of a mutation that gave her twice the normal number. She had a number of health issues, including multiple hip replacements, skin cancer, a benign brain tumor, and finally congestive heart failure, presumably brought on by smoking for many years. She required a wheel chair for the last several years of her life, her heart problems caused her admission at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center about six weeks before her death there.

Biography from Wikipedia and The New York Times obituary

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