Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor dead at 79

03.23.11 6 years ago

AP Photo

Famed actress and humanitarian Elizabeth Taylor has died at the age of 79 according to various reports from CNN, MSNBC and ABC News.

Taylor had been admitted into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles two months ago for congestive heart failure.

Famous for her off screen romances and seven divorces, Taylor’s career harkened back to the golden age of Hollywood. Her career took off after the 1944 blockbuster “National Velvet” when Taylor was just 12-years-old.  She gained even more fame as she grew older with roles in films such as “A Place in the Sun” (1951) and “Giant” (1955).  Taylor then found herself nominated for the Oscar for best actress “Raintree County” (1957), “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958) and “Suddenly, Last Summer” (1959). She eventually won her first Academy Award for “Butterfield 8” (1960). These performances helped turn Taylor into the biggest female star of her time. She had highs and lows in the ’60s having starred in the mammothly expensive “Cleopatra” (1963) (which almost destroyed studio 20th Century Fox) and winning her second Oscar for arguably her best performance, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?”  She also starred in seven films with husband Richard Burton during this decade, including “Wolf” and “The Taming of the Shrew,” as the couple became tabloid and gossip fodder.

Taylor’s screen career faltered in the 70s and she spent more time on the stage and small screen.  Additionally, she launched a jewelry and subsequent perfume line that made her millions even into the 21st Century. 

The actresses greatest achievement, however, may have been her charitable contributions to fighting AIDS.  She helped found American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFar) in 1985 after the death of her good friend Rock Hudson.  She also formed her own foundation which raised millions to help fight the disease.  Taylor received the 1992 Jean Herscholt Humanitarian Academy Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her work to fight AIDS.  In 1999, Taylor was made a Dame Commander in the Order of the British Empire.

Look for more on Taylor throughout the day on HitFix.

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