Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born in London, England on February
27, 1932. Although she was born an English subject, her parents
were American who were art dealers from St. Louis, Missouri. Her
father had gone to London to set up a gallery. Her mother had been
an actress on the stage, but gave up that vocation when she
married. Elizabeth lived in London for the first seven years of her
life before the family left when the dark clouds of war began
brewing in 1939. The family sailed without her father who stayed
behind to wrap up the loose ends of the art business. The family
relocated to Los Angeles, California where Mrs. Taylor's own family
had moved. Mr. Taylor followed not long afterward. A family friend
noticed the beautiful little Elizabeth and suggested that she be
taken for a screen test. She passed and was signed to a contract
with Universal Studios. Her first foray onto the silver screen was
in the film, called a short, _There's One Born Every Minute (1942)_
(qv) released in 1942 when she was ten. Universal let the contract
drop after the one film and Elizabeth was picked up by MGM. The
first production she made with them was _Lassie Come Home (1943)_
(qv) (1943). On the strength of that one film, MGM signed her to a
full year. Her next two films were minuscule parts in 1944, _White
Cliffs of Dover, The (1944)_ (qv) and _Jane Eyre (1944)_ (qv). The
former was made while she was on loan to Fox Studios. Then came the
film that made Elizabeth a star, MGM's _National Velvet (1944)_
(qv) in 1944. She played Velvet Brown opposite 'Mickey Rooney'
(qv). The film was a smash hit grossing over $4 million. Now she
had a long term contract with MGM and was their top child star.
With no films in 1945, she returned in 1946 in _Courage Of Lassie
(1946)_ (qv). In 1947, when she was 15, Elizabeth starred in _Life
with Father (1947)_ (qv) co-starring with such cinema heavyweights
as 'William Powell' (qv), 'Irene Dunne' (qv), and 'ZaSu Pitts'
(qv). Thoughout the balance of the 40s and into the early 50s,
Elizabeth appeared in film after film with mostly good results.
1954 proved her busiest year to date with roles in _Rhapsody
(1954)_ (qv), _Beau Brummell (1954)_ (qv), _Last Time I Saw Paris,
The (1954)_ (qv) and _Elephant Walk (1954)_ (qv). She was 22 and,
now, a beautiful young woman. In 1956, Elizabeth appeared in the
hit _Giant (1956)_ (qv) with 'James Dean' (qv). Sadly, Dean never
saw the release of the film as he died in a car accident in 1955.
The next year saw Elizabeth star in _Raintree County (1957)_ (qv),
an overblown film made, partially, in Kentucky. The film was said
to be dry as dust. Despite the shortcomings of the film, Elizabeth
was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Southern
belle, Susanna Drake. Unfortunately for her, the honor went to
'Joanne Woodward' (qv) for _Three Faces Of Eve, The (1957)_ (qv),
on Oscar night. In 1958, Elizabeth starred as Maggie Pollitt, in
_Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958)_ (qv). The film received rave reviews
from the critics and Elizabeth was nominated again for another
Academy Award for best actress - losing to 'Susan Hayward' (qv) in
_I Want To Live (1958)_ (qv). She was a hot commodity in the film
world. In 1959, she again appeared in another mega-hit and again
another nomination for _Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)_ (qv). And
once again, she lost, this time to 'Simone Signoret' (qv) in _Room
At The Top (1959)_ (qv). Her Oscar drought ended in 1960 when
Elizabeth landed the coveted honor at last. As Gloria Wandrous in
_BUtterfield 8 (1960)_ (qv), Elizabeth performed flawlessly in the
role of a call-girl who is involved with a married man and who
later dies in an auto accident. Some of the critics blasted the
movie but they couldn't ignore her performance. There were no more
films for Elizabeth for three years. She had left MGM after her
contract ran out, but would do projects for them later down the
road. In 1963, Elizabeth starred in _Cleopatra (1963)_ (qv) which
was one of the most expensive productions to date, as was her
salary, said to be a whopping $1,000,000. This was also the film
where she met her future and fifth husband, 'Richard Burton' (qv).
(The previous four were, Conrad Hilton, 'Michael Wilding' (qv),
'Michael Todd (I)' (who died in a plane crash) and 'Eddie Fisher'
(qv)). Her next handful of films were lackluster at best,
especially 1963's _V.I.P.s, The (1963)_ (qv) which was torn apart
by most critics. Elizabeth was to return to fine form with her role
of Martha in 1966's _Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966)_ (qv).
The role as a loudmouth unkempt woman easily was her finest
personal performance to date. For this she would win her second
Oscar and one that was more than well-deserved. Her films afterward
didn't approach the intensity of that one. Since then she has
appeared in several films, both for the silver screen and
television. She also has appeared on a number of TV programs. Her
last was 1994's _Flinstones, The (1994)_ (qv). In February 1997,
Elizabeth entered the hospital for the removal of a brain tumor.
The operation was successful. As for her private life, she divorced
Burton in 1974, only to remarry him in 1975 and divorce,
permanently, in 1976. She has had two husbands since, Senator John
Warner and Larry Fortensky.
Biography courtesy of the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com).