Posted March 24, 2011 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in Features
 
 

Liz Taylor Top Films


Dame Elizabeth Taylor died on 23rd Mar of congestive heart failure at the age of 79 years old. Dan Clay takes a look at the life of one of Hollywood’s true legends. The violet-eyed screen goddess Elizabeth Taylor was a star at the tender age of 12 years old, thanks to a role in National Velvet. This was followed up by an equally influential performance in A Place In The Sun, and career-defining roles in Cleopatra, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Dame
Elizabeth Taylor died on 23rd Mar of congestive heart failure at the age of 79 years old. Dan Clay takes a look at the life of one of Hollywood’s true legends.

The violet-eyed screen goddess Elizabeth Taylor was a star at the tender age of 12 years old, thanks to a role in
National Velvet. This was followed up by an equally influential performance
in A Place In The Sun, and career-defining roles in Cleopatra, Cat
On A Hot Tin Roof and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in the late
50s and 60s. With over 50 films under her belt, she moved into television in the following decades with her last
film role in 1994’s The Flintstones, boosting a rather lacklustre
cartoon adaptation.

The excitment surrounding her onscreen talents was matched by the interest in her colourful personal life
that Elizabeth Taylor had early paparazzi salivating. She married eight times, nabbing the husband of her best friend (Debbie Reynolds) along the way. Twice bethrothed to Richard Burton, their
on-off love affair lasted until his death, during which
time the fiery pair starred on screen together in numerous movies and shows. Be-jewelled, be-furred and be-husbanded – Taylor was a true diva, her crowning moment being the near collapse of 20th
Century Fox after her behaviour on the set of 1963’s Cleopatra postponed
production.

Taylor might only be known to the younger generation as the voice of The Simpsons’ Maggie’s first word and as a member of
the late Michael Jackson’s eclectic, glamourous entourage. The rest of us know better. Here we count down her finest performances.

National Velvet (1944)


Her breakthrough role at the age of just 12 saw
Liz play Velvet Brown who trains a wild stallion to race in the Grand National.
After a euphoric victory on screen Liz was rewarded with the horse used for
filming as a birthday gift.

Little Women (1949)


In this adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s tale, Liz cemented her status as one to watch with a
performance as one of four daughters approaching womanhood which was one of the
year’s highest grossing films.

Father of the Bride (1950)


Superior many would say to Steve Martin’s
update, Liz plays the heartbreaker daddy’s girl to Spencer Tracey’s Father in a
role which showed just how beautiful this screen icon had become.

A Place in the Sun (1951)


A dark tale of lust and morality saw
Liz play a glamorous beauty in a plot not too dissimilar to Woody Allen’s Match
Point. While it earned the leads, Montgomery Cliff and Shelley Winters an Oscar
nomination each, it wouldn’t be long until her time would come.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)


Along with the previous year’s Raintree County,
Liz received her second Academy nomination for her role as the put-upon Maggie,
wife to Paul Newman’s alcoholic sports star, showcasing her full range of
acting talents.

Butterfield 8 (1960)


However she managed to eclipse that a couple of
years later and win her first of two Oscars for her role as Gloria the
prostitute in a movie she later came to say she hated.

Cleopatra (1963)


However she’s
probably best known for her iconic role in the film she was to meet her
two-time husband, Richard Burton, in. Bagging a cool $1m for the role the film
was beset by medical and financial problems, no doubt not helped by the fact it
earned Liz a Guinness World Record for “Most Costume Changes In A Film” (65 if
you’re asking) in the process.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)


Liz was to recover, medically to bag her second
Oscar win for her role as the hard-drinking Martha, married to Richard Burton’s
George. Gaining thirty pounds for the role she was considered by many to be too
beautiful to play the role but won them over with a powerful performance which
ranks as probably her best.

The Taming of the Shrew (1967)


Another of her films with then
husband Burton saw Liz tackle the Bard in Franco Zeffirelli’s adaptation of
Shakespeare’s lively play. As the smouldering Katharina she more than matched
her other half in what was billed as “The Motion Picture They Were Made
For”.
How apt.

RIP Liz Taylor


Marcia Degia - Publisher

 
Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.