Elizabeth Taylor: Milestones

Timeline for Hollywood star, from <i>Variety</i> to the bigscreen

1944 After small roles in “There’s One Born Every Minute” and “Lassie Come Home,” 12-year old Taylor stars in “National Velvet,” which Variety said “focuses attention on a new dramatic find — moppet Elizabeth Taylor.”

1950 The first of Taylor’s eight marriages is to hotel heir Conrad Nicholas Hilton Jr. at age 18. The same year, she receives her diploma from L.A.’s University High and Vincente Minnelli’s “Father of the Bride” is released. The marriage to Hilton lasts only eight months.

1951 With George Stevens’ romance “A Place in the Sun,” Taylor showed she could handle adult roles playing opposite Montgomery Clift. Variety’s reviewer was stunned: “For Miss Taylor, at least, the histrionics are of a quality so far beyond anything she has done previously, that Stevens’ skilled hands on the reins must be credited with a minor miracle.”

1957 After her divorce from British actor Michael Wilding, with whom she had two children, Taylor is wooed by “Around the World in 80 Days” producer Mike Todd with a 30-carat diamond engagement ring. The marriage is cut short just a year later when Todd dies in a plane crash while Taylor is shooting “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof.” Taylor earns an Oscar nom for her sultry role opposite Paul Newman in the adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ play.

1963 Taylor originally resists taking the title role in “Cleopatra,” but agrees to the role for $1 million. She ended up at least twice that, but at a more than $40 million budget, the most expensive film ever at the time nearly bankrupted Fox. During the drama-filled production, Taylor contracted pneumonia, had an emergency tracheotomy and launched one of the most-publicized affairs ever with co-star Richard Burton. She later divorced Eddie Fisher to marry Burton.

1966 Co-starring with Burton in the Edward Albee adaptation “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” Taylor gained 25 pounds and wore a gray wig to look in her 50s. Taylor was uncertain of giving up her glitzy image, but it paid off with her second Oscar win.

1983 Taylor’s 1976 marriage No. 6 to senator John Warner ends in 1982 with Taylor in rough shape. Her stint at the Betty Ford Center for alcohol and prescription drug abuse helps other celebrities feel safe in disclosing their struggles with addiction.

1985 Taylor brought public focus and acceptance for fundraising to fight AIDS when she chaired the first major benefit for AIDS Project Los Angeles. Finding a focus for her efforts after mostly retiring from showbiz, she went on to co-found Amfar with Mathilde Krim and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

1991 Her eighth and last marriage, at 59, was to 39-year-old construction worker Larry Fortensky. The wedding was held at the ranch of her good friend Michael Jackson. The marriage lasted five years.

2009 Taylor signs on to Twitter in March, tweeting occasionally from her hospital bed about topics including Michael Jackson’s death, her enjoyment of “Twilight” and savoring brie cheese on baguettes.

Related:

Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79
Elizabeth Taylor: Tributes
Elizabeth Taylor emerged as activist
Elizabeth Taylor Remembered: Photo gallery

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