Turban Legend Elizabeth Taylor
Recently, we wrote an article about the comeback of the turban, made famous by screen legend Elizabeth Taylor. Sadly, Taylor died today at the age of 79. Although she wasn't known for texture in her hair, her love of turbans, headwraps and even headpieces still inspires us. Last year, she even planned to wear a $3 million jewel-encrusted turban for a ninth wedding, which never took place.
"My Mother says I didn't open my eyes for eight days when I was born but when I did, the first thing I saw was an engagement ring. I was hooked." —Elizabeth Taylor
Young Taylor in "National Velvet."
Casual in a bikini top
Taylor on the beach
Gorgeous in gold
Violet Eyes, Stormy Life
What makes a legend a legend? I asked a friend this recently, and he replied, "Someone whose notoriety outshines their talent." While Elizabeth Taylor was brimming with talent, she was, indeed, legendary.
Today Taylor, one of Hollywood's most iconic actresses of the of all time, passed away at the age of 79. Famous not only for her acting but also for her violet eyes, sexy siren looks and numerous marriages, the London-born Taylor moved to Hollywood with her family at a young age. A family friend noticed her striking looks and suggested her for a screen test. Universal Pictures was so impressed by the young beauty that they signed her to a contract. Taylor appeared in her first movie, "There's One Born Every Minute," in 1942 at the tender age of 10.
Taylor became famous as a child actress for her portrayal as Velvet in the film classic, "National Velvet," released in 1944 opposite Mickey Rooney. Taylor earned accolades with film after distinguished film. Nominated for four Academy Awards, her legendary films include the 1956 classic "Giant," co-starring James Dean, and 1958's "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," co-starring Paul Newman. Taylor received her first Oscar for her portrayal as call girl Gloria in "Butterfield 8" in 1960. Her other films include the 1963 epic, "Cleopatra," where she met her future fifth (and sixth) husband, Richard Burton. Taylor and Burton would later marry and divorce twice. The year 1966 would bring Taylor her second Oscar win for her brilliant portrayal as a drunken, bitter, bawdy wife in the ensemble film, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra
With Paul Newman in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
Taylor and Burton
Taylor in "Virginia Woolf"
During the making of "Cleopatra," Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, both married to others, became involved in a torrid love affair, resulting in divorce for both. Taylor married Burton just nine days after her divorce from singer Eddie Fisher. Elizabeth Taylor once said, "You find out who your real friends are when you're involved in a scandal." Taylor and Burton had a tumultuous, on and off again relationship, which resulted in the two marriages and, ultimately, two divorces. Burton was known for his intimate love letters to Taylor. Having had a hysterectomy at age 36 and unable to bear any more children, Taylor and Burton adopted a daughter, Maria. Though Burton was not Taylor's final husband, he is often considered the great love of her life. The movie "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" is considered by many to be a parallel to the love affair of Taylor and Burton.
Taylor was married a total of 8 times (including the 2 marriages to Richard Burton, who himself was wedded 5 times) and has four children and numerous grandchildren. She acted as godparent to two of close friend Michael Jackson's children, Paris and Prince Michael.
She was famous for her love of diamonds, and third husband Michael Todd gave her a 29-carat diamond ring, only to be outdone by Burton when he bestowed upon her a massive 69-carat diamond. Eddie Fisher (Taylor's fourth husband) joked that a diamond valued at a meager $50,000 could keep Taylor happy for approximately four days. Taylor has been quoted as saying, "Big girls need big diamonds."
In 1963, Andy Warhol created the now-famous portrait of Taylor that sold at auction for more than $23 million dollars in 2007. In late 2010, another Warhol painting of Taylor, this one a 7-foot tall black and white titled "Men in Her Life," sold for more than $63 million, stunning art dealers.
Taylor did not pursue acting in her later years due to her poor health. She was convinced that no studio could afford to insure her.
Elizabeth Taylor's trademark violet eyes.
Taylor became well-known for her humanitarian and activist undertakings, most notably her work with AIDS. Her close friend and former co-star Rock Hudson became ill with AIDS in 1985 and she watched helplessly as the disease ravaged him before his death. Taylor was also greatly grieved by the indignities he and others suffered from the stigma of this disease. In 1985, Taylor co-founded the charitable organization amfAR. Since its inception, she was actively involved in AIDS research and fundraising. To date, amfAR has endowed almost $325 million in its goal to cure AIDS. Taylor said, "Acting is, to me now, artificial. Seeing people suffer is real. It couldn't be more real. Some people don't like to look at it in the face because it's painful. But if nobody does, then nothing gets done."
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor became Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor of the British empire at the direction of Queen Elizabeth II on December 31, 1999.
Though not known specifically for any favored designer or stylist, Taylor was the epitome of beauty. With her seductive violet eyes, red lips and pronounced eyebrows, she practically oozed glamour, with a confident sexuality percolating very close to the surface. Her dresses were always flattering to her tiny waist, her flamboyant headdresses somehow made her look more regal, and she was one of the early stars to chicly wear the turban and create a fashion statement, a trend now on the rebound.
We will miss this great Hollywood icon. Dame Taylor, you are, indeed, a legend. Not only for your marvelous acting, but for your interesting, multi-faceted, fascinating life and the chances you took.
“I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I'm not afraid to look behind them.” - Elizabeth Taylor