Liz Taylor fades into celluloid history

An era ends

Liz Taylor fades into celluloid history

 In a Sept. 22, 1951 file photo, Elizabeth Taylor is shown at the premiere of ''The Lady with the Lamp'' at the Warner Theater in London. Publicist Sally Morrison says the actress died Wednesday, March 23, 2011 in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure at age 79. AP

She died after a long battle with congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles surrounded by her four children after having been hospitalized six weeks ago, her spokeswoman said in a statement. In addition to her children, she is survived by 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

Her son, Michael Wilding, said in a statement: “My Mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love. We know, quite simply, that the world is a better place for Mom having lived in it. Her legacy will never fade, her spirit will always be with us, and her love will live forever in our hearts.”

“We have just lost a Hollywood giant,” said Elton John, a longtime friend of Taylor. “More importantly, we have lost an incredible human being.”

As she grew older and movie roles became fewer, the actress once famed for beauty began drinking heavily and grew addicted to prescription drugs. Her weight ballooned and she was lampooned by comedians. In 1983 she entered the Betty Ford Center in California to overcome her addiction.

Reluctant actress

Taylor was born on Feb 27, 1932, in London to American parents and said many times she never wanted to be an actress but was pushed into it by her mother, former actress Sara Sothern Taylor.

She moved to the United States as a child and soon after her 10th birthday landed the lead in 1942 film “Lassie Come Home.”

That role was followed by her turn as a young girl whose love tames the fury of a wild horse in “National Velvet.”

In a career spanning seven decades, Taylor first gained major fame in 1944’s “National Velvet” at age 12, and was nominated for five Oscars.

She won the best actress honour twice, for “Butterfield 8” (1960) and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966)with actor Richard Burton, whom she would marry twice.
“Velvet” sparked a string of girl-next-door roles that were eclipsed by her first hint of dramatic promise in “A Place in the Sun” in 1950, playing opposite Montgomery Clift.

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