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Great Women in History The many lives and loves of Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor spent most of her life in the spotlight. Famous for her striking beauty with her jetblack hair and violet eyes she began as a child actor and managed to achieve what few child actors do grow up and transition to adult roles and become even more famous. Her life was incredibly colourful. Elizabeth was married eight times twice to the same man and towards the end of her life she earned a new lot of admirers as she became a prominent HIV/AIDS activist.

Elizabeth was born in London on February 27 1932 to American former actress Sara Sothern and art dealer Francis Taylor. The family eventually moved to California and by the time Elizabeth was 10 she was already on the way up the Hollywood ladder. It was all thanks to her mother who was determined her daughter make the most of her beauty and find the fame she believed she was destined for. Elizabeths first role was in the movie Theres One Born Every Minute in 1942. But it was her second role that sealed her fate as a superstar when at the age of 12 she starred in National Velvet with Micky Rooney.

Several other roles followed — The Courage of Lassie Life with Father — and then she moved to more adult roles playing Amy March in the original Little Women in 1949 and Father of the Bride in 1950. Elizabeths breakout adult role in 1951 was in A Place in the Sun opposite Montgomery Clift. She was only 17 when the movie was filmed in 1949 receiving great reviews for her portrayal of socialite Angela Vickers. The movie went on to win six Academy Awards and is still regarded as one of the best films to be released in the 1950s.

It wasnt long before Elizabeth became one of Hollywoods leading stars of the 1950s and 1960s with highlights including Giant with James Dean and Rock Hudson Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Paul Newman Raintree Country with Montgomery Clift and 1959s Suddenly Last Summer with Montgomery Clift and Katharine Hepburn.
Elizabeth received three Oscar nominations before she finally took home best actress honours for her role in 1960s Butterfield 8 with Laurence Harvey and Eddie Fisher and 1966s Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Richard Burton – her future husband and the man believed to have been the love of her life.

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