Academy Award winning actress Elizabeth Taylor passed away today at Los Angeles, Calif.'s Cedars-Sinai Hospital at the age of 79. At around 1:30 a.m. this morning, she died of symptoms caused by congestive heart failure. "She was surrounded by her children- Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton," Taylor's publicist, Sally Morrison, said in a statement. In addition to her children, Taylor is survived by 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
One of the most beautiful screen legends in her era, Elizabeth Taylor won double Oscars for starring in Butterfield 8 in 1960, opposite Eddie Fisher and for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf in 1966, alongside Richard Burton. In 1963, she memorably starred in "Cleopatra." Taylor later in life became notorious for her seven marriages and sometimes eccentric behavior. Most people only have a memory of Elizabeth as a frail old woman being pushed around in a wheelchair but in her day she was one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood history. CNN report:
Taylor died "peacefully today in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles," said a statement from her publicist. She was hospitalized six weeks ago with congestive heart failure, "a condition with which she had struggled for many years. Though she had recently suffered a number of complications, her condition had stabilized and it was hoped that she would be able to return home. Sadly, this was not to be."
Though a two-time Oscar winner -- for "Butterfield 8" (1960) and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" (1966) -- Taylor was more celebrated for simply being Elizabeth Taylor: sexy, glamorous, tempestuous, fragile, always trailing courtiers, media and fans. She wasn't above playing to that image -- she had a fragrance called "White Diamonds" -- or mocking it.
"I am a very committed wife," she once said. "And I should be committed too -- for being married so many times."
Elizabeth Taylor, of course, starred in Cleopatra which made her the first Hollywood star to earn a $1 million salary. Beyond acting, Taylor is credited with bringing the world's attention to AIDS with her fund-raising and activism. In 1985, when Taylor's lifelong friend Rock Hudson died of AIDS, she brought national attention to the growing disease. It satisfying to her to use her celebrity for good - she raised and donated millions to the cause, founding the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
Taylor reported in October 2009 that she was having a heart procedure done. Via Twitter, she said it was "very new and involves repairing my leaky valve using a clip device, without open heart surgery so that my heart will function better." Taylor was again hospitalized six weeks ago with congestive heart failure. Though she had recently suffered a number of complications, her condition had stabilized and it was hoped that she would be able to return home.
"I never planned to acquire a lot of jewels or a lot of husbands," Taylor said. "I have been supremely lucky in my life in that I have known great love, and of course, I am the temporary custodian of some incredible and beautiful things."
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor, DBE (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011) was an English-born American actress.
Beginning as a child star, as an adult she came to be known for her acting talent and beauty, and had a much publicised private life, including eight marriages and several near-death experiences. Taylor was considered one of the great actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age. The American Film Institute named Taylor seventh on its Female Legends list.