Dame Elizabeth Taylor dies at the age of 79

Dame Elizabeth Taylor in 2007 Dame Elizabeth was born in north London in 1932

Related Stories

Dame Elizabeth Taylor, one of the 20th Century's biggest movie stars, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 79.

The double Oscar-winning actress had a long history of ill health and was being treated for symptoms of congestive heart failure.

Her four children were with her when she died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, her publicist said.

In a statement, her son Michael Wilding called her "an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest".

"We know, quite simply, that the world is a better place for Mom having lived in it," he continued.

"Her legacy will never fade, her spirit will always be with us, and her love will live forever in our hearts."

Dame Elizabeth's most famous films included National Velvet, Cleopatra and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

She was equally well-known for her glamour and film partnership with Richard Burton, one of seven husbands.

In her prime, she was arguably one of the world's greatest actresses and most beautiful women.

Start Quote

We know, quite simply, that the world is a better place for Mom having lived in it”

End Quote Michael Wilding

Her colourful private life, screen success and Aids charity work ensured she was never far from the spotlight since finding fame at the age of 12.

The peak of her film career came in the 1950s and 1960s, with four Oscar nominations in a row from 1958 to 1961.

She lost out in her first three attempts - for Raintree County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly, Last Summer - but triumphed at her fourth attempt with Butterfield 8.

Her second Oscar came in 1967 for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, one of 12 films with Burton.

Dame Elizabeth reflects on life in spotlight

She met the actor while filming 1963's Cleopatra - which became notorious as one of the most expensive films of all time, but which also sparked one of Hollywood's greatest romances.

Taylor had already been married four times - to Conrad Hilton Jr, Michael Wilding, Michael Todd and Eddie Fisher - before she wed Burton in 1964.

Their tempestuous relationship saw them divorce and remarry in 1975 before she moved on to further marriages with John W Warner and Larry Fortensky.

Her health problems began with a fall while filming her first hit film, National Velvet, which led to a lifetime of back problems.

A rare strain of pneumonia almost killed her in 1961 and she also battled addictions to alcohol and painkillers.

In the 1990s, she endured two hip replacement operations and another near-fatal bout of pneumonia and survived surgery for a benign brain tumour in 1997.

In 2004, it was revealed that she was suffering from congestive heart failure, with symptoms including fatigue and shortness of breath, and scoliosis, which twisted her spine.

Angela Lansbury: "Her appearance, even as a little girl was absolutely stunning"

But she continued to campaign for her Aids charity, which she set up in 1991 after the death of her friend and co-star Rock Hudson.

In addition to her four children - Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Maria Burton-Carson and Liza Todd-Tivey - Dame Elizabeth is survived by 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

A private family funeral will be held later this week. Instead of flowers, the family has requested that contributions be made to the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation.

British actress Joan Collins, who starred alongside Dame Elizabeth in the 2001 TV film These Old Broads, called her "the last of the True Hollywood Icons".

"A great beauty, a great actress and continually fascinating to the World throughout her tumultuous life and career. She will be missed," she added.

Singer George Michael said: "She also did a great deal in the last 25 yrs [sic] to help the world deal with the HIV epidemic. I am proud to have known her if only a little."

One-time co-star Sir Michael Caine also paid tribute, remembering her as "a beautiful woman, a wonderful actress, and a great human being."


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    a great star but above all a great human being who gave more of herself than all the riches and notoriety she justly received unlike the overpaid, self-addicted actors/celebrities of today who only look out for themselves. Her work on starting AMFAR and other AIDS charities through she helped save millions should get her a post-humous Nobel.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    I met her way back in 1991 when she came to London, What a great woman she was and in the midst of her own pain she supported so many others in theirs and did a huge amount of work for people living and dying with Hiv/Aids. RIP Liz...you were a Dame in the TRUE sense of the word..

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    I am in my late 50's, so my entire youth was filled with images of, and stories about Elizabeth Taylor. I truly feel that today has marked the passing of an era in our culture. She was a remarkable beauty, and a powerful personality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    As a gay man who has witnessed the horrors of the aids crisis Elizabeth Taylor's tireless efforts and support to our community were a blessing beyond any thanks that I could possible express. Thank you Elizabeth Taylor. No go give Rock Hudson a big hug and kiss for us!

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    I am deeply shocked & saddened by the death of Elizabeth Taylor, she was an Iconic actress, who showed a compassionate heart. Not only was she one of the true great actresses and beauties of the 20th century , she had a history of standing up and being counted as in her work for HIV and Aids . A truly remarkable woman , my thoughts are with her family, and friends at this difficult time.


Comments 5 of 12


More Entertainment & Arts stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.