After six weeks of hospitalization at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles: screen legend, pop cultural icon, and longtime tabloid figure Elizabeth Taylor passed away this morning after suffering congestive heart failure. She was 79.
Taylor was a star whose life and achievements need no introduction. As perhaps the last remaining supernova in the studio star system, Taylor was a striking beauty, a textbook definition for Hollywood glamour and a cult figure for fans fascinated by her off-screen love affairs, scandals, eight marriages, and seven divorces. Born in London, England, Taylor grew up on screen, launching her career in the early 1940's with films such as National Velvet and continuing seven decades and some 50+ films. At the height of her acting career, Taylor won two Academy Awards for her work in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1960) and BUtterfield 8 (1966). She's our most iconic image of Cleopatra, took on Tennessee Williams in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), and starred in a fair amount of critical hits and misses including the epic Giant in 1956.
In the 80's, Taylor moved away from film and solidified her roles as businesswoman and pop omnipresence through cameos, cartoon voice work (she was the voice of Maggie in a Simpsons episode), and perfume lines. Beyond this, however, her philanthropic work with various AIDS foundations have helped push the issue into the public view. In a recent Harper's Bazaar interview, Taylor said it best: "I never planned to acquire a lot of jewels or a lot of husbands...For me, life happened, just as it does for anyone else." [source]