Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Iconic Actress Elizabeth Taylor Dead at 79
Elizabeth Taylor, the legendary actress of stage and screen, has died at 79 of congestive heart failure. She won two Academy Awards for her classic performances, the first for Butterfield 8 in 1960 and the second for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1966. As a child star, Ms. Taylor shot to fame for both her talent and her beauty in National Velvet, followed quickly by A Place in the Sun and Cleopatra. The latter is a four hour epic film that recounts the entire history of Cleopatra's life and is one of the most expensive films ever made, but which was a vanity project created around Elizabeth. What may have been most surprising about Ms. Taylor was the combination of her striking beauty and how talented she actually was, given that she never had any formal training as an actor. This is particularly striking when one considers the range of characters she played over her career, from the lead in the epic Cleopatra to two Tennessee Williams heroines in Suddenly, Last Summer opposite Katherine Hepburn and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opposite Paul Newman, to a softer role in Butterfield 8 and her brashly harsh but spot-on turn in Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opposite her then-husband Richard Burton, even including a turn as Katherine in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.