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Flashback: Elizabeth Taylor wasn't afraid of 'Virginia Woolf'

March 24, 2011 | 10:00 am

Elizabeth Taylor virginia woolf

When director Mike Nichols cast "Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf?" Elizabeth Taylor seemed all wrong for the role. At age 32, she was still a sexy young superstar, not the frumpy, middle-aged hag played on Broadway by Uta Hagen. Even her normally supportive hubby Richard Burton admitted that Taylor was wrong for the role, saying, "I know she has the stridency, but she's too young."

Fifty-two-year-old Bette Davis fought for the film role, but Nichols wanted Taylor and Burton because they were the hottest acting duo in America, who also loved to spar as vehemently off-screen as the characters in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

To prepare for the role, Taylor not only de-glammed herself, but she packed on 22 pounds. Film critics and movie-goers not only approved of the result, but academy members gave Taylor her second career Oscar.

-- Tom O'Neil

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Photo: "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (Warner Bros.)

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