Ministry of Gossip

The gospel on celebrity and pop culture

« Previous Post | Ministry of Gossip Home | Next Post »

Elizabeth Taylor dead at 79: Her life, movies, husbands and style in pictures and words [Video]

March 23, 2011 |  9:32 am


Elizabeth Taylor died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure. The actress, who had been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center since mid-February, was 79.

Elizabeth Taylor in 2007"We know, quite simply, that the world is a better place for Mom having lived in it," her son Michael Wilding said in a statement to The Times. "Her legacy will never fade, her spirit will always be with us, and her love will live forever in our hearts." He and Taylor's other children, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd and Maria Burton, were with their mom when she died, publicist Sally Morrison said.

Taylor, child actress turned adult Academy Award-winner and AIDS/HIV activist, was also known for her beauty and her love life -- married eight times to seven men, with Richard Burton the one with whom she once said the love "was just too much" -- as well as her friendship with the late Michael Jackson. Elaine Woo's full Los Angeles Times obituary recounts the details of Taylor's life more completely than we can in this short post, while movie critic Kenneth Turan, in an appreciation, remembers the violet-eyed actress as being in "a class by herself": 

Her astonishingly dramatic personal life, characterized by full-throttle romantic love and later recriminations, serious illnesses and tragic deaths, matched the drama of her on-screen roles stride for stride and maybe even bested it.

Her movies -- to name but a few -- included "Lassie Come Home" and "National Velvet" as a tween ; "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" with Paul Newman; "Giant" with Rock Hudson and James Dean; "Cleopatra," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and more with Richard Burton; and "Butterfield 8" with Eddie Fisher. "Virginia Woolf" and "Butterfield 8" had her winning lead actress Oscars.

Barbara Walters and gossip writer Liz Smith both remembered their friend on "Good Morning America" early Wednesday, with Walters saying she'd recently been in touch with Taylor in the hospital and that it was something of a surprise to hear of her death. (See the video above.)

Click the links in the text to see photo galleries of her movies and loves, as well as a detailed obituary and appreciation, plus a look at her as a style icon. Share your thoughts with others here, or in comments.


Elizabeth Taylor denies report of ninth engagement

Elizabeth Taylor lashes out at Michael Jackson's doctor

Elizabeth Taylor hospitalized for treatment of heart condition

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Elizabeth Taylor in Los Angeles in December 2007. Credit: Stefano Paltera / Associated Press