Elizabeth Taylor: Hollywood’s Golden Girl with a Heart of Gold
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, equal parts Hollywood legend and British dame, is one of the world's most famous women. She is most recognized for her beauty, eight marriages, acting skills, vast collection of jewels, multiple illnesses and flamboyant, sometimes bizarre, lifestyle. Born in London but raised on the studio lot during Hollywood’s golden years, Elizabeth remains one of the film industry’s brightest stars. Hollywood’s golden age would not have been the same without her stunning beauty and charm, as evidenced by her illustrious film career and effervescence that continues to influence the modern movie industry.
Elizabeth Taylor was born in London, England, on February 27, 1932 to American parents Francis and Sara Taylor. Her father was an art dealer with a successful gallery in a swanky part of London. Prior to marriage, her mother had a successful, albeit short, career as a stage actress, performing under the stage name Sara Sothern. Elizabeth is the youngest of two children; her brother Howard is two years older. The family moved from London to Los Angeles, California, in 1939, and it was then that Elizabeth was encouraged by her mother to seek work in the motion picture industry. Coached by her mother, Elizabeth showed a natural talent for acting; she was nine years old when she was signed by Universal, earning $200 a week (or $2,882.39 a week, if adjusted for inflation).
The following year, Elizabeth Taylor signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and landed the part of an English heiress in the successful film Lassie Come Home. At the time, MGM was in the prime of its golden age, and boasted an impressive list of Hollywood’s most glamorous stars, including Greta Garbo, Judy Garland, Katherine Hepburn, and Joan Crawford.
In 1943, Elizabeth was cast opposite Mickey Rooney in National Velvet, the story of a young woman who saves a horse from an untimely...