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article imageOp-Ed: Hollywood has lost a golden star, Elizabeth Taylor dead at 79

By KJ Mullins     Mar 23, 2011 in Entertainment
When a young beautiful actress appeared in the film There's One Born Every Minute in 1942 Hollywood was changed forever. Elizabeth Taylor, 79, came to represent a golden age in Hollywood with her unique beauty, glamour and romance.
The actress died this morning from congestive heart failure after a two month hospitalization in Los Angeles.
“She was surrounded by her children — Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton,” her publicist, Sally Morrison, said in a statement. Taylor died "peacefully today in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles from "a condition with which she had struggled for many years. Though she had recently suffered a number of complications, her condition had stabilized and it was hoped that she would be able to return home. Sadly, this was not to be."
Elizabeth Taylor was born in London on Feb. 27, 1932 to Francis and Sara Taylor. At the age of 10 according to the Toronto Star Taylor became a part of the Hollywood scene leaving behind her childhood. She was a MGM actress whose beauty was legendary.
CNN reports Taylor was nominated for her first Oscar in 1957 for her performance as a southern belle in Raintree Country with further nods the next year for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and in 1959 for Suddenly, Last Summer. It would take a fourth nomination in 1960 before she took home the Oscar for Butterfield 8.
In 1963 Taylor made Hollywood history for her $1 million pay cheque as the star of Cleopatra starring with Richard Burton.
In 1966 she took home another Oscar for what is considered her best performance in Who's Afraid Of Virgina Woolf?
"I am a very committed wife," she once said. "And I should be committed too -- for being married so many times."
Taylor was even more famous for her romantic life. Married a total of eight times to seven men she provided Hollywood with much fodder with her personal life twists. In 1950 she walked down the aisle the first time marrying Conrad Hilton, Jr. Two years later she had divorced and married actor Michael Wilding. In 1957 she tried marriage for a third time with Michael Todd. Eddie Fisher became her forth husband in 1959.
The love of her life though was Richard Burton, the only man who slipped a wedding ring on her finger twice, first in 1964 and then in 1975 after their first divorce in 1974. The second marriage didn't last long. Two years later she married Senator John Warner.
She surprised the world in 1991 when she married a man twenty years her junior. Larry Fortensky, a construction worker, and Taylor met while seeking treatment for addiction at the Betty Ford Center. They wed at her friend Michael Jackson's Neverland estate.
Taylor gave back with charity work focusing on AIDS. She founded the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation ignoring the advice of friends to campaign for the disease that took the lives of close friends Malcolm Forbes, Rock Hudson and Halston and her own ex-daughter-in-law Aileen Getty. People Magazine quoted her in 1985 reports USA Today:
"A lot of people told me I'd be badly burned by it, that it was very undignified," Taylor said to the magazine. "And I didn't give hoot about what people thought about it then, and I don't now. … I just want to do all I can because I have to live with me."
Elizabeth Taylor was no stranger to medical woes. She had been in a wheelchair for public appearance in recent years due to scoliosis and past spinal fractures. In 2004 she went public with being diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Her illnesses were widely followed by entertainment columns.
“I’m living my own life, no one else’s. Not Tennessee Williams’ or Edward Albee’s. I’m living my own interpretation of life and I’m enjoying it.”
Taylor was true to her words. The gossip rags had plenty to write about when it came to her personal life. She enjoyed her life on her own terms relishing her lovers, friends and family. When actor Rock Hudson left the closet as the news that he had AIDS Taylor stood by him. When Michael Jackson faced the glare of media backlash from accusations of child sexual abuse Taylor was right beside him. Perhaps this is how Elizabeth Taylor should be remembered, as a true friend who could care less what the world thought in times of crisis.
Taylor will always be remembered as a lover, a beauty and a true actress. She was also a mother, a friend and a champion for the underdog. Hollywood has indeed lost a shining star.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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