A big screen legend died today as we lost English-American actress Dame Elizabeth Taylor. A former child star, she grew to be known for her acting talent and beauty, as well as her Hollywood lifestyle, including many marriages. Considered one of the best actresses of our times, she died at the age of 79 after spending two months in a Los Angeles hospital for treatment of congestive heart failure. In a career spanning seven decades, Taylor was nominated for five Oscars and won the best actress honor twice.
Taylor starred in a string of hit movies in the 1950s and 60s, including Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Cleopatra, while becoming an international sex symbol and object of tabloid fascination for her string of love affairs with leading men. In addition to being a fashion icon, perfume mogul and movie legend, later in life Taylor also became one of the leading advocates for victims of AIDS, raising millions for research and treatment of the disease in the wake of the 1985 death of her good friend the actor Rock Hudson, who died from the illness.
In November 2004, Taylor announced that she had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, a progressive condition in which the heart is too weak to pump sufficient blood throughout the body, particularly to the lower extremities: the ankles and feet. She broke her back five times, had both her hips replaced, survived a benign brain tumor operation and skin cancer, and faced life-threatening bouts with pneumonia twice. Towards the end of her life she was reclusive and sometimes failed to make scheduled appearances due to illness or other personal reasons. She used a wheelchair and when asked about it stated that she had osteoporosis and was born with scoliosis.
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, DBE (27 February 1932 – 23 March 2011)