Starting from her childhood years up until her death in 2011, the London – born and LA – based Elizabeth Taylor was and will remain one of the greatest actresses that ever appeared on the movie screen.
She starred in many popular movies from the golden Hollywood age, such as “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, “Cleopatra”, “BUtterfield 8” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, to name few. This British – American actress received many awards for her acting, but that’s not the only reason why she will never be forgotten. This lady had the glamour, the walk, the purple eyes, the complicated love life. Read below the find some interesting facts about her life.
1. She Was the First Most Paid Actress
Elizabeth Taylor was the first actress that was ever paid $1,000,000 for a role. She was paid this amount for her acting as Cleopatra, in the same called 1963 movie. During this time, the salary of President J.F. Kennedy was $150,000, while the highest paid American business executive’s salary was $650,000. However, her salary grew even bigger! She was also paid $1 million for her next movies, with the highest paid being “The Flinstones” in 1994 – Elizabeth earned $2,5 million dollars for this. Even though she was paid less than a million for her acting in the 80’s, Elizabeth kept on making a fortune that today is estimated on $210 million according to Forbes.
2. She Had the Most Expensive Jewelry Collection
Some of the most famous pieces from her collection are 33.19-carat Krupp Diamond, the 69.42-carat Taylor – Burton Diamond and the 50 – carat La Peregrina Pearl. Her third husband Mike Todd gave her a diamond tiara that she first wore at the Academy Awards in 1957, but she was also seen swimming in the pool with it as well. He also gave her Cartier diamond and ruby set. Her other husband Richard Burton also gifted her with many expensive jewelry just because “it was a beautiful day” or “let’s go for a walk” day. Her husbands kept on gifting her with madly expensive earrings, necklaces, brooches and bracelets and she herself as well contributed to making a collection of 1,778 pieces of jewelry that were sold for more than $150 million at Christie’s Action after Elizabeth’s death.
3. She Had Eight Marriages
Elizabeth Taylor was first married when she was just 18 to Conrad “Nicky” Hilton, Jr in 1950, but they got divorced next year due to the alcoholism and abusive behavior of Hilton. Shortly after, in 1952 she married British actor Michael Wilding and they were married for four years and then got divorced in 1956. Few months later, she married famous producer Mike Todd and they were together until his death two years later. She then married singer Eddie Fisher who was already married when these two met and had to divorce, which resulted with Taylor being called as “homewrecker”. In 1964 she got divorced from Fisher and then married her co – star Richard Burton with whom was together until 1974 when they divorced, but got married again 1975 and then got divorced again 1976. She married her sixth husband John Warner in 1976 and her seventh husband Larry Fortensky in 1991 and got divorced in 1996.
4. Her Eyes Appeared Purple
One of the things that made this actresses so irresistible and unique was the fact that she had gorgeous eyes! Her eyes were dark blue, but they contained a certain amount of melanin that sometimes made them appear a little bit purple. But, her eyes were far from being all purple! However, Elizabeth was often seen wearing purple or blue clothes or makeup to bring out the color of her eyes. She also had natural double eyelashes, which made it impossible not to admire her eyes. No wonder why they are the most searched eyes on Google with 325,000 searches every year!
5. She’s Been On the Cover of People Magazine for 14 Times
As every other celebrity, it was natural for Elizabeth to appear as cover girl of many magazines through her career. But, what makes her stand out from the crowd is that she was on the cover of People Magazine for 14 times, which makes her the second celebrity with such number of solo covers, with Princess Diana being the first. She was also on the cover of Life Magazine for 14 times, making her the only actress with that number of covers of the magazine. Elizabeth was the cover girl of about 1000 magazines during her lifetime.
6. She Was a Dame
With all the acting success, lavish life with a huge amount of jewelry, love and glamour, Elizabeth was awarded Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000. Taylor has also street named after her in Iowa City. She was one of the stars that inspired Andy Warhol, so he made a painting in her honour “The Man in Her Life” which was sold at Christie’s Action for $23.7 million in 2007.
7. She Had Her First Contract When She Was 9
If you were wondering how did this actress live up so many things during her lifetime, it is probably because she entered the world of Hollywood at a very young age. Elizabeth had her first contract when she was just a little girl of nine years old. She first auctioned for MGM and Universal Pictures and was offered a contract from the two. She went for Universal Pictures, but ended the contract within a year and started working for the MGM. Later in life she said that after this contract she didn’t have a normal childhood. MGM controlled most of her life back then, with her being told to attend acting, dancing and singing classes. Her mother was also told to dye her hair and change the shape of her eyebrows, but she refused. She first had minor roles and had her breakthrough with her role in the 1951 movie “A Place Under the Sun”.
8. She Was Hospitalized More Than 70 Times in Her Lifetime
It seems that all that glory comes with some price. During her lifetime Elizabeth visited hospitals for 70 times and had at least 20 major operations. She was born with scoliosis and during her teenage years, while she was acting in the “National Velvet” she broke her back in a racing scene. She also broke her back again for four times and had hip replacement. She survived brain tumor, skin cancer, Asian flu and was treated from pneumonia twice, with one time leading to tracheotomy. Elizabeth also went under hysterectomy and suffered from dysentery and phlebitis. During the 70’s she had problem with alcoholism and was two months in rehab. She died in 2011 because of heart failure.
9. She Received Many Awards
It isn’t a surprise that this actress won so many awards during her lifetime, both for acting and activities outside her acting career. She won two Academy Awards for Best Actress in Leading Role, the first one for her role in “BUtterfield 8” in 1961 and then again in 1066 for her role in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. She also received a BAFTA award for her role in the movie a Golden Globe for Best Actress in “Suddenly, Last Summer” in 1960. Later in life she received the Henrietta Award for World Film Favorite – Female in 1974, Life Achievement Award by the American Film Institute in 1993, Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1993, Acting and Activism Award by Women Film Critics Circle Awards in 2011 among many other awards and achievements.
10. She Was the First Celebrity to Create Her Own Fragrance
On one of her last interviews, Elizabeth stated that she dreamed of having her own perfume 25 years before she really did it. She was the first celebrity to create her own line of perfume in 1987 and she called the perfume “Passion“. Few years later in 1991 she came up with another line known as “White Diamonds“, in a collaboration with Elizabeth Srden, Inc. Her perfumes are still one of the most popular with making a $1 billion revenue worldwide. As if she hasn’t done enough already, as a jewelry addict Elizabeth also created her jewelry company “House of Taylor” in 2005.