Elizabeth Taylor is dead
Dame Elizabeth Taylor, one of the 20th Century’s biggest movie stars, died early today in Los Angeles at the age of 79.
The double Oscar-winning actress had a long history of ill health and was being treated for symptoms of congestive heart failure. There are reports that Taylor died from congested heart failure.
Dame Elizabeth’s most famous films included National Velvet, Cleopatra and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
She was equally well-known for her glamour and film partnership with Richard Burton, one of seven husbands.
In her prime, she was arguably one of the world’s greatest actresses and most beautiful women.
Her colourful private life, screen success and Aids charity work ensured she was never far from the spotlight since finding fame at the age of 12.
The peak of her film career came in the 1950s and 1960s, with four Oscar nominations in a row from 1958 to 1961.
She won two Academy Awards over the course of her career.
Taylor had already been married four times – to Conrad Hilton, Michael Wilding, Michael Todd and Eddie Fisher – before she wed Burton in 1964.
Their tempestuous relationship saw them divorce and remarry in 1975 before she moved on to further marriages with John W Warner and Larry Fortensky.
Her health problems began with a fall while filming her first hit film, National Velvet, which led to a lifetime of back problems.
A rare strain of pneumonia almost killed her in 1961 and she also battled addictions to alcohol and painkillers.
In the 1990s, she endured two hip replacement operations and another near-fatal bout of pneumonia and survived surgery for a benign brain tumour in 1997.
In 2004, it was revealed that she was suffering from congestive heart failure, with symptoms including fatigue and shortness of breath, and scoliosis, which twisted her spine.
But she continued to campaign for her Aids charity, which she set up in 1991 after the death of her friend and co-star Rock Hudson. (BBC)