FEMME FRIDAY: Elizabeth Taylor
27, 1932 in Hampstead, London, England UK
Died: March 23, 2011 (Age 79) in Los Angeles, California, USA of congestive heart failure
Nickname: Liz, Kitten
Trademark: Violet Eyes, Dark Hair, Light Complexion
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born in London, England, on February 27, 1932. Although she was born an English subject, her parents were Americans, art dealers from St. Louis, Missouri (her father had gone to London to set up a gallery). Her mother had been an actress on the stage, but gave up that vocation when she married. Elizabeth lived in London until the age of seven, when the family left for the US when the clouds of war began brewing in Europe in 1939. They sailed without her father, who stayed behind to wrap up the loose ends of the art business.
The family relocated to Los Angeles, where Mrs. Taylor’s own family had moved. Mr. Taylor followed not long afterward. A family friend noticed the strikingly beautiful little Elizabeth and suggested that she be taken for a screen test. Her test impressed executives at Universal Pictures enough to sign her to a contract. Her first foray onto the screen was in There’s One Born Every Minute (1942), released when she was ten. Universal dropped her contract after that one film, but Elizabeth was soon picked up by MGM.
Elizabeth Taylor is considered one of the last, if not the last major star, to have come out of the old Hollywood studio system. And not just any studio, the top of the heap: MGM. Her early movies, as a child in the early 1940s, starred such Hollywood luminaries as Orson Welles and Spencer Tracy. She quickly grew up, however, and by 1950 was, if not starring in, assuming major responsibilities for the success of motion pictures she appeared in. Then with major roles onscreen, came worldwide attention off-screen, most notably due to a succession of famous and/or rich husbands and a series of health crises throughout her life. To put it simply, Elizabeth Taylor has lived a life far more exciting and dramatic life than any movie she’s ever appeared in and probably most any other movie you could name. She’s known internationally for her beauty, especially for those violet eyes, with which she captured audiences early on in her youth and has kept the world hooked on ever since. She’s won the Oscar twice and she’s earned her place in and out of the sun.
Has appeared solo on the cover of PEOPLE magazine 14 times, second only to Princess Diana (as of 1996).
Her episode of "Biography" (1987) was the highest-rated episode of that series on Arts & Entertainment (thru the end of 1995).
In the 1990s, she has also developed a successful series of scents. Her perfumes have been Passion (1987), White Diamonds (1991), Diamonds and Rubies, Diamonds and Emeralds, Diamonds and Sapphires and Black Pearls (1995).
At one point during her life-threatening illness while filming BUtterfield 8 (1960), she was actually pronounced dead.
First actress to earn $1,000,000 for a movie role (in Cleopatra (1963)).
Along with Julie Andrews, she was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II on New Year's Eve, 1999.
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#16). 
Lived in BelAir house once owned by Frank Sinatra when he was married to first wife, Nancy.
Considered Michael Jackson among her closest friends.
Measurements: 36C-21-36 (for the majority of her film career), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
She was voted the 11th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
Announced in November 2004 she has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, but vowed to continue raising funds for AIDS charities and to build a Richard Burton Memorial Theatre in Cardiff, Wales.
She and Richard Burton starred together in 11 movies: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The V.I.P.s (1963), Under Milk Wood (1972), The Taming of the Shrew (1967), The Sandpiper (1965), Hammersmith Is Out (1972), Doctor Faustus (1967), Divorce His – Divorce Hers (1973) (TV), The Comedians (1967), Cleopatra (1963) and Boom (1968). She had an uncredited cameo in Burton's film Anne of the Thousand Days (1969).
In 1969, Richard Burton bought her one of the world's largest and most beautiful diamonds from the jeweler Cartier after losing an auction for the 69-carat, pear-shaped stone to the jeweler, who won with a $1-million bid. The rough diamond that would yield the prized stone weighed 244 carats and was found in 1966 at South Africa's Premier mine. Harry Winston cut and polished the diamond, which was put up for auction in 1969. Burton purchased the diamond from Cartier the next day for $1,069,000 to give to Taylor. The small premium was the result of the publicity Cartier garnered from selling the stone, then called the "Burton-Cartier Diamond," to the then "world's most famous couple." Ten years later, the twice-divorced-from-Burton Taylor herself auctioned off the "Burton-Taylor Diamond" to fund a hospital in Botswana. The last recorded sale of the Taylor-Burton was in 1979 for nearly $3,000,000 to an anonymous buyer in Saudi Arabia. The ring was the center of the classic "Here's Lucy" (1968) episode "Lucy Meets the Burtons," in which Lucy Carter, played by Lucille Ball, gets the famous ring stuck on her finger. The actual ring was used and the episode was the highest rated episode of the very popular series.
Was a frequent guest at the infamous "Studio 54"
The 1963 Andy Warhol portrait of hers was sold for $ 23,7 million to an anonymous bidder at a Christie's auction in New York (14 November 2007).
Actively sought the role of Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady (1964), but Audrey Hepburn was cast instead.
“I believe in mind over matter and doing anything you set your mind on.”
[on Marilyn Monroe] “She seemed to have a kind of unconscious glow about her physical self that was innocent, like a child. When she posed nude, it was 'Gee, I am kind of, you know, sort of dishy,' like she enjoyed it without being egotistical.”
“The ups and downs, the problems and stress, along with all the happiness, have given me optimism and hope because I am living proof of survival.”
-Sources: IMDb and Wikipedia