24 Mar 2011

Actress Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79

3:32 pm on 24 March 2011

Dame Elizabeth Taylor, one of the biggest movie stars of the 20th century, has died in Los Angeles. She was 70.

Dame Elizabeth died at Cedars-Sinai Hospital surrounded by her four children.

The two-time Oscar winner had a long history of ill-health and drug and alcohol addiction. She was hospitalised six weeks ago with congestive heart failure.

Her most famous films included National Velvet, Giant, Cleopatra, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Taming of the Shrew.

In her prime, she was one of the world's most beautiful women, and was equally well-known for her eight marriages, including two to actor Richard Burton.

In a statement, her son Anthony Wilding said she lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humour and love.

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born in London on 27 February 1932, the daughter of an American art dealer and his actress wife.

She held dual British and American nationality by virtue of having been born on British soil to American parents.

She was taken to Los Angeles as a child and began her film career at the age of nine.

She appeared alongside Roddy McDowall in Lassie Come Home in 1943 and a year later achieved her first great success in National Velvet.

Her breakthrough as an adult actress came when she starred opposite Montgomery Clift in A Place in the Sun. Her beauty became the popular standard for a decade.

Taylor was nominated for Oscars in 1958, 1959 and 1960 for Raintree County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly, Last Summer, respectively.

Although she made several forgettable films during the 1980s and 1990s, her most valuable work came when she took up the cause of Aids research.

This was inspired by her friend Rock Hudson, who died of an Aids-related illness in 1985.