Farewell, Liz Taylor
With the news that Elizabeth Taylor had passed away last week at the age of 79, Tinseltown was left lamenting the loss of a ‘one of a kind' Hollywood legend who both scandalised and enthralled society with her eight marriages, erratic on-set behaviour and jet-set lifestyle.
The British-born child-star-turned-icon, who famously married Welsh actor Richard Burton twice and won two Best Actress Oscars, was renowned for her love of jewellery - at one time owning the famous 33.19-carat Krupp Diamond and the even more impressive 69.42-carat named-for-her Taylor-Burton Diamond - and found her lifestyle denounced by the Vatican after she became involved with the then-married Burton. Impervious to public criticism, Elizabeth admitted, "I knew what I was doing, loving Richard, was wrong. But I couldn't help it. It was a fact I couldn't evade."
And the actress would admit of their famously tempestuous marriages - from 1964 to 1974 and then again for just 10 months from October 1975 to July 1976 - "Even our fights are fun. Richard loses his temper with true enjoyment. It's beautiful to watch. Our fights are delightful screaming matches, and Richard is rather like a small atom bomb going off - sparks fly, walls shake, floors vibrate."
Winning two Best Actress Oscars, first for Butterfield 8 in 1960 - after four consecutive years of being nominated - and again in 1966 for Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, Elizabeth also starred alongside some of the era's cinematic greats; James Dean in Giant, Paul Newman in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and Montgomery Clift in A Place In The Sun.
But it was undoubtedly her eponymous role in Cleopatra - which made violet-eyed Liz the highest paid actress of her time thanks to her Dh3.6 million contract - for which she is most closely linked, largely due to the sheer scale and expense of the flop movie.
With her three perfumes, Passion, White Diamonds and Black Pearls raking in around Dh720 million, Elizabeth used her great fortune to fund research into Aids and also gave to various international charities, including auctioning off the Taylor-Burton Diamond in 1978 and spending the Dh18 million building a school in Botswana.
But it was her great love affair with Richard Burton, of whom she said, "I love Richard with every fibre of my soul. But we can't be together. We're too mutually self-destructive," for which she will be most glamorously remembered.
Celebs on Liz
Elton John: "We have just lost a Hollywood giant; more importantly, we have lost an incredible human being."
Paris Hilton: "So sad to hear about Elizabeth Taylor. She was so beautiful, such an inspiration and an icon."
Kim Kardashian: "I am so saddened about the passing of Elizabeth Taylor! She will always be my idol!"
Steve Martin: "She was witty and self-deprecating, which I found surprising…She loved to laugh."