After the sad passing of Elizabeth Taylor yesterday, we have taken a look back at some of her finest roles. As you can imagine, there were a few to choose from. OTB’s favourite piece of trivia? Elizabeth Taylor was born with a genetic mutation that meant she had two rows of eyelashes, which helped her look absolutely smokin’. A true legend of the golden age of cinema…
The story of a twelve-year-old girl who saves a horse and trains it for the Grand National, the film is most notable for the performance of the young Elizabeth Taylor as Velvet Brown. Amusingly, despite being set in Sussex, much of the movie was actually shot at Pebble Beach golf course in California. The film, in which she appeared alongside Mickey Rooney, Donald Crisp and Angela Lansbury, made the young Taylor a star but, remarkably, never hampered her career as seems to happen to many child actors. Anyone have Macaulay Culkin’s number?
If you’re going to adapt a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by a man like Tennessee Williams, it had better be a good film. One way to ensure this is to cast movie titans Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor as leading characters Brick and Margaret Pollitt. On the other hand, Williams reportedly hated the way his play was toned down for the cinema, which just goes to show that you can never please everybody. Taylor received her second Best Actress Academy Award nomination for the role, and would get two more over the next two years.
Based (very loosely) on the novel of the same name by John O’Hara, Butterfield 8 was the story of Gloria Wandrous, a beautiful young model/call-girl who starts an affair with a married man, but eventually meets a tragic end. Taylor supposedly hated the film, which she made to fulfil her contract with MGM before leaving, and when what she thought of it after it had been made, replied “I still say it stinks”.
This was Taylor in probably the most iconic role of her career. Cleopatra was a true epic, with a running time of over 4 hours and costing $44 million to make. Unfortunately, despite being the highest grossing film of 1963 (raking in $26million) the film still made a huge loss and nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox. It chronicles Egypt’s struggle to resist the rising ambitions of Rome and the fabled romance between Marc Antony and Cleopatra.
Despite the title, the film actually doesn’t have anything to do with Virginia Woolf. Obviously. Because, let’s face it, everyone should be scared of Virginia Woolf as anyone who has read ‘To The Lighthouse’ will attest. The story is actually the tale of George and Martha a dysfunctional couple who invite a young couple over for drinks and they find themselves drawn into the couple’s cruel games. It earned Taylor her second Best Actress Oscar, and saw her star opposite then-husband Richard Burton whose performance in the same film earned him a nomination for Best Actor. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf remains the only film to be nominated in every eligible category at the Academy Awards.