Elizabeth Taylor dies

By Laurie Bennett

March 23, 2011 at 8:49am

Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor has died at age 79.

With two best actress Oscars (for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Butterfield 8), seven ex-husbands, and her outspoken campaign against AIDS, Taylor was one of the most connected people in show business.

Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor

The daughter of an ambitious California stage mother, she became a star at age 12, for her role in National Velvet. Star turns in a succession of prominent films, including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cleopatra and The Taming of the Shrew, made her a Hollywood icon.

She married eight times - twice to actor Richard Burton. Her romantic life was endless fodder for the tabloids and sometimes scandalous. Matinee idol Eddie Fisher, who died last year, divorced actress Debbie Reynolds to marry Taylor in 1959.

Taylor had suffered declining health in recent years. One of her last public appearances was at the funeral of Michael Jackson in 2009.

The New York Times had obviously prepared an obituary years in advance. The Times story about Taylor’s death was published under the byline of Mel Gussow, a critic and cultural reporter for the newspaper, who died in 2005.

Not since “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” has a post-mortem byline drawn so much attention.

“Elizabeth Taylor outlives her NYT obituary writer,” wrote one Twitter user.

“NY Times obituary written by dead man,” tweeted another.

60 Minutes Interview of Taylor and Burton, 1970:

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