Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor dies in LA
The star of Cleopatra and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf dies at 79 after congestive heart failure
The London-born actress Elizabeth Taylor, star of National Velvet, Cleopatra and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof among many other memorable movies, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 79 following treatment for congestive heart failure.
She had a history of health problems, and was reported last March to have told friends that she felt "too tired and weak" to go under the surgeon's knife again. She once said: "I enter hospitals as often as others enter taxi cabs."
She had recently been confined to a wheelchair, suffering from Scoliosis, a painful curvature of the spine. She had been treated before for congestive heart failure, in 2009, and had also had to battle a brain tumour, diabetes, and a stroke.
In recent years, Liz Taylor was best known in the media for her friendship with the late Michael Jackson and for her Aids foundation.
But in her prime, she was considered one of the most beautiful and successful screen actresses in the world. She was married eight times, twice to her great lover and fellow screen star Richard Burton, with whom she made seven films in the 1960s, including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The V.I.P.s and The Taming of the Shrew.
She won the best actress Oscar twice in that same decade - for Butterfield 8 and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Her other husbands were the playboy Nicky Hilton, whom she married at 18; the actor Michael Wilding; the film producer Mike Todd; the singer Eddie Fisher who abandoned his wife Debbie Reynolds to be with Taylor; the Republican senator John Warner and, finally, construction worker Larry Fortensky whom she married in 1991 at her friend Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch. It lasted five years.
The last time she was seen publicly in London was when she turned out to attend a concert given last year at the O2 Arena by her great friend - and fellow Dame - Julie Andrews.
Meeting backstage in The Sound of Music star's dressing-room, Dame Julie is reported to have said: "May I say how marvellous you are looking?" To which Dame Liz replied: "Marvellous? Look at me. I am falling apart."
In a statement today, her son Michael Wilding said: "My mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humour, and love. Though her loss is devastating to those of us who held her so close and so dear, we will always be inspired by her enduring contribution to our world." ·
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