Dame Elizabeth Taylor Dies

One of the biggest movie stars of the last century, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, has died today at the age of 79.

Her health has been bad for many years after a fall while filming on National Velvet which instigated a life of back problems. In 1961 she was almost killed by a rare strain of pneumonia; in 1991 she went through two hip-replacement surgeries and another bout of pneumonia. 1997 saw her survive surgery on a benign brain tumour. In her early years in the limelight she also battled against alcohol and painkiller addiction. In 2004 she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, which is what contributed to her death today.

Her personal life was just as well documented as her career on film, with her dependency issues and string of seven husbands. The most famous love affair was with Richard Burton; the couple had a tumultuous partnership that ended in divorce twice.

A true movie icon, she ranks alongside Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. She will be best remembered for her roles in National Velvet, Cleopatra, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, and won Oscars for her roles in Butterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? She also set up an AIDs charity in 1991 after the death of her friend and fellow actor Rock Hudson.

Tributes have been posted by Elton John, Stephen Fry, Dame Diana Rigg, Barry Norman and Joan Collins among others.

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