Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79

Mar 23, 2011 by Ian Evans

Elizabeth Taylor, whose persona offscreen was as large as the one she portrayed onscreen, died Wednesday at the age of 79. She had been hospitalized for the last six weeks at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she died Wednesday of congestive heart failure.

Taylor’s public life earned her three Oscars including a humanitarian award for her charity work. Her personal life garnered just as much attention. She was married eight time — twice to Richard Burton — and also battled substance abuse. She’d been using a wheelchair frequently in the last few years, but would say that was due to chronic back pains from a childhood riding accident.

Her film career of over fifty pictures earned her Oscar accolades. She had Best Actress nominations for Raintree County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Suddenly, Last Summer and wins for Butterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the latter film pairing her against her stormy offscreen partner, Richard Burton. The Academy also gave her the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1993 to recognize her work for many charities including those that helped AIDS.

When she accepted that award, Taylor said, “I call upon you to draw from the depths of your being — to prove that we are a human race, to prove that our love outweighs our need to hate, that our compassion is more compelling than our need to blame.”