In her 50-year career, Elizabeth Taylor graced the screen with luminous beauty and glamour. By playing roles that ranged from the Queen of the Nile to the blowsy wife of a college professor, she proved her talent was not merely skin-deep. Here are some of Elizabeth Taylor's best remembered films.
The role of Velvet Brown in this, her fifth film, was Elizabeth Taylor's star-making role. Paired here with Mickey Rooney, she plays a pretty English girl with a passion for horses who wins a horse named “Pie” in a local lottery. Mi (Rooney) agrees to train the horse for the Grand National. With her soft voice, striking appearance, and earnest performance, Taylor won the hearts of fans throughout the world.
Elizabeth Taylor's real life helped her reel life: The premiere of this film occurred two days after Taylor's real-life marriage to first husband "Nicky" Conrad Hilton Jr. Taylor's wedding was a publicity dream for the studio, which also made Taylor a gift of an original wedding gown designed by Edith Head. In this charming film, she's the about to be married daughter of a nervous Spencer Tracy and elegant Joan Bennett. Taylor's warm scenes with Tracy, her beauty as a new bride, as well as Tracy's comedy moments, helped to make this film a hit.
Taylor is paired with handsome Montgomery Clift in this drama based on the book An American Tragedy
, about a young, lower class man, George Eastman (Clift), who falls in love with a gorgeous debutante (Taylor). Unfortunately, a factory girl he slept with (Shelley Winters) announces she's pregnant. Long considered one of the great romantic pairings in movie history, Taylor and Clift burn up the screen with passion and desire. The George Stevens film shifted emphasis from the events in George's life to the love story. Taylor's strapless boned bodice dress with its enormous white tulle skirt became the prom and wedding fashion of the day, winning Edith Head an Oscar.
Taylor is re-teamed with Clift in this film based on the Tennessee Williams play and directed by Joseph Mankiewicz. Taylor is Cathy, the niece of wealthy Violet Venable (Katharine Hepburn), whose son Sebastian died mysteriously while on vacation with Cathy in Spain. In order to keep Catherine quiet about the circumstances surrounding Sebastian's violent death, Mrs. Venable attempts to bribe a young surgeon (Montgomery Clift) from a New Orleans mental hospital to lobotomize Cathy. Taylor's dramatic monologue at the end of the film, in which she describes the murder, is unforgettable, and the role earned her an Oscar nomination.
20th Century Fox
Elizabeth Taylor is the Queen of the Nile in this multimillion dollar extravaganza that took three years and $44 million to make. A box-office disappointment that failed to make back its millions, the film is most famous for the off-screen Taylor-Burton love affair that made international headlines and led to them divorcing their respective spouses and marrying in 1964. Taylor is perfectly cast as the sultry Egyptian queen, desired by both Caesar and Marc Antony.
Taylor sports gray hair, extra pounds, a slovenly appearance, and a vulgar mouth to portray Martha in this film based on Edward Albee's biting play, directed by Mike Nichols. She costars with husband Richard Burton as George, as well as George Segal and Sandy Dennis. Taylor plays the daughter of the college president, married to a professor (Burton). Trapped in a self-destructive marriage, when a young couple (Dennis and Segal) come over for drinks, George and Martha play a game of "get the guests" during a vicious, nightmarish evening that lasts until morning. Taylor's performance won her a second Oscar. Despite many successful theatrical productions, Taylor and Burton are considered by many to be the definitive George and Martha.