Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor dies at age 79 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor dies at age 79

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LOS ANGELES, CA. (NBC) -- Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor has died at the age of 79.

Taylor suffered from congestive heart failure and had been hospitalized for the past six weeks.

She was one of the last of the screen goddesses from Hollywood's "Golden Age". 

At the height of her career in the 50's and 60's , she portrayed sexy, emotionally vulnerable heroines in some of the era's most memorable movies.

Born in London to American parents in 1932, Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor moved to Los Angeles just before the outbreak of WWII.

Small but memorable roles in movies like "Jane Eyre" and "Lassie Come Home" quickly led to her first leading role in at age 12.

From "National Velvet" she quickly matured to teen roles in movies like "A Date with Judy" and "Little Women."

By 17 she was the stunning young woman in "Father of the Bride"

A year later in "A Place in the Sun" she showed the beginnings of the serious actress she would later become.

By the late 50's, Taylor was turning in her best performances.  She received Academy Award nominations for Best Actress three years in a row for "Raintree County," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", and "Suddenly, Last Summer".

She won her first Oscar for "Butterfield 8" in 1960 and another, six years later, for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" 

With those successes under her belt, Taylor was the first actress to be paid $1 million dollars for her performance in "Cleopatra."

Taylor's private life was as sensational as her movie career.

She married eight times, to hotel chain heir, Nicky Hilton, British actor Michael Wilding, producer Mike Todd, who was killed in a plane crash, and singer Eddie Fisher.  While married to Fisher, she met actor Richard Burton whom she married and divorced twice, followed by U.S. Senator John Warner and finally construction worker Larry Fortensky.

Along with her many marriages, fans watched as Taylor struggled through near fatal bouts of pneumonia, addictions to alcohol and prescription drugs, a brain tumor, hip surgeries as well as back and heart problems.

Despite everything Taylor always seemed to survive, when her acting career waned, Taylor launched a successful perfume empire.

When her weight ballooned, she developed her own diet and wrote a best selling diet book.

In her later years, Taylor became a tireless crusader in the fight against AIDS, using her fame to raise both money and awareness.

Taylor is survived by four children and nine grandchildren

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