Cleopatra: Elizabeth Taylor stars in trailer in 1963
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Today, Ms Taylor stars opposite William Powell and Irene Dunne in the 1947 flick Life with Father on Talking Pictures TV. It tells the story of Clarence Dar Sr, in 1880s New York, a man who is frustrating to live with, and who holds old-fashioned ideals and morals that cause friction in his family. The London-born actress is widely considered one of the best stars Hollywood has ever produced, and just before the turn of the millennium, the American Film Institute named her the seventh greatest actress of her generation.
Across her career, the star, who died in 2011, collected an array of awards including two Best Actress Oscars for her roles in Butterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
And while her time on the screen was what she was most regarded for, her choice in men also got Hollywood aficionados talking.
Among the many men Ms Taylor reportedly fell in love with was fellow star Montgomery Clift, who she starred opposite in 1951’s A Place in the Sun.
What began as the pair being “soulmates” turned into a long friendship, which ended when Mr Clift sadly passed away at the age of 45 in 1966.
Their relationship was discussed in Charles Casillo’s 2021 book Elizabeth and Monty: The Untold Story of Their Intimate Friendship.
The author noted how the pair was so close that Mr Clift had a nickname for Ms Taylor, which demonstrated the unique bond the pair shared.
According to Mr Casillo, Ms Taylor once asked her companion why she was always called “Bessie Mae”.
Mr Clift replied: “The whole world knows you as Elizabeth Taylor.
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“Only I can call you Bessie Mae. There’s a part of you that belongs to me that no one else can have. And I call her Bessie Mae.”
The pair’s emotional connection was further deepened in 1956, when Ms Taylor reportedly saved Mr Clift’s life, after the pair were at a dinner party in Hollywood.
Mr Casillo noted how Mr Clift became drowsy after taking two pills to help him sleep, but on the drive back his car struck a power pole.
At the time, reports suggested that the crash was so loud Ms Taylor was alerted to it, and then rushed to the scene to save her friend.
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Mr Casillo wrote: “The car looked like an accordion.
“He was crumpled up inside and his face was completely destroyed. His nose and jaw were broken in several places.
“The car was still running and it was dangerous to get in. Because of the impact, the doors wouldn’t open.
“It was [Ms Taylor] who pulled at the back door and managed to get in. He started choking and she actually stuck her fingers down his throat to pull out his broken teeth.
“Everyone at the scene said she literally saved his life.”
Ms Taylor’s love life often dominated Hollywood discussion, including her romance with fellow actor Richard Burton.
The pair were married twice, and began their affair on set while filming Cleopatra in 1961.
Despite a huge backlash as a result of their relationship, they married three years later.
Together, they would star opposite each other in 11 films including The V.I.P.s, The Sandpiper, The Taming of the Shrew and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
Life with Father airs today on Talking Pictures TV from 2.25pm.
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