BREAKING NEWS!!! SCREEN ICON ELIZABETH TAYLOR HAS PASSED AWAY: ELIZABETH TAYLOR died in Los Angeles today of congestive heart failure at age 79.  Taylor was born in London to American parents. Her mother was a stage actress who gave up the limelight for motherhood, and her father was an art dealer. Taylor spent the first seven years of her life in England, but the family fled to Los Angeles when war rumblings began in 1939.

In Tinseltown, the young Taylor soon shot a screen test for Universal Studios and landed a contract. Her first role came at age 10 in the 1942 short film There's One Born Every Minute. Universal dropped her shortly after, but she quickly found a home at M-G-M, and her first big production was 1943's Lassie Come Home. Superstardom came with the 1944 equestrian classic National Velvet. She went on to appear in a string of successful films and at age 22 starred opposite James Dean in the hit Giant.

Taylor got her first Oscar nomination in 1945 for the drama Raintree Country and was again nominated in 1958 for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. She lost both. She would end her Oscar losses by playing a call girl in 1960's Butterfield Eight. After taking a few years off from film, Taylor came back to the big screen in one of the most expensive productions to date, 1963's Cleopatra, for which she got a whopping one-million-dollar salary. She would get her second Oscar in 1967 for the drama Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


Off screen, Taylor's troubles were legendary. She was married eight times, twice to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf co-star Richard Burton. Her other husbands were hotel heir Nicky Hilton, actor Michael Wilding, producer Michael Todd, singer Eddie Fisher, U.S. senator John Warner and trucker Larry Fortensky. She also weathered decades of drug and alcohol abuse.

Taylor is survived by four adult children -- three natural-born and one adopted.