From the bestselling author of Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainer comes this fascinating biography of film legend Elizabeth Taylor. She has been written about many times, but never like this . . .
For more than six decades she has been part of our lives. An American icon, Elizabeth Taylor has been surrounded by fame and notoriety since childhood. Now acclaimed biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli looks past the tabloid version of Elizabeth's life to the person she really is-and how she evolved from a child star to a woman in her own right.At the heart of this impeccably researched work is the first fully realized portrait of Elizabeth Taylor's family: her canny, controlling mother, who, from the moment she laid eyes on her baby, began plotting her success; and her father, often portrayed as distant, but whose connection with his daughter was far more complex than people knew.
As Taraborrelli brings to life the people around Elizabeth and her rise in 1940s Hollywood, he reveals the qualities that made her a star, the associations that put her at the right place at the right time, and the ways in which she was singularly unprepared for life out on her own. While Elizabeth's eight marriages to seven men have been widely publicized, this author examines the psychological and emotional roots of each relationship, including her abusive marriage to Nicky Hilton, her attraction to swashbuckling Mike Todd, and the complex, incendiary Taylor-Burton love affair that continued for decades and never truly died. Finally, Taraborrelli chronicles Elizabeth's most bravura performance of all. Despite the highly public battles with substance abuse and chronic illness, she achieved new success and sustenance in family, friendships, and philanthropy.
With never-before-published family photos by Taylor historian Tom Gates, as well as rare family photos, Elizabeth is the story of a woman you thought you knew-and can now finally begin to understand
Ordinarily, readers might question the logic of a new tome on a celebrity who already has at least six full-length biographies (and four self-penned books) devoted to her life, but Elizabeth Taylor has never been ordinary. Readers will easily understand why tabloids have chronicled her escapades for six decades: her roller-coaster life could easily read like a high-sheen soap opera (the eight marriages, two Oscars, suicide attempts and innumerable life-threatening illnesses that led to years of alcohol and prescription drug addiction before she became the first celebrity to check into the Betty Ford Clinic). But Taraborrelli, a sympathetic biographer, rescues the subject by looking for psychological and emotional motives behind her actions. Taraborrelli can be overprotective of Taylor (he notes her reviews for Cleopatra were "so vicious that they are not even worth memorializing here") but more often, he's a superb storyteller who is also an enthusiastic fan. The book is a fitting tribute to a woman who has lived and loved with abandon but who found real passion and purpose when she embraced AIDS activism in 1985, helping to destigmatize the disease and creating her own AIDS foundation. Taraborrelli's chatty prose (and bite-size chapters) perfectly complement Taylor's glamorous life of highs and lows to create an irresistible and inspiring tale. Photos not seen by PW.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This book was absolutely fascinating. Reading it was like being right there in the room with each of Elizabeth's husbands and on the set of each of her films. What a fascinating and glamorous life; to be beautiful and famous for almost your entire life. I only wish there would have been pictures.