National Velvet (1944)
Elizabeth Taylor's striking looks launched her screen career at a very young age. Her first screen appearance was in There's One Born Every Minute , and then she starred in Lassie Come Home with Roddy McDowall.
It was her role in National Velvet that really saw her stock increase, though. 12-year old Taylor played a girl who takes on a past-it horse and trains it for the grand national.
Taylor held her own opposite Mickey Rooney, and plays Velvet with an endearing innocence. A fall from a horse while filming caused health problems that would have repercussions throughout the rest of her life.
Father of the Bride (1950)
The success of National Velvet kept Taylor working consistently throughout her teens. Her first notably adult role came in this Spencer Tracy comedy (later remade with Steve Martin), in which she played the bride-to-be causing stress for her put-upon papa.
It's Tracy's show, but Taylor's Kay is has a grace worthy of tugging the paternal heartstrings and she's feisty enough to stand up for herself in family rows.
Tracy and Taylor reprised their roles for baby-centric sequel, Father's Little Dividend , the following year.
A Place in the Sun (1951)
Ignore the bright-sounding title, Elizabeth Taylor dabbled with darker material in this Oscar-winning drama.
Montgomery Clift stars as a factory worker struggling to break into the upper echelons of society with his industrialist uncle. He falls for the high-class charms of Angela (Taylor), but not before he's got himself into a fix with his co-worker girlfriend.
Taylor dazzles with a glamourous magnetism that you'd believe a man would commit murder for, as the ultimate in unattainable screen sirens.
Taylor starred alongside James Dean in another drama from A Place in the Sun director George Stevens.
She plays a socialite who marries rancher Bick (Rock Hudson). When they move to his sister's ranch, Bick clashes with Jett (Dean), in a rivalry that will span many years.
The role allowed Taylor to drop some of the societal trappings when she heads down to the Texas plains, and on-set she sparked a longstanding friendship with Hudson, whose death inspired the launch of her Aids charity.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof came in the middle of a strong run of Oscar-nominated performances by Taylor, sandwiched as it was between Raintree County and Suddenly, Last Summer .
As warring husband and wife Brick Pollitt and Maggie 'the Cat', Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor make the tension palpable in the stifling Southern heat of this Tennessee Williams adaptation.
The homosexual overtones of the play were toned down for the movie, which remains an exemplary showcase of old-school charisma nonetheless.
BUtterfield 8 (1960)
Taylor took home her first Best Actress Oscar for her performance as Gloria Wandrous in a drama of familiar themes.
She's on a seduction offensive here: model Gloria uses her considerable feminine wiles to improve her social status, but she later grows to regret her 'lifestyle choices'.
Another example of Taylor pairing her domineering, oppressive sexuality with a brittle vulnerability.
Perhaps the most iconic role in all of Taylor's prolific career. Joseph L. Mankiewicz' epic was one of the most expensive films of all time (and it's still up there, if you adjust the budget for inflation).
Taylor's legendary screen status helps to sell the character of the tempestuous queen of Egypt, and she wears the ridiculously expensive costumes well.
Though the film has its detractors, and it remains a yardstick for troubled productions, it will be forever remembered as the first screen pairing of Taylor and future husband Richard Burton. They went on to make 11 more films together.
The VIPs (1963)
Taylor starred with Burton in a high-concept relationship drama set at Terminal 2 of Heathrow.
She plays a famous actress who decides to leave her rich husband (Burton) for her caddish lover. The only problem is, a fog grounds all flights, cutting off the lovers' means of escape.
Other subplots play out against the backdrop, but it's Taylor, trading on her real-life persona, who has the most compelling segment.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Taylor teamed with Burton again for this searing relationship drama, taking home another Best Actress Oscar for what would be one of her last truly memorable film roles.
This is no vanity project love-in though, with the pair at each other's throats throughout. Taylor, who gained weight for the role, is at her most caustic and damaged here.
In fact, the vitriol between the pair is so painfully potent, you feel as uncomfortable as the young couple invited to spend time with them.
The Simpsons (1992-3)
Taylor continued to make movies until 1980, after which she mainly acted in TV roles and on the stage, though she remained a figure of interest as a result of her charity work, private life, perfume line and more.
Her diversity as a pop culture icon is best represented by her guest appearances in The Simpsons ' fourth season. In her first cameo, she provided the voice for Maggie's only spoken word ("Daddy") in 'Lisa's First Word'. Then, she briefly starred as herself in 'Krusty Gets Kancelled', vowing to fire her agent after he prevents her appearing on the comeback special.
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