Elizabeth Taylor: More of What You Didn’t Know


Dame Elizabeth Taylor gave 25 fascinating answers when she granted UsMagazine.com one of her final interviews last year. (The screen legend passed away on Wednesday of congestive heart failure at age 79.)

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Here, Us investigates some of the icon's most intriguing replies.

Before I made films, I had a lemonade stand in Southern California.

Born in London in 1932, she was the daughter of two American art dealers, Francis and Sara Taylor, a former actress. After the outbreak of World War II, the family moved back to the United States, settling in L.A. Their little girl was often noticed, sometimes by talent scouts, for her remarkable beauty — including her violet-hued eyes and double rows of eyelashes, a genetic mutation she was born with.  She finally made her cinematic debut in 1942's There's One Born Every Minute, and became a tween star two years later in National Velvet.

When José Eber is out of town, I love to cut my hair and anyone else's.

Eber is a well-known celebrity hairstylist with a flagship salon in Beverly Hills and several books to his name. Other star clients have included Cher and Jaclyn Smith.

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I'm mad for Law & Order and have seen every single episode. My children and Mariska Hargitay, a dazzling actress, played together as kids.

Married eight times — twice to Richard Burton — Taylor is survived by four children, ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Hargitay, 47, is the daughter of late actress Jayne Mansfield, who became a blonde-bombshell Hollywood star in the 1950s and died in a car accident in 1967.

I converted to Judaism in 1959.

Born a Christian Scientist, Taylor switched religious faiths after the 1958 death of producer husband Michael Todd and before her marriage to Jewish singer Eddie Fisher. During a 2001 Larry King Live interview, host Larry King asked, "You are Jewish, are you not?" She replied, "I am, I am."

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My legs are too short.

"She was shorter than most people think," Larry King wrote of the star in the New York Post Thursday. "She was tiny, but…she carried herself taller." Taylor's famous ex Richard Burton once poo-pooed talk that his love was "the most beautiful woman in world," citing her "double chin…overdeveloped chest, and she's rather short in the leg."

The film I'm proudest of is Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

She won her second Best Actress Oscar (her first was for BUtterfield 8) opposite real-life love Burton in the emotionally searing film, directed by Mike Nichols and based on the play written by Edward Albee. Taylor played Martha, the alcoholic, angry wife of history professor George, Burton's character.

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I dreamed of designing perfume 25 years before I did it.

Launched in the 1980s, Taylor's fragrances, including "Passion," "White Diamonds" and "Black Pearls," have grossed an estimated $200 million in annual sales.

I'm still heartbroken that Richard [Burton] never won an Oscar.

Although Taylor famously married six other men in her long romantic life, Burton has often been considered the love of her life. The couple met while they made the 1963 epic Cleopatra — both married at the time, they embarked on a torrid affair that made tabloid headlines. They later married — twice — before divorcing for good in 1976. Although nominated for 7 Academy Awards for his film acting, Burton never triumphed.

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People on Twitter named my new fragrance, Violet Eyes.

Even as her health continued to fail, Taylor was an avid user of Twitter. Her final Tweet was on Feb. 9, celebrating her final interview in Harper's Bazaar mag — where Kim Kardashian donned her famous Cleopatra look. Taylor wrote via iPad: "My interview in Bazaar with Kim Kardashian came out!!!" She complimented Kardashian: "You look like a princess!" A more poignant Tweet, in July: "Every breath you take today should be with someone else in mind. I love you."

My dog Delilah is in love with my cat Fang. To each his own.

"Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses," joked Taylor, who also starred in Lassie Come Home in addtion to National Velvet. In her private life she was never without canine companions especially — keeping spaniels, dachshunds, Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos and white Maltese. She even had a pet chipmunk, Nibbles.

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My family and people with HIV/AIDS are my life.

Taylor was one of the first A-list stars to help launch a very public battle against AIDS, using her time and money to help advocate to awareness and funding for research. She helped found the American Foundation for AIDS Research [AmFar] shortly after the shocking 1985 AIDS death of Rock Hudson, her friend and costar in the film Giant. She founded her own Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation in 1991.

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