Friday, January 13, 2012

Elizabeth Taylor: Unpublished Pics

Simply put, Elizabeth Taylor was the biggest star of the LIFE era. She appeared on the magazine's cover a record 14 times, starting when she was just 15 years old, and over the following decades many LIFE photographers -- Paul Schutzer, Peter Stackpole, Allan Grant, and George Silk among them -- captured the astonishingly beautiful movie star as she basked in love, work, motherhood, and the kind of international fame that few entertainers these days can ever hope to achieve. But a magazine only has so many pages -- and several stunning images of the Hollywood icon never actually made it to print. In this gallery, LIFE.com presents the best unpublished photos of Elizabeth Taylor from the magazine's archives, including shots from her very first wedding, from the sets of Giant and Cleopatra, and from her legendary romance with two-time husband Richard Burton. Here, a never-before-published photo by Peter Stackpole that even predates Taylor's first LIFE cover: In 1945, at age 13, the breakout star of National Velvet signs autographs during a charity cricket match at Los Angeles' Gilmore Stadium.


In 1948, Mark Kauffman captured the young actress and her home life. Here, she gazes into the distance while wearing an "All America" sweatshirt; the pin she wears belonged to Glenn Davis, a 1946 Heisman Trophy-winning athlete she was dating at the time.

Taylor and her mother, Sara, who was a former stage actress, 1948.

Photographer Kauffman captures Elizabeth in a passionate scene opposite Robert Taylor (no relation) in the movie Conspirator.

A Break on the Set of 'Conspirator'

During a break in filming A Place in the Sun, Taylor chats with her costar Montgomery Clift on the Paramount lot. The two would remain close friends; she would even save his life in 1956, after he smashed his car into a telephone pole following a party at her house (Taylor removed his shattered teeth from his throat, and kept him from choking).

Holding hands, with Montgomery Clift, 1950

Just 18 years old, bride Elizabeth Taylor arrives to marry hotel heir Conrad "Nicky" Hilton. This was the first of her eight marriages, and for the occasion she wore a gown given to her by MGM.

Her first marriage would last less than one year, and by 1952 she had a new husband (Michael Wilding).

In Marfa, Texas, Taylor lassos Giant director George Stevens, as her costars Rock Hudson and James Dean look on. Taylor and Hudson, like Taylor and Clift, would become incredibly close friends, and his death of an AIDS-related illness in 1985 inspired her activism to find a cure for the disease.

During a break in the filming of Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor ruffles the hair of Liza Todd, her daughter with her third husband, the late Mike Todd. At the time, Taylor was married to Eddie Fisher, but had begun a tempestuous affair with her Cleopatra costar Richard Burton. . .and LIFE photographer Paul Schutzer was there to capture their chemistry on the set.

In costume as Marc Antony and Cleopatra, Burton and Taylor share a look on the set. They were the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of their day, two impossibly gorgeous movie stars whose controversial relationship fascinated the world. They would marry not once, but twice.

LIFE's Paul Schutzer captures Cleopatra director Joseph L. Mankiewicz chatting with his beautiful star. Although the movie was the highest-grossing film of 1963, it still took a loss because of its enormous budget.

In 1964, on the set of a Broadway production of Hamlet, a surprised Elizabeth Taylor cuts the cake, as Richard Burton (starring in the show) leans in for a kiss and his castmates cheer.

Hume Cronyn, who won a Tony for playing Polonius in this production of Hamlet, takes the gorgeous star's face in his hands.

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