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February 27, 2023

Elizabeth Taylor During the Filming of ‘Giant,’ Photographed by Frank Worth in 1955

The summer of 1955 was a hard one for Elizabeth Taylor. She arrived in Marfa, Texas on June 6 after being loaned out by MGM studios to Warner Bros. to star in Giant, the “national movie of Texas.” The actress was suffering from postpartum depression after giving birth to her third child, Christopher, and was recently estranged from husband number two, Michael Wilding. As if that wasn’t enough, the state was in the middle of a hellish seven-year drought, with the thermometer regularly hitting 100 degrees, a period Elmer Kelton called “the time it never rained.”

It was a tough time for Taylor both physically and emotionally, but Marfans only recall her generosity and graciousness. When director George Stevens, who filmed Giant on an open set, yelled “cut!” fans would walk right up to Taylor, who happily agreed to take photos, sign autographs, and even star in several impromptu home movies, including a short 8mm film shot on the set of the Reata by Bill Christopher, the owner of the local department store.

Caterer Wally Cech, who served her in the lunch line, admired the 24-year-old starlet’s good looks and noted that though Taylor was strikingly beautiful, she didn’t seem to have a huge ego. She was, by all accounts, sweet and mannerly and even kept a bowl of dimes by her front door to dispense ten-cent tips, a handsome gratuity sixty years ago.


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