Hollywood Icon Elizabeth Taylor Dies at 79


Beyond acting, Taylor is credited with bringing the world's attention to AIDS with her fund-raising and activism. In 1985, when Taylor's lifelong friend Rock Hudson died of AIDS, she brought national attention to the growing disease. She raised and donated millions of dollars to the cause, founding the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

She cultivated friendships with men who stayed away from the public's gaze and met a tragic end. In addition to Hudson, she kept actor Montgomery Clift as a confidant and was fiercely loyal to pop icon Michael Jackson when he was accused of child molestation. Taylor served as a godmother to two of Jackson's children, Paris Jackson and Prince Michael.

She was also an entrepreneur, spearheading a successful line of perfume and multiple jewelry lines. In 1999, Taylor was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Taylor's last major interview appeared in the March issue of Harper's Bazaar. In it, she dished to reality TV star Kim Kardashian about her love life, her iconic roles and her jewels.

"I never planned to acquire a lot of jewels or a lot of husbands," Taylor said. "I have been supremely lucky in my life in that I have known great love, and of course, I am the temporary custodian of some incredible and beautiful things."

Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson at the 1993 American Music Awards.

Taylor also mused about one of her former husbands, actor Richard Burton.

"It was inevitable that we would be married again, but it's not up for discussion," she said.

In a 1999 interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters, Taylor revealed how she ultimately wanted to be remembered. Asked what she'd like to have written on her tombstone, Taylor replied, "'Here lies Liz. She lived,'" before admitting, "No, I don't like 'Liz.' I hate that name. 'Here lies Elizabeth. She hated being called Liz. But she lived.'"

Click here for a video montage of Elizabeth Taylor's interviews.

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