The Lunney Family of Maine is saddened by the death of our distant cousin Elizabeth Taylor, the violet-eyed film goddess, whose life, fame and glamour made her one of the last of the old-fashioned Hollywood movie stars.
Dame Elizabeth Taylor died on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, of congestive heart failure at age 79, in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at Los Angeles. Elizabeth Taylor shared common Taylor family roots with Susan Martha (Taylor) Lunney, founding ancestor of the Lunney Family of Maine.
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born in London on February 27, 1932, the daughter of Francis Taylor, an art dealer, and Sara (Sothern) Taylor, an American stage actress. At age 3, with extensive ballet training already behind her, Elizabeth Taylor danced for Britain’s Royal Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose at London’s Hippodrome. At age 4, she was given a wild field horse that she learned to ride expertly. At the onset of World War II, the Taylor’s came to the United States. Francis Taylor opened an art gallery in Beverly Hills and, in 1942, his 10-year-old daughter Elizabeth made her screen debut with a bit part in the comedy “There’s One Born Every Minute.” She was a bona fide star at age 12, a bride and a divorcee at 18, a superstar at 19, and a widow at 26.
She arrived in Hollywood when the studio system controlled every aspect of an actor’s life and image, but had more affairs and marriages than any publicist could ever explain away, and then lasted long enough not to owe anyone an explanation for anything. “I don’t entirely approve of some of the things I have done, or am, or have been. But I’m me. God knows, I’m me,” Taylor once said. She had a remarkable and exhausting personal and professional life, but was the film industry’s great survivor and iconic beauty, and among the first to reach the modern pinnacle of celebrity – being famous simply for being famous.
Dame Elizabeth Taylor also shared common Taylor ancestors with US Presidents James Madison, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Harrison.