I fought it off for a long time. Elizabeth Taylor was never one of my favorites; past her best years when I was young and a bit of a pop culture joke as she aged (BFFs with Michael Jackson, really?), she was never my cup of tea. But, you can't get past shots like these without thinking she was probably the most purely beautiful woman ever to make it big in Hollywood:
Part of it may be the kind of movies she was in... a lot of serious roles in contemporary dramas that maybe haven't aged well, and no comedies or light romances that would appeal to later generations. For a time, she was on an amazing roll: Best Actress Academy Award nominations in 1958 for Raintree County; in 1959 Cat On A Hot Tin Roof; in 1960 for Suddenly Last Summer; winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1961 for Butterfield 8; winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress again in 1967 for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Five nominations and two wins in ten years, a decade in which she was also starring in Cleopatra, a decade framed by her appearance in serious movies by heavyweight directors like George Stevens' Giant (1956), and Franco Zeffirelli's The Taming of the Shrew (1967) and John Huston's Reflections in a Golden Eye (1968). But she was always a cool figure, a distant figure, unapproachable and vaguely unsettling.
Still, it's hard to imagine anyone not thinking she was as beautiful as any girl Hollywood has ever seen: