Elizabeth Taylor lived in a diamond encrusted bubble.
Hers was a life utterly devoid of any sense of normalcy. From age twelve, when she became a child star in National Velvet, (1944) Elizabeth Taylor was thrust into an aberrant existence. Here was a young girl who never went through the ordinary rites of passage that create well-rounded, mature adults. Her school house was MGM. She never went to a prom, never shopped for groceries. Instead, she made love to adult men on-screen. While ordinary American teenagers did chores around the house and collected a weekly allowance, Elizabeth Taylor had an entourage of hair-dressers, clothing designers, and make-up men, while earning thousands of dollars a week.
In the hot house environment of the Hollywood studio, where other child stars, like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, burned the candle at both ends, Elizabeth never internalized the basic vocabulary of love and affection based on common values. All she knew of the world was learned in the movies. The high drama that fueled the narratives in which she starred became, for Elizabeth, the model for her life, most notably, her mad, passionate loves and marriages.
Condemned by the Vatican and denounced on the Senate floor, Elizabeth Taylor’s romance with Richard Burton was known as “Le Scandale.”
Liz and Dick.
Married, divorced, then married again and divorced once more, they were Hollywood’s greatest power couple since Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.
Paparazzi followed their every move. Their lavish lifestyle made headlines across the globe. Richard Burton, the son of an alcoholic Welsh miner, and Elizabeth Taylor, Hollywood’s greatest star, made the marriage of the century.
They met and fell in love on the set of Cleopatra. Of course, both were married. Burton to Sybil Williams, a down-to-earth Welsh woman, who tolerated Richard’s numerous affairs, confident that he would always return to her and their two daughters, Kate and Jessica. Welshmen did not abandon their family. That was understood.