This morning brought the news of Elizabeth Taylor's death. While her personal life is certainly compelling, it's her career in front of the camera that made her a star. A best-of list could go on and on — from the broken seductress of Suddenly Last Summer, to the comedy Father of the Bride, to the irresistible ingenue of The Last Time I Saw Paris to her lacerating Katerina in Taming of the Shrew to Maggie Simpson. But no mention of Taylor's film career would be complete without the following performances.
National Velvet, 1944
Elizabeth Taylor was only 12 when she won the world's hearts as a plucky young Equestrienne — with her native British accent.
A Place in the Sun, 1951
As the ultimate dream girl, Taylor won Montgomery Clift's heart. Tragedy ensues.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1958
Sexual frustration has never looked hotter than in this Tennessee Williams classic. For most people, Taylor was the ultimate Maggie Pollitt.
Butterfield 8, 1960 Taylor won her first Oscar for her portrayal of a complex "party-girl" living in a man's world on her own terms.
The real news with this epic to end all epics was offscreen: the Taylor-Burton romance that launched a thousand headlines.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, 1966
Taylor won raves— and a second Oscar — for her decidedly unglamorous portrayal of half of the ultimate dysfunctional marriage.