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How Elizabeth Taylor Changed Hollywood Forever With Many Scandals

Updated on July 23, 2012

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor changed Holllywood in the most dramatic way ever. Depending on your age you will remember Elizabeth Taylor for different reasons. For those old enough to remember Elizabeth as a young lady, they will remember her as a beautiful actress so full of potential. Looking back at Elizabeth Taylor movies such as National Velvet, you will see what I mean. For those a little younger will remember Elizabeth Taylor for her scandals and affairs which is rather unfortunate but true. And for those even younger, you may not even know who Elizabeth Taylor was or may only remember her as an older, retired actress with numerous health issues which included pneumonia, various back operations, an aneurism and, what ultimately lead to her death at the age of 79, congestive heart failure.

Innocent Charm
Innocent Charm

Classic Hollywood

Back in the classic era of Hollywood in the 1950’s and before, the Studio’s controlled all press and media surrounding their movie stars. This is how many gay actors were able to hide their sexual passions behind closed doors. Scandal was kept hush hush and unheard of in Hollywood. Things were glossed over or another reason was presented to the press for an actors or actresses disappearance, rather than the true reason.

When you look back in time, the likes of Greta Garbo or Audrey Hepburn look like Angels; never a hair out of place and were never seen without make-up. The same is true of Elizabeth Taylor in the beginning. She was stunning and her publicity pictures were perfect and portrayed her as an innocent young lady, full of promise and a glittering career ahead of her. No one knew at the time that she would later change the future of acting forever. Perhaps if they had, steps would have been taken to remove her from the limelight.

Elizabeth Taylor Brought Scandal to Hollywood

Elizabeth Taylor changed Hollywood forever by bringing scandal upon scandal to Hollywood. The Studio was hard pressed to control Taylor and to control the media around her, when everything happened so fast or unexpectedly. How were they to know that when Elizabeth Taylor’s third husband, Michael Todd died in a plane crash, that Taylor would find comfort in the arms of Eddie Fisher, husband to the movie sweetheart Debbie Reynolds. Taylor later married Eddie Fisher but the damage was already done. It didn't stop Elizabeth Taylor. It wasn’t long before Elizabeth Taylor found comfort in yet another man’s arms; a married Richard Burton.

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra
Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra

Cleopatra - The Great Deceiver

While on the set of Cleopatra, in Rome, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor fell madly in love and had an affair with each other, even though they were both married at the time to other people. The press could not be contained. The press were on the scene and were printing the story as soon as it broke. How could the story not come to light when there were so many people involved in the scandal? Think of how many staff members were covering for Taylor and Burton at the time. How many times were the spouses of this secret couple lied to and deceived?

The scandal blew up to such proportions that the Vatican even announced that the affair was indecent and wrong. When the newspapers saw the soar in readership numbers and the buzz around this story it is clear to see why we have the paparazzi culture we have today.

You can't hide from the Paparazzi now
You can't hide from the Paparazzi now

Other Important Factors

I am not saying Elizabeth Taylor is solely at fault, after all it takes two to tango as they say. The men she was with have to also take credit for their deeds too. No doubt it would have happened at some point. It’s almost impossible to keep the levels of control they had in the 1950’s, especially when you factor in modern technology.

Nowadays, anyone can join the paparazzi game. The advent of mobile phones and cameras on mobile phones have added to the lack of privacy to today’s starlets. Regardless of being Hollywood royalty or royalty related to the Monarchy, you are just as likely to be snapped in your jogging bottoms and no make-up if you head out to the corner shop for some milk or nappies. Ask the Danish princess of you don't believe me. Before you know it that picture will be winging it’s way to a newspaper, shared on Facebook and Twitter and the list goes on. Famous people of today can blame the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and the modern press for robbing them of their privacy.

On the other hand, some supposed celebrities should be extremely grateful to the likes of Elizabeth Taylor. For without her they would not have a career. Think of people who are only famous because they were caught doing something wrong or only have a career because of the way they use the press to promote them at every opportunity they get. Most of these types of celebrities don't have talent to act or sing but they know how to play the game to become famous and gain financial rewards.


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    • Lauryallan profile image

      Lauryallan 3 years ago

      No problem

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      You are right. I was thinking Debbie but typed Doris. Sorry.

    • Lauryallan profile image

      Lauryallan 3 years ago

      OhMe I think he was married to Debbie Reynolds (mother to Carey Fisher who played Princess Leia in Star Wars).

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Very interesting. I remember being so upset when Eddie Fisher and Doris Day divorced and he married Elizabeth Taylor.

    • Lauryallan profile image

      Lauryallan 3 years ago

      Marsha, I never said the picture was of Elizabeth Taylor. I know it's Audrey Hepburn. If you read the text next to the picture I actually talk about Audrey Hepburn and it's why I chose that picture.

    • profile image

      Marsha 3 years ago

      The 1st picture is Audrey Hepburn, NOT Elizabeth Taylor

    • Lauryallan profile image

      Lauryallan 5 years ago

      No problem.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      Ah... I read that but didn't get the connection, hehe ^_^

    • Lauryallan profile image

      Lauryallan 5 years ago

      Yes I know that's Audrey Hepburn. If you read the text next to it I allude to the fact that it's Audrey Hepburn and I used the picture to show how perfectly the studios used to portray the actresses.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      Well written. Elizabeth was a very strong woman and I think the press has a way of making just about any star look bad.

      As an Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn fan I have to point out that the black and white picture you posted with the caption "innocent charm" isn't Elizabeth Taylor. It's actually Audrey Hepburn.

    • Lauryallan profile image

      Lauryallan 6 years ago

      Thank you Cogerson. I agree with the points you made Flora. I would say Elizabeth Taylor took it to another level.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      The scale of her scandal certainly changed Hollywood. However, the press stopped keeping quiet about stars' married lives not being perfect when frank Sinatra left his wife to marry Ava Gardner-that was the beginning of of tabloids looking for ways to drag stars through the mud. Before that they knew all about Spencer Tracy leaving Katherine Hepburn. They kept it quiet though, because The Tracys never got divorced.

    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 6 years ago from Virginia

      Very well done....lots of great information on this hub.....I think you are correct in giving credit for changing Hollywood with all her scandals....I think tabloids owe her a huge thanks as well as she kept providing lots of things to write about for many many years.....voted up and awesome.

    • Katya Drake profile image

      Katya Drake 6 years ago from Wisconsin

      This was and interesting article. I always wanted to know a little more about Elizabeth Taylor. Great hub!


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