Elizabeth Taylor was born in 1932 in London. LIFE magazine was born in 1936 in New York City. The Taylor family moved to Los Angeles in 1939, and not long thereafter young Elizabeth was making movies. Life took notice, and has been noticing ever since. Ours was a match made in celebrity heaven.
With the passing of this great movie star, philanthropist and-bona fide, in her day- living legend, it is our pleasure as much as our duty to celebrate her glorious life. Our cameras were trained on Liz since national velvet, and our splendid archive of photography needs to be seen-by you, her fans, right now, in this moment.
Elizabeth first appeared on life's cover when she was barely a teenager, and last graced the cover when she trusted LIFE to tell the story of her late-in-life brain surgery with taste and accuracy. In between, there was all the rest: the child-star days, the early marriages, the sensational movies, the incredible drama that was "Liz and Dick," the later success on the Broadway stage, the transition to regal presence: benefactor, Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, American icon. It is all in the pages of this special commemorative book.
We present, of course, the grand triumphs and several scandals, but most importantly, we recapture quiet moments behind the scenes. Elizabeth had lots of relationships, as we know, and one of them was with LIFE. As mentioned, she trusted us, and that trust had deep roots. She came to know our photographers. We were always there at the weddings, and we were there as well when she was letting her hair down at home. No one in history let her hair down like Liz did: enjoying her beloved children, or her cherished pets, but always with a million dollars worth of diamonds dripping off her. In our narrative, we revisit life's contemporaneous accounts of Elizabeth's rise, and dip into movie reviews and profiles from other sources as well. It all serves to bring Miss Taylor vibrantly to life. She was with us, only yesterday.
If we have succeeded, as we think we have, she is with us again in these pages.