Profiles in Time: Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor: The Actress

Elizabeth Taylor was known for her tenacious personality and her profound talent on screen. But her legacy lives on today through her iconic style. She was a beauty queen and fashion legend who defined Hollywood glam as we know it. Whether sporting a red carpet gown or a period-inspired ensemble, accessories were a major part of Taylor’s look—including a wristwatch or two.

Taylor grew up in front of the camera. She landed her first on-screen role at age ten in the film There’s One Born Every Minute. Just two years later, in 1944, she scored a breakout role in National Velvet. At just twelve years old, Taylor was a star.

Elizabeth Taylor

As she grew, Taylor made a seamless progression from child to adult roles. The world became enamored with her both on and off screen. In 1949, at the age of seventeen, she married Nicky Hilton, heir to the famous hotel chain. Taylor’s personal life quickly became the talk of the town.

Elizabeth Taylor: Offscreen

The young star’s first marriage only lasted a couple of years, but she was soon married again to fellow actor Michael Welding. Taylor, in all, would marry six more times. Her most notable marriage was to film star Richard Burton, who she married twice.


Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

Despite increased public attention on her love life, Taylor’s talent continued to shine. She received her first Academy Award for Best Actress in 1960 for her performance as a call girl in Butterfield 8.

Eventually, the drama, scandals, and publicity around Taylor’s personal life started to take a toll on her health and career. But her tenacity and dedication to her craft willed her to persevere through the tough times. As she grew older, Taylor retired from acting. Instead, she devoted her time to philanthropic work. In 1991, she established the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation.

In the last years of her life, Taylor received accolades for her longstanding dedication to the film industry. She was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Film Institute and the British order of chivalry for her contribution to the arts.

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor: The Watches

Throughout her life and career in the spotlight, Taylor was a bit of a watch connoisseur. She wasn’t a collector in the traditional sense, but nothing about Taylor was conventional. Instead of function, think fashion and Hollywood glam. A diamond and yellow gold Vacheron Constantin Lord Kalla bracelet watch given to her by Michael Jackson. A diamond and pink gold Bvlgari Serpenti watch inscribed “To Dame Elizabeth, with gratitude, Paolo Bulgari, 2010.” A diamond and yellow gold Patek Philippe Nautilus gifted to her by Richard Burton. And, an Art Deco style diamond and onyx Cartier. Just to name a few.

Elizabeth Taylor’s assortment of watches may not be impressive by the standards of a watch aficionado, but the aesthetic of her bold and elegant timepieces reflect her one-of-a-kind personality.

Check out our other Profiles in Time, like Audrey Hepburn.


Photo Credits: Wikimedia

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