This month's famous allergy and asthma sufferer
spotlight is on Elizabeth Taylor, one of the world's most
recognized actresses and beauty icons.
Born in 1932 to Americans living in London, Elizabeth
Taylor was the daughter of a former actress and an art
dealer. She enjoyed an early life of privilege. Shortly after
World War II started, the Taylor family returned to the
United States where Elizabeth's acting career began.
Publicly noted for her exceptional beauty from the
tender age of eight, Elizabeth's silver screen debut almost
occurred as Scarlett O'Hara's daughter, Bonnie Blue Butler,
in the movie Gone with the Wind. However, Elizabeth's father did not
want his daughter to be an actress and he refused to let her
take the part.
Through family connections, Elizabeth eventually met the
chairman of Universal Pictures. In the mean time, her beauty continued to
garner attention. At nine, she appeared in the movie There's One
Born Every Minute, and a year later she earned a part
in Lassie Come Home.
It was the beginning of an acting career which led to her being
named seventh on the list of Greatest Female Stars of All
Time by the American Film Institute. Her role in
National Velvet at the age of twelve gained her star
recognition, and it was the turning point of her career.
As an adult, Elizabeth Taylor was catapulted to
superstardom through roles in Cleopatra,
Butterfield, and Who's Afraid of Virginia
Woolf? For her performances in these last two movies, she earned Academy Awards
for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Elizabeth Taylor is also known for living the
stereotypical "Hollywood lifestyle," as evidenced by her
infamous eight marriages to seven different husbands. She
also has a passion for jewelry and has owned several
extremely expensive and well-known pieces including a
69-carat diamond purchased by husband Richard Burton.
Taylor is also known for her friendship with the late
Michael Jackson and her AIDS-related charity work.
Throughout her life, Elizabeth Taylor has had to deal
with a number of debilitating conditions, including severe
back problems (which may have begun after a fall from a
horse on the set of National Velvet), congestive heart failure, two hip
replacements, skin cancer, a benign brain tumor, and, of
Ironically, her asthmatic condition seems to contradict
another of her passions - perfume. While many asthma
sufferers experience symptoms when confronted with heavy
scents like perfume, Elizabeth Taylor has launched three
perfumes (Passion, White Diamonds, and Black Pearls) which
earn about $200 million in annual sales.
Elizabeth Taylor's status as a beauty symbol also belies
the stereotype of asthmatics being frail and atrophied. Taylor
demonstrates yet again the fact that famous allergy and
asthma sufferers are a source of encouragement for "normal"
people battling the conditions.