Elizabeth Taylor: Oh, Those Eyes

Kenneth Turan: She mesmerized us from the get-go
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2011 12:52 PM CDT

(Newser) – For Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan, an indelible image of Elizabeth Taylor comes early in her career in A Place in the Sun, filmed when she was just 17. "The actress' face in huge close-up is so exquisitely, so heartbreakingly beautiful you never doubt that (Montgomery) Clift's intoxicated character would do anything to keep her in his life," he writes. For years afterward, those "irresistible violet eyes" would have that effect on men both on screen and off.

Taylor was a better actress than she gave herself credit for, writes Turan. She went from a young performer of "uncommon determination and poise" (National Velvet) to a "luminous" young adult (A Place in the Sun) and finally to the "gifted" actress who emerged in Giant and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Will there ever be another quite like her? "Her astonishingly dramatic personal life, characterized by full-throttle romantic love and later recriminations, serious illnesses and tragic deaths, matched the drama of her on-screen roles stride for stride and maybe even bested it," writes Turan. "While many actresses specialize in public private lives, it's hard to think of another one quite as astounding in its fearless pursuit of happiness as Taylor's." Click for more. (Read more Elizabeth Taylor dead stories.)

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