Elizabeth Taylor

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Elizabeth: The Life of Elizabeth Taylor for sale at Amazon

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, actress

This article writen and copyright 2008 by Will Johnson, Professional Genealogist. This page is locked, if you'd like to comment on it, you may email me at wjhonson@aol.com

This article is an older version of my biography and ancestry of Elizabeth Taylor.
To see the latest version, visit my article "Ancestry of Elizabeth Taylor" on Examiner.com


Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor's father Francis Lenn Taylor although born in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, had moved with his family to Arkansas City, Kansas. Probably while there, Francis met his future wife Sarah Viola Warmbrodt. Francis moved to New York City where he was an art dealer for a wealthy relative, Howard Young. Sarah meanwhile became a stage actress as "Sara Sothern, playing both in New York City and other cities. They married in New York City in 1929 whereupon Sarah retired from the stage.

Within a few years, Francis was transferred to the London art gallery of Howard Young and this is where Elizabeth Taylor was born 27 Feb 1932 in Hampstead, London as the second child, her older brother, Howard Taylor, had been born in 1929. Her two first names are in honor of her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Mary (Rosemond) Taylor. Taylor was born both a British subject and an American citizen, the former by being born on British soil under the principle of jus soli, and the latter through her parents under the principle of jus sanguinis. One of her first national articles was a New York Times article dated 2 Jan 1949 which includes the tidbits that in 1939 the family moved to California "to be with Mrs. Taylor's parents, and have lived there ever since." They located in Los Angeles, California where Francis ran an art gallery for Howard Young, in Beverly Hills.515CWCN4GZL._SL500_AA280_.jpg Buy National Velvet on VHS, or DVD
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This article continues that Elizabeth Taylor "became an actress because a film-producer friend of her father, struck by her unusual dark beauty and needing a young girl with a British accent for a Lassie film, offered her a contract." They are here referring to her 1943 film Lassie Come Home with Roddy McDowall, in which Elizabeth played Priscilla the daughter of the Duke of Rudling. She rocketed to fame the following year, at age 11, in her starring role as "Velvet Brown" in the 1944 film National Velvet, opposite Mickey Rooney. Elizabeth Taylor has been married eight times: to Conrad Hilton Jr 1950-51, Michael Wilding 1952-57, Mike Todd 1957-58, Eddie Fisher 1959-64, Richard Burton 1964-74, Richard Burton (again) 1975-76, John Warner 1976-82, Larry Fortensky 1991-96.
Conrad Nicholson "Nicky" Hilton Jr (1926-69), the eldest son and one of the heirs to his father Conrad's fabulous Hilton Hotel fortune, proved to be a drunkard and sometimes violent, at least with Elizabeth. It's been reported, that he spent their wedding night drinking in the hotel bar, while Liz was in their room, and that he was still there the next morning. Nicky and Liz were married in 1950, and only lived together briefly before their divorce was finalized in 1951. They had no children together. Elizabeth Taylor starred in the 1951 movie A Place in the Sun opposite Montgomery Clift and Shelley Winters. (Buy it in VHS, or DVD, watch a Seven Minute Interview with Liz.) This was the start of a life-long friendship with Monty. At least one source reports that they were lovers. Montgomery is quoted as saying that when they tried to have sex he "couldn't rise to the occasion". She asked him to marry her, but he declined repeatedly. Just prior to her second marriage to Michael Wilding, she called Montgomery and asked him to marry her again.th_th_16113_Liz_Taylor_Nikki_Hilton_b_122_357lo.jpg
oscarsliztaylor.jpgIn contrast to the playboy, alcoholic, tempermental Hilton, her next husband Wilding was a British actor who had a rather calm personality. He was almost twice her age. They married in 1952, and had two children together, before their divorce in 1957. Wilding had already been a star in Britain when they met. They decided to move to Hollywood and Wilding made some appearances in films there, but never with the impact that he had had in Britain. Meanwhile Elizabeth in 1956 co-starred in Giant opposite Rock Hudson, and James Dean.
In 1959 Elizabeth Taylor starred in Suddenly Last Summer opposite Montgomery Clift and Katherine Hepburn. Katherine Hepburn wants her niece Elizabeth Taylor, who has gone insane, lobotimized by the doctor, to prevent her from spilling the secret of how Katherine's son actually died. Watch it here on YouTube Part 1, or buy it VHS, or DVD.) Elizabeth won an Oscar for the film Butterfield 8 in 1960; and for Cleopatra in 1963 she was paid $1 million the highest price for any actress at the time. When Montgomery Clift was side-lined as being uninsurable, Elizabeth agreed to put up her own money as a bond, so he could play opposite her in 1967's Reflections in a Golden Eye. But, since shooting had not commenced at Monty's death, his part was subsequently played by Marlon Brando. (Buy it on VHS, or DVD, or watch it on YouTube Part 1.)ElizabethTaylor.jpg

Further reading

Francis Lenn Taylor

Francis Lenn Taylor was born in 1897 in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, the son of Francis Marion Taylor by his wife Elizabeth Mary Rosemond. In 1910 the family is living in Alfalfa County, Oklahoma, but later moved to Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas. He became an art dealer in New York City for a wealthy relative, Howard Young. He was married 23 Oct 1926 in New York City to stage actress Sarah Viola Warmbrodt, who worked under the stage name Sara Sothern. The family then moved to London where Francis was transferred to work in Young's London gallery and where their daughter Elizabeth Taylor was born. Around the time of World War II, they moved to Los Angeles, California where Francis ran an art gallery in Beverly Hills. Francis died in 1968 and is buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Westwood, California.

Primary Sources for 2

Secondary Sources for 2

Sarah Viola Warmbrodt

Sarah Viola Warmbrodt was born 21 Aug 1896 in Kansas, the daughter of Samuel Sylvester Warmbrodt by his wife Anna Elizabeth Wilson. Sarah was possibly born in Arkansas City, Cowley County where the family is living in 1900. She became a stage actress using the name "Sara Sothern", acting both in New York City and elsewhere. She married 23 Oct 1926 in New York City, New York to Francis Lenn Taylor, whereupon she retired from the stage. The family then moved to London where their daughter Elizabeth was born. After living in England for several years, the family returned to the United States, living in Los Angeles. Sara died at age 99 on 11 Sep 1994 in Palm Springs, Riverside County, California. She is interred beside her husband in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Westwood, California.

Primary sources for 3

  • New York Times, 27 Jan 1954, display ad "In the February Journal" "The girl who had everything, but —" "Elizabeth Taylor" "my daughter" "by Sara Sothern Taylor" "Growing up can be even harder when you're beautiful and famous! ....the true story of the price her daughter paid for being too beautiful."
  • California Death Index as "Sara Southern Taylor, born 21 Aug 1895 Kansas, died 11 Sep 1994 Riverside County, mother's maiden name Wilson"

Secondary sources for 3

Francis Marion Taylor

Francis Marion Taylor was born in 1860 in Indiana. He married Elizabeth Mary Rosemond. In 1897 the family lived in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, but by the 1920s they had moved to Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas. Francis died in 1946.

Primary Sources for 4

Elizabeth Mary Rosemond

Elizabeth Mary Rosemond was born in 1869 in Ohio. She married Francis Marion Taylor. In 1897 the family lived in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, but by the 1920s they had moved to Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas. Elizabeth died in 1937.

Primary Sources for 5

Samuel Sylvester Warmbrodt

Samuel Sylvester Warmbrodt was born 8 Oct 1861 in Illinois.

Samuel died 6 Jan 1948 in Los Angeles County, California.

Primary sources for 6

Anna Elizabeth Wilson

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