b. February 27 1932, London, United Kingdom
d. March 23 2011, Los Angeles, United States

It was fitting that, in 1967, Elizabeth Taylor starred as Helen of Troy, the mythological daughter of Zeus whose face was said by the Elizabethan era playwright Christopher Marlowe to have launched a thousand ships. Ethereally gorgeous, Taylor, like the Spartan queen, was as famous for her seductive femininity as she was her rotating cast of lovers. Her beauty, sometimes described by viewers mesmerized by her violet eyes as inhuman, had the potential to disarm even the most seasoned critics.1 It was as much an asset as it was a burden. Where her mythic foremother would become the subject of countless artworks beginning in antiquity and carrying on through the present, allowing artists to grapple with the subjectivity of beauty and its evolving standards, Taylor would quickly become one of the most widely photographed women of the twentieth century. But neither the harsh realities of aging and sickness nor Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon, those crude tomes of scandal, could permanently taint her loveliness. 

Yet unlike Helen who has often been portrayed as a passive victim, as Taylor grew up and into her career, she possessed the kind of agency and self-confidence that allowed her to succeed in and live beyond an entertainment industry that would prove fatal to many of her child-to-adult star contemporaries and descendants, including Judy Garland. This is not to say that Taylor never faced her share of personal and professional difficulties. She was raised by an abusive father and domineering stage mother and struggled with a variety of health issues, including addiction, throughout her life. Nevertheless, Taylor was the kind of woman to unapologetically take control of her own narrative, whether it meant refusing a studio makeover as an adolescent that that would have mutilated some of her most recognizable features– her expressive eyebrows, the mole on her cheek, and long, raven hair– or being the rare, early A-lister to unabashedly and publicly enter rehab.
Elizabeth Taylor passed away in 2011, yet she remains ever present in our public imagination as one of classical Hollywood’s brightest and most beautiful stars. Even for those who have not seen her films, they may still recognize her face, as Taylor was far more than a performer. Her personal brand might have been bolstered by tabloid coverage of her various affairs and marriages, but she was also a strategic entrepreneur and social activist, especially in her later years. She has left behind a legacy that is as deeply intertwined with her storied film career as it is with her compassionate, public advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Even in death, she continues to offer us so much. 

A Child Star is Born

Elizabeth Taylor was born on February 27, 1932, in London. Taylor’s mother Sara, herself an actress and like many a stage parent, began to project upon her daughter her own dreams of stardom. As Taylor’s most recent biographer Kate Andersen Brower articulates, “Elizabeth had become Sara’s reason for living.”2 (No pressure, right?) It was Sara’s greatest obsession and point of pride that her beautiful Elizabeth should realize both her social and professional potential. Sara was no stranger to socially engineering situations in which Elizabeth would become the center of attention, and it was this work that would lead to her daughter’s first screen test. Despite her fixation on setting Elizabeth up to be the best of the best, the young girl would not be given a formal education in the performing arts; rather, it was her mother’s self-imposed duty to begin teaching and honing her daughter’s acting skills. Later in life, Elizabeth would disclose the abusive underpinnings of life in the Taylor family. For starters, Elizabeth worked, as many child performers before and after her have done, to support her family’s lavish spending. Her mother was a controlling and pseudo-protective presence (at least on the studio lot), but her father Francis, an art dealer, was physically punishing. While her mother’s devotion to fashioning her daughter as a spectacle to behold would leave many assuming Elizabeth was an only child, she did have an older brother Howard with whom she was quite close. But not even Howard could not protect Taylor from everything that was in store.

The daughter of American expats, Elizabeth called London home from an early age, but it was the onset of World War II that changed the trajectory of her life. After fleeing to Los Angeles in spring 1939, Elizabeth, thanks to her mother’s orchestration, landed screen tests at both Universal and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Despite the young girl’s preference for MGM, Sara was playing a strategic game of financial chess, using MGM’s offer to increase that of Universal, where Taylor was ultimately signed.3 Debuting in the 1942 low-budget comedy There’s One Born Every Minute, directed by Harold Young, Elizabeth ultimately failed to impress her bosses, and she was soon out of a contract. Famously quoted as saying “the kid has nothing,” Universal’s casting director Dan Kelly would soon be proven wrong.4 

Taylor’s first MGM picture was Lassie Come Home, which began shooting in September 1942. Taylor’s British American identity worked in her favor, as the film, set in Yorkshire, required of its cast English accents. Her next performance was of a similar vein: yet another supporting role in a literary adaptation, this time of the canonical Victorian novel Jane Eyre (1943). Starring Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles as Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester respectively, Taylor had a minor role in the film as the mature and pious Helen Burns. Despite the fact that this role was uncredited, Taylor steals the show in her scenes at Lowood, a boarding school for impoverished and orphaned students, where her fleeting friendship with a young Jane, played by Peggy Ann Garner, provides solace to the heroine before Taylor’s character succumbs to tuberculosis.  

When we think about a young Elizabeth Taylor on screen, we often default to her performance in 1944’s National Velvet, a film based on the 1935 novel by British writer Enid Bagnold. With the help of a jockey, played by Mickey Rooney, who was forced to retire early due to a fatal accident and subsequent fear of horses, Taylor’s Velvet Brown enters her horse, named The Pie, into the Grand National steeplechase, where she flouts gendered conventions by disguising herself as a boy in order to compete. Part of what made this inspirational film so special was that it capitalized on one of Taylor’s own passions, her love of horseback riding. In identifying closely with her character, Taylor was determined to prove her equine expertise. Filming National Velvet did pose a threat to Taylor’s health and safety, as even the most confident and seasoned riders are not exempt from the dangers of equestrianism. The actor, who had congenital scoliosis and would experience lifelong chronic pain, suffered a spinal injury when she was thrown off the studio’s horse. Despite this setback, National Velvet was a hit family film nominated for five Academy Awards (though, notably, Taylor was not nominated for Best Actress– that title would go to Mildred Pierce’s Joan Crawford).

Bosley Crowther’s New York Times review of National Velvet praises the child star’s performance, writing “her face is alive with youthful spirit, her voice has the softness of sweet song and her whole manner in this picture is one of refreshing grace.”5 What this review captures are the conventional, age-appropriate attributes that Sara Taylor wished to refine in her twelve-year-old daughter. But Taylor’s dawn as a sex symbol was not too far off on the horizon, though the Taylors and the studio had to carefully navigate her transition from child heroine to ingénue to full-fledged, smoldering seductress. 

But even though there was a calculated attempt by both the studio and her mother to realize this transition, even in her early films Taylor was thought to possess a “preternatural womanliness,” thus occupying an uncomfortable in-betweenness.6 Foster Hirsch describes an elementary-aged Taylor as in possession of “womanly wisdom,” while Gaylyn Studlar calls her a “womanly girl.”7 MGM recognized that a hiatus was needed until her later teen years in order for Taylor to “appropriately” make the transition to teenage sex symbol. In the meantime, studio executives kept up with the dissemination of the burgeoning star’s image through the “carefully released stories” of the MGM publicity machine.8 By 1947, she was starring in ingénue roles, as in the film Cynthia, in which her character experiences chronic health issues that would similarly plague Taylor for the rest of her life. She starred in six films between her breakout performance as Velvet Brown and the 1949 spy thriller Conspirator. Conspirator may be one of Taylor’s lesser-known films, especially in comparison to National Velvet and the iconic roles to come in the 1950s and 1960s. Yet, it plays a pivotal role if we wish to unpack the mechanics of her public transition into womanhood.

In a 1949 article for The New York Times on the filming of the spy thriller Conspirator, Morgan Hudgins articulates the tension between childhood and adult stardom that no life-long industry player can escape:

Each day for the past six weeks they’ve watched Elizabeth Taylor enact a passion filled romantic scene with Robert Taylor and then troop dutifully into an improvised schoolroom to study under the tutelage of a teacher sent to England by the Los Angeles Board of Education precisely to see that the actress spends three hours a day at her lesson. To the British, whose rules permit children to stop school at fourteen, the sight of an obviously mature young lady cutting short her love-making in order to pick up her school books is more than just incongruous. It’s downright amusing.9 

Taylor was only sixteen years old at the time of Conspirator’s filming and a year-and-a-half off from her first marriage; Robert Taylor was two decades older and married to Barbara Stanwyck, though their union would soon end in divorce. Even if she appeared one way on screen, the reality of the situation was that she was still a minor. 

A Leading Lady

It was almost time for the star to marry, thus solidifying her maturity in the public eye. But this first union would be especially fraught, for more reasons than just domestic abuse. Taylor, newly eighteen, married hotel heir and socialite Conrad “Nicky” Hilton Jr. on May 6, 1950. Aside from being a romantic who recognized that marriage could launch new career opportunities, Taylor saw marriage as a reprieve from her parents’ heavy-handed control. As Brower reveals, once Elizabeth turned eighteen, she realized the extent to which her parents had taken advantage of her financially.10 Even worse was Sara’s regulation of her daughter’s body. Prior to the marriage, to ensure the teenager was a virgin (and she was), Sara forced her daughter to undergo a procedure in which Taylor was sedated so that the doctor, and therefore her mother, could check and open her hymen. Taylor would never forget this invasion.11 To make matters even worse, the marriage did not provide the reprieve that Taylor sought after. Instead, it proved a trauma-laden nightmare that ended in divorce before their first anniversary. While the separation did grant her an escape from some of the worst physical abuse she would ever experience, she would continue to suffer from stress-induced ulcers. Taylor would soon after enter into her second marriage, this time with the English actor Michael Wilding, and become a mother. The 1950s would bring Taylor a total of four husbands, but it was also the decade in which film production would lead to some of her closest friendships, especially with Hollywood’s most beautiful, yet most closeted stars.

1951’s A Place in the Sun would bring Montgomery Clift into Taylor’s life. Monty, as he was affectionately called, was one of the people over whom Taylor was most protective, especially when she eventually realized that their soulmate connection was platonic. A Place in the Sun, a film adapted from the 1925 Theodore Dreiser novel An American Tragedy (based itself upon the 1906 murder of pregnant factory worker Grace Brown by her boyfriend), allowed the pair to challenge each other to deliver stunning performances, only compounded by their rich on- and off-screen chemistry. Audiences have long agreed that Taylor’s performance as socialite Angela Vickers was her first truly mature role: she was no longer running back and forth from love scene to classroom, and she was honing her serious, dramatic capabilities in the production of what would be one of the most acclaimed and culturally significant films of the twentieth century.

A Place in the Sun

The friendship she built with Clift would last for the rest of his life, but A Place in the Sun was not the only production in which Taylor forged some of her closest confidences. The 1956 Western Giant would bring her both Rock Hudson and James Dean, relationships predicated upon compassion but that would also cause Taylor to experience deep, long-lasting grief. The men were discreet about their queerness but found solace in confiding in Taylor. Underlying Giant’s box-office success was the heartbreaking reality of James Dean’s premature death in an auto accident, a tragedy that occurred prior to the film’s release. Elizabeth had less than a year to mourn the loss of Dean before another car accident almost took Monty. Taylor’s response to Montgomery Clift’s car accident, following a dinner party thrown by herself and Wilding during the period she and Clift were filming the Civil War romance Raintree County (1957), is often cited as proving the depths of her love for her dear friend: when Clift smashed into a telephone pole after failing to navigate a winding, hairpin turn laden road, Elizabeth rushed to the scene, jumping straight into the car to care for the severely injured actor. The most memorable detail from the accident that those familiar with the story rarely forget is the image of Taylor reaching her hand into Clift’s throat to dislodge the teeth that had been knocked out, threatening to choke him. This moment, if nothing else, is a testament to her bravery.


And Elizabeth Taylor would need much of that quality in order to endure her future. When her marriage to Wilding fizzled out, she was quickly betrothed to Mike Todd, a passionate man more than twenty years her senior. Mike Todd was the love of Taylor’s life (at least, that is, until she found Richard Burton). But her time with Todd was, like most of her relationships, imperfect before it was cut short. Taylor, who was yet to make some of her best pictures, was beginning to talk of retirement in favor of quiet, domestic bliss. The couple expanded their blended family, welcoming a daughter in August 1957. Her pregnancy was full of complications, and its resolution would echo the limitations of her bodily autonomy that she first experienced during the forced virginity test. According to her doctors, Taylor’s body, riddled by chronic issues, was unlikely to safely carry another baby to term. According to Brower:

Doctors told Mike that Elizabeth should have a tubal ligation as a means of permanent birth control, because they told him that giving birth to another child could kill her. She was unconscious when Mike agreed to the surgery and after Elizabeth woke up and was told what had happened, she said, ‘It was the worst shock of my life– like being killed.’ She wanted more children, and the right to make that choice had been taken away from her, but Mike had been left in a difficult position.12

Many decades later, it is well understood that coerced or forced sterilization surgeries are nothing shy of unethical. Taylor would later adopt a child, but a major part of her identity was now compromised for reasons outside of her control. She had little time to grieve this loss before new trauma struck. Less than a year later, Mike Todd would be killed in a plane crash– a second major shock in less than eight months. Taylor was supposed to have been with him on the plane. 

Traumatic events, not even including her own abuse at the hands of her parents and husbands, involving her loved ones seemed to haunt Taylor: no matter where she turned, there was some kind of horrible accident that she would have to process while maintaining her place in the celebrity spotlight. This trauma would manifest in chronic health conditions, but she coped with her grief by turning to men (such as Mike Todd’s married best friend Eddie Fisher), as well as drugs and alcohol. Though she would famously be treated at the Betty Ford Center in 1983 and be forthcoming about her need for rehabilitation and recovery, she would struggle with an addiction to pain medication for the rest of her life. 

By the late 1950s, Elizabeth Taylor was the brightest box office star, reaching new levels of acclaim as she beat out the likes of Deborah Kerr, Kim Novak, Natalie Wood, and Audrey Hepburn for the title of film favorite in Boxoffice’s 1958 poll.13 In the last two years of that decade, she starred in two Tennessee Williams adaptations: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Suddenly, Last Summer (1959). The latter, which brought the electric Clift-Taylor pairing to the screen once again, was more highly critically acclaimed than the former. Regardless, Taylor’s performance as Maggie Pollitt in MGM’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was certainly informed by the rawness of her grief at the loss of Todd. Starring opposite Paul Newman, Taylor oozed sex appeal, and audiences came in droves in order to catch for themselves any glimpse of the homewrecking sensuality that had broken up Eddie Fisher’s marriage to the more conservative Debbie Reynolds.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Taylor received back-to-back nominations for Best Actress at the Academy Awards in 1958 (Raintree County), 1959 (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), 1960 (Suddenly, Last Summer), and 1961 (BUtterfield 8). Though she would win the category for BUtterfield 8 and, in 1967, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, critics have long speculated that it was the Taylor-Fisher affair that cost Taylor an Oscar for Cat.14 Despite her later achievement at the Academy Awards, Taylor was resistant to starring in BUtterfield 8, as she morally objected to her character Gloria Wandrous, a “lady of easy virtue.”15 But MGM, the studio she had been with for eighteen years, did not give Taylor a choice. If she wanted to be released from her contract, she had to star as a call girl. And if she was a free agent, that meant she could become the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra.

Cleopatra, the titular character of the 1963 Twentieth Century Fox epic directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, was a film that would become truly synonymous with Taylor. The star was, in producer Walter Wanger’s eyes, “a modern-day Cleopatra, getting what she wanted and never apologizing for it.”16 In becoming Cleopatra, she would give a contemporary face to the ancient queen, a casting move so influential that, even today, Taylor is “so tightly linked to Cleopatra in the popular imagination that many students are sometimes astounded to learn that there have been others” who have played her.17 The film might have been dangerously expensive and brought in mixed reviews, but it changed Taylor’s life. Beating out Joan Collins, Joanne Woodward, Sophia Loren, and others for the role, Cleopatra would not only bring Taylor the first $1 million contract for a single film but also her most famous marriage. In life as in art and at the expense of their individual marriages, it was on set that Elizabeth and Richard Burton, her Welsh Mark Antony, fell in love. The filming of Cleopatra, a set thought by some to be “jinxed,” was interrupted by stars’ scandalous affair, the studio’s near bankruptcy, and serious illness.18 The twenty-nine year old Cleopatra almost died after contracting staphylococcus pneumonia in March 1961; a tracheotomy was necessary for Taylor’s survival.


Upon completion of the historical epic, Taylor and Burton, or Liz and Dick as they were known in the press, continued their affair, eventually marrying, for the first time, in March 1964 and, for a second time (following their divorce in 1974) in October 1975. Their second marriage would last less than a year, but the pair would be intimately connected until Burton’s death of a cerebral hemorrhage on August 5, 1984. The couple’s relationship was nothing shy of tempestuous, fueled by addiction and an ever-fixated media circus. But the marriage was also an artistic partnership: together, Taylor and Burton collaborated on eleven films. 

I want to draw attention to the two films Taylor and Burton released in 1966 and 1967: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Doctor Faustus. In little over a year, Taylor transitioned from playing an overweight, frumpy, and middle-aged wife of a history professor to one of the most notorious women in Western culture. Taylor’s performance as Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? proved a brilliant balance of lust and loathing, while her role as Helen of Troy reiterated her epic beauty. Doctor Faustus has been described by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger as a film that “reduce[d] Taylor to a non-speaking role in a production dear to Burton’s heart.”19 It is true that Doctor Faustus was one of their most amateur productions. Nevertheless, arguments that fixate upon the film as “cheap and indulgent” undermines Taylor’s casting as Helen on a symbolic level.20 A Los Angeles Times review pinned Taylor as the film’s weak link, on the grounds “not [of] her performance but because by now, her presence overwhelms the part.”21 But is that not an inherent part of Helen’s character, to embody a beauty so overwhelming that it makes men abdicate all other responsibilities to fight over her possession?

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Queen Elizabeth

Over the course of her life, Elizabeth Taylor acted in over sixty film and television productions. There is, obviously, not enough space in a brief profile of such a long, illustrious life and career to cover, in a nuanced way, each of her performances. There also lacks space to dive deeply into many of her key relationships, not just with her laundry list of husbands (including her final two, to Republican Senator and Secretary of the Navy John Warner and to Larry Fortensky, construction worker), but also her many close friendships, (such as with her Lassie co-star Roddy McDowall and sometimes rival Debbie Reynolds), as well as her maternal bonds with her children and grandchildren. 

My intention to resituate Elizabeth Taylor within a discourse about the ancient queens lies within a desire to articulate what has continued to allow Taylor to wield so much cultural power and prestige. To me, it only makes sense that she was cast as two of the most renowned mythical women whose presence persists in our public imagination. Neither case– Cleopatra nor Helen of Troy– was a mere coincidence. As such, Taylor has been positioned as a descendant of this ancient lineage, an inheritor of enviable sexual allure and the devotion of endless supplicants. But part of what continues to draw us to the myths of Helen and Cleopatra lies beyond their infamous sexuality: it’s in their alliances. And Elizabeth Taylor’s were not restricted to husbands and lovers: that is what made her so prolific politically, especially as she raised funds for humanitarian causes, such as amfAR (the American Foundation for AIDS Research) and convinced the Reagan Administration to acknowledge the havoc the disease was wreaking worldwide.

Like any human, but especially one who from childhood was forced to endure the immense pressure of celebrity, Elizabeth Taylor was far from perfect. But her shortcomings in the eyes of the public and even her loved ones cannot negate her own mythic status. Taylor was and is legendary in her own right, not just because of her beauty but also perhaps in spite of it. Beauty does not provide protection from suffering– sometimes it is the catalyst. But she overcame these challenges in the ways she knew how. As I have only begun to gesture here, her life and career were punctuated by deeply felt and often unescapable grief, as well as cutting public and private scrutiny. Nevertheless, she was able to rise above, in all of her complexity, proving that she could simultaneously be beautiful, materialistic, and a humanitarian. For Taylor, these identities were not mutually exclusive. 

Writers on Taylor have long attempted the difficult feat of summarizing Liz, reducing all of her complexities into something simple, legible, concrete. Let us consider two attempts, both published in 1986, twenty-five years before the great actor’s death. For Vincent Canby, Taylor was a composite creature, 

the sum of her various marriages, of what are usually reported as her ‘heartbreaks,’ of her illnesses and her million-dollar-per-picture contracts. She’s a lap-dissolve of dozens of contradictory images– of the poor little rich girl, the pathetic widow, the willful homewrecker, the doting mother, the most beautiful woman in the world… as well as the characters she’s played over the years in movies excellent, bad, and forgettably indifferent.22

In his famous work Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society, star studies pioneer Richard Dyer describes Taylor as follows: 

A series of shots of a star whose image has changed — say, Elizabeth Taylor — at various points in her career could work to fragment her, to present her as nothing but a series of disconnected looks; but in practice it works to confirm that beneath all these different looks there is an irreducible core that gives all those looks a unity, namely Elizabeth Taylor.23

At her core was an instinctual, natural talent, for acting but also entrepreneurship and activism. But it was also, as Susan Smith describes it, Taylor’s ability to “make an art out of compassion.”24

Not unlike her contemporary Marilyn Monroe, it sometimes seems like Taylor’s multifacetedness transcends the capabilities of life writing: how are we to reduce women so iconic, so visually ubiquitous, into words? Neither Canby’s nor Dyer’s endeavors are fully satisfying. Another effort that fascinates me (however brief it may be) is how both figures have been described as “secular saints,” a gesture towards the canonization of figures who are only continuing to slip further and further out of our grasps.25 Sainthood, often associated with the refusal of material comforts, might seem like a laughable promotion for women who performed, in Monroe’s case, or unapologetically were, as in Taylor’s, diamond-hungry sexpots. But what this description evokes is how extraordinary their lives and, subsequently, passionate fandoms are. To follow Liz or Marilyn is an individual journey, one that encourages us to press beyond the aura of scandal and attempt to catechize their luminescence. Can such radiance ever be conclusively or holistically defined for the masses? Perhaps not. In any case, Elizabeth Taylor remains perpetually seductive. For as long as we have access to her image and screen presence, we will continue to be both arrested and blessed by her.


  1. Susan Smith, Elizabeth Taylor (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), p. 3.
  2. Kate Andersen Brower, Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon (New York: HarperCollins, 2022), p. 40.
  3. Brower, Elizabeth Taylor, p. 43-44.
  4. Cindy De La Hoz, Elizabeth Taylor: A Shining Legacy on Film (Philadelphia: Running Press, 2012).
  5. Bosley Crowther, “‘National Velvet,’ Color Film, with Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor, at Music Hall — ‘Tall in Saddle’ Comes to the Palace.’ The New York Times, Dec 15, 1944.
  6. Brower, p. 64; Smith, p. 4.
  7. Foster Hirsch, Elizabeth Taylor (New York: Galahad Books, 1973), p. 23; Gaylyn Studlar, ‘Elizabeth Taylor and Virginal English Girlhood,’ in Virgin Territory: Representing Sexual Inexperience in Film, ed. Tamar Jeffers McDonald (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 2010), p. 16. (Both cited in Stewart, p. 5.)
  8. Brower, p. 64.
  9. Morgan Hudgins, “That Taylor ‘Tot’: Elizabeth Taylor Struggles with the Three R’s and Love in New Film.” The New York Times, Jan 2, 1949.
  10. Brower, p. 93.
  11. Brower, p. 96.
  12. Brower, p. 142.
  13. “Film Favorites Named: Cary Grant And Elizabeth Taylor Cited By Boxoffice.” The New York Times, Feb 17, 1959.
  14. De La Hoz, p. 145.
  15. Cited in De La Hoz, p. 157.
  16. Brower, p. 166.
  17. Gregory N. Daugherty, The Reception of Cleopatra in the Age of Mass Media (London: Bloomsbury, 2022), p. 89.
  18. “Improvement For Liz Taylor: Film Star Not Out Of Danger Yet A Respirator Aids Breathing Of Liz Taylor.” Chicago Daily Tribune, March 6, 1961.
  19. Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century (New York: HarperCollins, 2010), p. 185.
  20. Kashner & Schoenberger, p. 231.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Vincent Canby, “Elizabeth Taylor: Life as High Drama.” The New York Times, May 04, 1986.
  23. Richard Dyer, Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society (New York: Macmillan, 1986), p. 9.
  24. Smith, p. 146.
  25. Brower, p. 16; Yona Zeldis McDonough, “Reliquary,” in All the Available Light: A Marilyn Monroe Reader, ed. McDonough (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002), p. 214.

About The Author

Gabrielle Stecher (Ph.D., University of Georgia) is a Lecturer and Associate Director of Undergraduate Teaching in the Department of English at Indiana University Bloomington. Her interdisciplinary research and teaching interests include the stories we tell about women artists and actors. Her portfolio is located at www.gabriellestecher.com.

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