Elizabeth Taylor had fame, eight marriages, and a jewelry collection worth $152 million, but after leaving her mark on the film industry, she aged fearlessly and grew beyond Hollywood. In her 50s, after her acting career had declined, she became the first star to launch a perfume line and one of the first celebrity AIDS activists.
“My fame has been ridiculous,” she once told the gossip columnist Liz Smith. “I often wondered why it persisted. But once I became involved with AIDS, I blessed every lousy photograph, all the fat jokes, every untrue rumor, every true rumor. Les scandales! My crazy fame allowed me to do this work. It all finally made sense.” She co-founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research in 1985, established the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991, and ultimately earned the Presidential Citizens Medal for her philanthropic work. At the same time, her style grew even more daring with age: She wore big hair and glittering eye makeup, feather boas, miniskirts, and plunging necklines.
In the photographic memoir My Elizabeth, out March 23, photographer Firooz Zahedi presents a rare glimpse into this lesser-known time of Taylor’s life, from age 44 to her death. Over a 35-year friendship with Taylor, Zahedi captured her most private moments on many travels, in her Bel-Air home, and among her famous inner circle: with the Rothschilds, the fashion designer Halston, Michelangelo Antonioni, and her great love Richard Burton. Click ahead to see Taylor relaxing in Cannes, at a White House dinner with Bill Clinton, and more.
Photographs from My Elizabeth by Firooz Zahedi, copyright © 2016, published by Glitterati Incorporated.