Elizabeth Taylor has led a big life. "'The more the better' has always been my motto," she once said. Indeed with three Oscars, eight marriages, 12 best-selling fragrances, and countless carats of gemstones, she is a one-woman epic, dressed for the part with towering sculptures of ebony hair and artfully blended sweeps of jewel-toned shadow. Yet, despite her timeless beauty, juicy personal history, and legendary film performances, her most extraordinary role has been that of a tireless fundraiser for AIDS awareness. For Taylor, living large means giving big.
1942: A 10-year-old Taylor lit up the screen in her first film, "There's One Born Every Minute."
1944: Following the runaway success of "National Velvet," the ebony-haired 12-year-old filmed "Courage of Lassie."
1949: The teenage "Little Women" star began to make her transition into adult roles with buoyant waves and a come-hither stare.
1953: Taylor drew attention to her strong brows and famous violet eyes with a trendy pixie style in "The Girl Who Had Everything." Offscreen, she gave birth to Michael Howard Wilding, her son with second husband Michael Wilding.
1954: The star of "Rhapsody" and "Elephant Walk" swept back her short locks with a sweet band of flowers.
1954: Classic screen siren! Taylor wore her hair in a wavy pageboy the year she starred in "The Last Time I Saw Paris" and "Beau Brummell."
1961: A well-coiffed Taylor won her first Oscar for her role in "Butterfield 8." Merely two weeks before the ceremony, the pneumonia-struck star called stylist Alexandre of Paris to her hospital bed to revive her spirits with one of his gravity-defying bouffants. "She was held up by three nurses while I created her famous artichoke cut," the hairdresser recalled.
1963: Taylor starred alongside fiance Richard Burton in "The V.I.P.s." To play a wealthy socialite, she adorned her glossy bun with her own emeralds.
1967: Assuming the role of a bored millionairess in "Boom!," she wore a fanciful floral headdress courtesy of Tiziani of Rome designer, Karl Lagerfeld. (Offscreen, she picked up her second Oscar from her role in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?")
1969: The mother of four adopted a bohemian look that included a crown of braids coiled over loose locks.
1974: Sporting her trademark voluminous curls and a deep tan, the star of "The Driver's Seat" presented at the Academy Awards.
1985: With her salt-and-pepper pouf and well-defined brows, the 53-year-old took on the '80s looking better than ever.
1986: Perhaps as a nod to her recent nuptials to seventh husband Larry Fortensky, Taylor added fresh flowers and trailing white ribbons to her short coif.
1992: The breathtaking 60-year-old presented at the Academy Awards in fuchsia lipstick and lavender lined eyes.
1993: She borrowed a Van Cleef & Arpels diamond daisy necklace in which to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Oscars. After the evening, "Elizabeth Taylor decided it was her good-luck necklace and bought it," the jeweler's Muffie Potter once told InStyle.
1998: Stylish even in strife, Taylor let her hair go strikingly silver following a surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. "True glamour comes from within," she said at an event thrown in her honor by the CFDA. "It radiates from the soul."
2000: Taylor was named a Dame of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
2007: She turned 75 as a cinema legend, the head of a billion dollar fragrance empire, and a tireless fundraiser for AIDS research. Naturally, she wore bombshell red lipstick to her birthday party.