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Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011
Time reported in 1949 that “the movie business was bad last year,” and Hollywood was looking for remedies, namely better stories and younger performers. One actress in particular seemed to be a sure fix, the seventeen-year-old former child prodigy Elizabeth Taylor. She had been the star of National Velvet (1944) and was currently among the bevy of starlets in MGM’s Little Women, with prospects of glamorous adult roles to follow. Her “great beauty,” as captured here by artist Boris Chaliapin, was her “foremost asset,” for beneath that “breath-taking façade,” reported Time, “there is scarcely a symptom of sophistication.” Despite Time’s dismissive assessment, Taylor would go on to win two Oscars for Best Actress and is regarded as one of the supreme stars of Hollywood’s golden age.
Boris Chaliapin, 1949
Time cover, August 22, 1949
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