Elizabeth Taylor Remembered at Private Memorial Service

11:38 PM PST 10/16/2011 by Kimberly Nordyke
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Colin Farrell, Michael Caine and Elton John are among the 400 guests who paid tribute to the late actress Sunday at an event on the Warner Bros. lot.

Elizabeth Taylor's family and friends paid tribute to the late actress during a private memorial held Sunday on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank.

Nearly 400 people attended the memorial, which took place in the Steven J. Ross Theater, to pay their respects to the actress, who died March 23 of congestive heart failure at age 79.

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Colin Farrell hosted the event, during which speakers including Michael Caine and Taylor's stepdaugher Kate Burton paid tribute to the late actress' life and career and shared stories about her humor, generosity and determination to do stand up for what she believed in.

Mike Nichols, who directed the actress to an Oscar-winning performance in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, contributed a video message.

Grandson Rhys Tivey played "Amazing Grace" on the trumpet, a song that his grandmother loved.

Meanwhile, Elton John closed the program with a performance of "Blue Eyes" as a tribute to Taylor.

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The program also featured tributes to Taylor's career outside of Hollywood, including her successful Elizabeth Arden fragrances White Diamonds and Passion as well as her advocacy on behalf of people living with HIV/AIDS.  

“My mother was an extraordinary woman whose life touched so many, most of whom we will never know," son Michael Wilding said. "Our whole family is extremely proud of her accomplishments, and know what a unique and special experience it was to have her in our lives.  Today it was especially meaningful for us to be with so many good friends to celebrate her spirit, which will be with us forever."

Wilding was at her mom's side when she died along with her other children: Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd and Maria Burton.

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Organizers of Sunday's event are asking those who want to pay tribute to Taylor to contribute to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation at www.elizabethtayloraidsfoundation.org.

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