Six Books You Need to Read About Elizabeth Taylor
From her iconic onscreen roles, to her infamous offscreen love affairs,
Elizabeth Taylor's life provided more than enough material for the book publishing
world. The following five tomes--with one on the way--give the best accounts of the legendary screen star's tumultuous and fascinating life.
The life story: Elizabeth by J. Randy Taraborrelli (Grand Central, 2006)
The most recent biography, this is a well written and sympathetic account of Taylor’s life from her childhood stardom through her turbulent marriages to her later AIDS activism. A good starting point to learn about Taylor.
The love affair that fascinated the world: Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor,
Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger (Harper, 2010)
No Hollywood romance has ever been so passionate, so turbulent, or so
interesting as the one between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. This is one of the best books written about the “romance of the century.”
The movie star: How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood by
William J. Mann (Houghton Mifflin, 2009)
A must read for anyone who wants to understand today’s celebrity culture
through a look at its true queen. It focuses on the heyday of her career
when she was the highest paid actress ever, an Oscar winner, and a tabloid
sensation for her torrid love affairs. But the book also steps back to look
at the studio system, the tabloid culture of the day, and mid-century
America to show how fame became celebrity.
The Bestseller-in-waiting: Elizabeth Taylor: The Lady, The Lover, The
Legend: 1932-2011 by David Bret, (Mainstream Publishing)
According to UK-based Bookseller magazine, Mainstream Publishing has had this book ready for five years but held off publication until Taylor’s death for fears of being sued over the scandalous details. (Link:
In her own words: Elizabeth Taylor never wrote a real autobiography (a quickie in the 60s was panned as superficial) but she did pen two books later in life, one about dieting an one about jewelry, that show who she was in her own words.
Elizabeth Takes Off: On Weight Gain, Weight Loss, Self-Image, and
Self-Esteem by Elizabeth Taylor (Putnam 1988, still available on Amazon)
Here Taylor mixed the story of her much publicized weight gain (and
subsequent loss) in the 70s and 80s with advice about getting the right
mindset for dieting. She also shares her own workouts, meal plan, and
recipes. A diet book that serves as a fascinating snapshot of a woman at
the low ebb of her celebrity.
Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry by Elizabeth Taylor (Simon &
Schuster, 2002. Sadly out of print):
This is the closest we ever came to an autobiography: 200+ photographs of
Taylor’s favorite jewelry interspersed with personal anecdotes about the
pieces and what they meant to her‹a diamond necklace from Mike Todd, the Krupp diamond from Richard Burton, a charm bracelet celebrating her
children. A rare and intimate look at Taylor in her own words.