A goddess revealed: Intimate portrait of Liz Taylor at 24 seen for the first time
Countless photographs have paid homage to Liz Taylor’s fabulous figure. But none has been so revealing as this.
A private collector has released the only known picture of the star – then aged 24 – posing nude. It is understood to be the first time the photo has been shown publicly.
It was an engagement gift from Miss Taylor to producer Michael Todd, who was her third husband.
Fabulous: Elizabeth Taylor aged 24 in the photograph she gave to third husband Michael Todd. The picture was taken by one of her closest friends, actor and photographer Roddy McDowall
The picture was taken by one of her closest friends, actor and photographer Roddy McDowall. He persuaded her to pose naked by promising her it would be done tastefully.
She then gave it to Todd as a present after he proposed in 1956 – the pair married a few months later but the relationship was tragically short-lived.
Todd was killed 13 months after their wedding day when his private plane crashed during a storm over New Mexico.
Elizabeth Taylor with third husband Michael Todd and her sons Christopher and Michael
Old friends: Roddy McDowall and Elizabeth Taylor, years after her nude picture was taken
A devastated Miss Taylor is believed to have given the nude photograph to her assistant and make-up artist Penny Taylor.
It was bought by private collector Jim Shaudis in 1980 and had been thought lost. But after her death from heart failure last week aged 79, he decided to show the image publicly for fans of the star.
Since her death there have been a string of revelations and allegations about Dame Elizabeth’s past.
Most recently it has been claimed that she was born at a ‘swingers’ party’ in a Cheshire village, rather than London, which is what is written on her birth certificate.
It was said that her father, the art dealer Francis Taylor, and his actress wife Sara regularly attended disreputable gatherings in the village and were said to be ‘the swingers of their day’.
Sexual chemistry: Elizabeth Taylor with Paul Newman in 1958's Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
Elizabeth Taylor as a child star in 1940 (left) and with future husband Richard Burton in Cleopatra (right)
Hollywood great: Elizabeth Taylor in her 1950s prime
It has also been claimed that she was the product of an affair and her real father was actually the millionaire Conservative MP Victor Cazalet, who became her godfather.
And in recently revealed love letters, a 17-year-old Elizabeth shared her dreams with her fiance before later agonising about returning an engagement ring when the relationship soured.
The handwritten letters are from 1949, when Taylor was engaged to William Pawley Jr, who was in his 20s and the son of a wealthy American businessman and ambassador.
Young love: One of Elizabeth Taylor's handwritten love letters to her fiance William Pawley in 1949
'I received your wire this morning about sending the ring and bracelet to New York,' Taylor wrote to Pawley in a letter dated September 20, 1949, when their relationship was ending.
'I have the ring on now. It is sparkling so beautifully in the sunshine. I suppose this will be the last time I have it on - for a while at least. Take good care of it, Darling, for my heart is embedded right there in the center of it.'
The actress was buried earlier this week on a quiet hill outside Los Angeles in a small private ceremony.
Brief romance: ElizabethTaylor, aged 17 in this picture, with fiance William Pawley - son of a wealthy American businessman and ambassador - in Miami, Florida in 1949
She spent the last six weeks of her life in hospital and died of heart failure.
One of her last Twitter messages read simply: ‘I’ll let you know when it is all over. Love you, Elizabeth.’
The star had been plagued by health problems all her life. She estimated she had almost died four times.
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