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Liza Todd — The Story of Elizabeth Taylor's Daughter

Bettina Dizon
Jul 28, 2022
10:57 A.M.
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Liza Todd is Elizabeth Taylor's daughter with her late husband, Mike Todd. Liza carved her path away from the spotlight and worked toward helping African wildlife.

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Liza Todd is famously known for being the child of the famous actress Elizabeth Taylor. After being in the spotlight as a child, many thought she would follow in her mother's footsteps, but Liza decided to carve her path.

Instead, she stayed away from the public eye and lived a relatively private life while watching and supporting her mom behind afar.

Elizabeth Frances Todd, in the UK, November 21,1973. | Source: Getty Images

Elizabeth Frances Todd, in the UK, November 21,1973. | Source: Getty Images

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As the child of a superstar, one may think that Liza had an easy life growing up, but her's was marked by tragedy after her father died when she was only six months old. Here's what we know about Liza Todd.

MEET LIZA TODD

On August 6, 1957, Elizabeth Frances Todd was born by cesarean section, weighing four pounds and 14 ounces, to Mike Todd and Elizabeth Taylor. Growing up, Liza and her siblings received an overwhelming amount of attention.

According to Michael Wilding, paparazzi would crawl all over the walls and around their Italy residence. "I remember once we were given permission to use the garden hose on the telephoto lenses peering over the wall," he said.

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Liza and her sister, Maria, had a lot of security guards, as Taylor was generally protective of her children's identity. Still, it was impossible to avoid all the cameras. Eventually, Liza grew up with an aversion to the spotlight.

Elizabeth Taylor bottle-feeding newborn Liza Todd with her sons Christopher and Michael H. Wilding, and her husband Michael Todd observing, 1957. | Photograph by Toni Frissell. Wikimedia Commons Images

Elizabeth Taylor bottle-feeding newborn Liza Todd with her sons Christopher and Michael H. Wilding, and her husband Michael Todd observing, 1957. | Photograph by Toni Frissell. Wikimedia Commons Images

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She went to a private school in Gstaad, Switzerland, and although she tried acting in school productions, it never worked out. However, Liza has a small acting credit in the 1969 movie "Anne of the Thousand Days."

When asked by a reporter at age 12 if she wanted to follow in her mom's footsteps, she allegedly said, "An actress? Urgh." Liza never used her parents' fame to further her career or benefit from it. Instead, she pursued her dreams.

"Liza doesn't have a persecution complex about being Elizabeth Taylor's daughter," her long-time representative Jeanne Chisholm said. Nevertheless, Liza finds happiness in collaborating with her mother on projects, including a jewelry line they did together. "She thoroughly enjoyed doing projects with her mother," Chisholm added.

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Although she didn't get into acting, Liza pursued a creative career. She attended the Hornsey College of Art in London and the Otis Institute in Los Angeles, and after finishing her studies in 1979, she started a professional career as a sculptor.

Mike Todd with daughter Liza and wife Elizabeth Taylor, 1957 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

Mike Todd with daughter Liza and wife Elizabeth Taylor, 1957 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

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Liza's love for horses influenced her work, and she started working on equestrian bronze sculptures, receiving private commissions from the owners of some purebred racing champions.

She has also worked on monuments, including a life-size calf in bronze for the village of Gstaad and a sculpture of a life-size rescue dog in memory of the September 11 events made with debris from the World Trade Center.

In 2016, Liza shifted her focus to African wildlife, particularly elephants under South Africa's elephant orphanage, HERD. Three years later, she started making Rescue Scarves with elephant and cheetah designs from the artwork she created for From Line to Form: the Jabulani Elephants exhibition.

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Her profits, 100 percent of it, went straight to helping endangered animals in South Africa, including elephants and cheetahs.

 Lord David Rowe-Beddoe and Liza Todd Burton attend a ceremony honoring Richard Burton with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 1, 2013 | Photo: Getty Images

Lord David Rowe-Beddoe and Liza Todd Burton attend a ceremony honoring Richard Burton with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 1, 2013 | Photo: Getty Images

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As an adult, Liza would rather stay away from the spotlight. Although it is unsure if she still resides in Hudson, Liza previously lived surrounded by animals in a modest home despite her family's wealth.

WHO ARE LIZA TODD'S PARENTS?

Liza's mother is world-renowned actress Elizabeth Taylor, known for having several Oscar nominations and awards for her on-screen performances. She is most known for her roles in "Cleopatra," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf," "Giant," and "Car on a Hot Tin Body."

Before marrying Liza's father, Elizabeth walked down the aisle twice to marry Conrad Nicholson Hilton Jr. in 1950 and Michael Wilding in 1952. She met Mike soon after during a sailing party that he hosted. Like Elizabeth, Mike was an Oscar Award-winning producer with several recognitions.

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Elizabeth Taylor (1932 - 2011) in a white fur coat, circa 1955. | Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Elizabeth Taylor (1932 - 2011) in a white fur coat, circa 1955. | Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Elizabeth fell for Mike as he did for her. The producer pursued her despite the challenges that came with their relationship and even told the actress, as per Grunge:

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"You are going to marry only one guy, see, and his name is me."

She and Todd tied the knot in February 1957 in Acapulco, Mexico, and in August of the same year, they welcomed their only daughter, Elizabeth "Liza" Todd. Sadly, Liza had no chance to make memories with her father, as Mike passed away when she was six months old.

Mike died alongside three more people in a tragic crash aboard his private plane, the "Liz," near Grants, New Mexico, in February 1958. According to reports, Mike was on his way to New York to accept the "Showman of the Year" award.

Elizabeth Taylor sits with her third husband, American film producer Mike Todd (1909 - 1958), at a Golden Globe Awards ceremony at the Coconut Grove nightclub, Hollywood, California, 1957. | Photo: GettyImages

Elizabeth Taylor sits with her third husband, American film producer Mike Todd (1909 - 1958), at a Golden Globe Awards ceremony at the Coconut Grove nightclub, Hollywood, California, 1957. | Photo: GettyImages

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Elizabeth, who was supposed to join him, stayed behind with the kids because she had a cold. When Mike kissed his wife before departing, he told her he would call when they stopped to refuel. He didn't know it would be their last goodbye.

The plane never made it to New York as turbulent weather caused it to crash in New Mexico on March 22, 1958. There were no survivors. Mike's funeral took place in Chicago.

Elizabeth was devastated by the news and found solace in the arms of her late husband's friend, singer Eddie Fisher. However, since he was married, Elizabeth was labeled as a homewrecker.

Elizabeth and Fisher married in 1959, but three years later, she started an affair with fellow actor Richard Burton while working on "Cleopatra."

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Portrait of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor photographed in November 1970 | Photo: GettyImages

Portrait of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor photographed in November 1970 | Photo: GettyImages

The relationship garnered much media attention because Burton was married too, and the paparazzi followed the pair everywhere they went. Eventually, they divorced their respective partners and got married in a private ceremony in 1964.

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Burton adopted Liza and helped Elizabeth finish the adoption process of Maria Burton, a German orphan she was initially going to adopt with Fisher.

LIZA TODD'S FAMILY

Liza married artist and teacher Hap Tivey in 1984. They share two sons, Quinn and Rhys Tivey, who are involved in the entertainment industry. Although Liza and Tivey divorced in 2003, they have a reportedly amicable relationship and still live near each other in upstate New York.

These days, Liza's sons work closely with the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, involved with several projects. Quinn Tivey holds an MFA from the School of Visual Arts and has been a co-trustee of his grandmother's estate since 2016. Quinn revealed that he was working on an archive of the late star's life and work.

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Eliza Carson, Kate Burton, Laela Wilding, Finn McMurray, Quinn Tivey, Tarquin Wilding, Naomi Wilding, and Rhys Tivey attend the AIDSWatch 2016 Positive Leadership Award Reception at the Rayburn House Office Building on February 29, 2016 | Photo: GettyImages

Eliza Carson, Kate Burton, Laela Wilding, Finn McMurray, Quinn Tivey, Tarquin Wilding, Naomi Wilding, and Rhys Tivey attend the AIDSWatch 2016 Positive Leadership Award Reception at the Rayburn House Office Building on February 29, 2016 | Photo: GettyImages

"Grandma would have been incredibly proud of the work being done through the 'HIV Is Not A Crime' initiative," Quinn said. "Grandma stood up for what she believed in, living boldly and courageously. She would never buckle under pressure, and she certainly would not support the status quo if the status quo didn't feel right."

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Although no longer with him, Quinn remembers his grandmother not as a superstar but as a loving mother figure who he would watch movies with in bed.

Quinn has also worked behind the scenes as a producer in "Dead on Thursday" and additional crew on "What's Your Number?" "The Sunset Limited," "Shameless," and "The Company Men."

On the other hand, Rhys Tivey is a trumpeter, songwriter, and vocalist with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance from NYU Steinhardt. Like his brother, Rhys is also an Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation ambassador.

Liza Todd during 6th Annual RFK Tennis Tournament - Pre-Tournament Celebrity Party at Rainbow Room in New York City, New York, United States | Photo: GettyImages

Liza Todd during 6th Annual RFK Tennis Tournament - Pre-Tournament Celebrity Party at Rainbow Room in New York City, New York, United States | Photo: GettyImages

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He's also a yoga teacher and an advocate for the fight against climate change. His first album debuted in 2020.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR'S LOVE FOR HER FAMILY

Elizabeth Taylor was a loving grandmother and mother to her family. As a grandmother, she spent quality time with her grandchildren and gave them advice. Her grandkids, Naomi and Laela, would bond with Elizabeth through fashion. Naomi recalled:

"I spent hours in her closet. She had all the designers – Valentino, Versace – and things she'd pick up at the market in Mexico. She'd open her jewelry closet and tell us stories of her life through each piece."

According to a friend, Elizabeth was a "terrific mother and loved her children dearly." Her legacy is not only felt in the entertainment industry but in her family as well.

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