Elizabeth Taylor was known for her love life and long acting career spanning more than five decades. Of all her husbands, losing Mike Todd was the most crushing experience for the actress.
Elizabeth Taylor would go down as arguably one of the most popular movie stars of the 20th century. For several decades, Taylor's life and career enjoyed more spotlight than any other star has ever recorded.
Taylor's fame was often fueled by the controversy that surrounded her life. She seemed to have gained more fame for her activities off the screen, even though she had the talent and looks that only a few could match.
Pictures of Elizabeth Taylor with Mike Todd and her kids | Photo: Getty Images
The "Cleopatra" star had a habit of going for what she wanted, and it did not take long before she wanted something else. Taylor was often linked to several high-profile figures throughout her lifetime, but she only ended up having eight marriages with seven different men.
Her seven husbands included a hotel chain heir, an English actor, a famous movie producer, a pop star, a Welsh actor, a U.S. senator, and a construction worker who was her last attempt at marriage.
Her long history with controversy started in her late teens as she was often linked with older men, coupled with the fact that she had her first marriage a few weeks after she turned 18. Of all her unions, her marriage with producer Mike Todd ended most tragically.
Elizabeth Taylor pictured in her home in Beverly Hills, 1957 | Photo: Getty Images
TAYLOR'S ROMANTIC LIFE
Taylor rose to fame as a child star whose role in the 1944 film "National Velvet" gained widespread attention. As she grew older, she attracted more roles and embraced controversies as they came.
Taylor had both the looks and talent to excel as a Hollywood star, so the switch came almost naturally for her when she began playing adult roles. As her career blossomed, she began to experience more activity in her love life.
While she was only 17, Taylor was in a rumored romantic relationship with the millionaire Howard Hughes. Also, she was known for calling off many relationships and had her first engagement with William D. Pawley, the 22-year-old son of a former ambassador to Brazil.
The engagement was called after a few months. For her first marriage, Taylor was married to Nicky Hilton, with whom she enjoyed a lavish wedding ceremony and long honeymoon that spanned different countries.
A few weeks into the wedding, the young couple realized it was one huge mistake and saved themselves from more trouble by divorcing after eight months.
Elizabeth Taylor and hotelier Conrad Hilton after their wedding in Hollywood | Photo: Getty Images
For her next marriage, Taylor would run into the arms of a much older man, Michael Wilding, with whom she shared two children. Taylor and actor Michael Wilding split after realizing their union was not working.
LIFE WITH MIKE TODD
Finding love was never a challenge for the dazzling "Cleopatra" actress. A few months after her second marriage ended, Taylor was already linked to the popular producer, Mike Todd.
After two failed marriages at an early age, Taylor felt she had found true love and ended her marriage adventures, but life with Todd offered both peace, joy, and heartbreak.
Like Taylor, Todd was an award-winning star whose works ruled the decade. His movie, "Around the World in 80 Days," won the Best Picture Academy Award, and his career looked bright with prospects, and so was his life with Taylor.
Although Taylor and Todd were only married for a year before his death theirs was an epic love story. Their short-lived union produced a daughter named after Taylor. Todd was said to have lavished Taylor with extravagance, and she loved it.
Todd died in a plane crash in 1958 while on a trip to New York City. A cold had prevented Taylor from accompanying him on the ill-fated trip, which would have seen her life cut short several decades before she died.
Following the producer's death, his son, Michael Jr., wanted his body to be cremated. Still, Todd's grief-stricken widow, Taylor, disagreed, claiming her late husband would never have wanted to be cremated.
Taylor was in endless pain after losing her beloved husband and was said to have frequently visited his gravesite where she dropped a dozen long-stemmed roses and an American flag at the tombstone. A few days after her last visit, the actress was thrown into further grief after Todd's body was stolen.
WHAT HAPPENED TO TODD'S BODY?
Todd's body was taken away from his grave in what authorities labeled a mysterious event. The incident happened while Taylor was married to John Warner, her third husband, after Todd's death.
The only clue left at the crime scene was a shovel, which proved that the grave had been dug by someone authorities believed wanted a ransom or was mentally ill.
The shovel was found 500 feet away from the open grave, and after proper examination, no fingerprint was found on it, leaving authorities more confused over the culprit's identity.
Elizabeth Taylor sits with her third husband, American film producer Mike Todd, at a Golden Globe Awards ceremony at the Coconut Grove nightclub, Hollywood, California, 1957 | Photo: Getty Images
FINDING TODD'S BONES
A bag of bones was later found close to the gravesite of the flamboyant Todd, and authorities positively identified the body as that of the late showman.
The case was solved by a Chicago detective Anthony Pellicano, who helped discover the missing bones even though he shed no light on the identity of the culprit.
After gaining fame for finding Todd's body, Pellicano's shady doings were later discovered decades later, and he was alleged to have orchestrated the body theft to gain popularity as a private detective.
Police officers claimed to have thoroughly searched the gravesite only to be left baffled by Pellicano's claims of finding the body at the location they had searched the previous day.
Pellicano found more success after miraculously finding Todd's body. Taylor introduced him to her powerful Hollywood friends and soon he became the go-to guy for attorneys and other stars seeking his services.
After the incident, Todd's remains were returned to his original gravesite while Taylor continued her lifestyle until her death from a heart condition in 2011.
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