Elizabeth Taylor made her mark in showbiz and left behind a legacy that still honors her memory to date. Moreover, being a grandmother to ten grandchildren had a lasting impact on her loved ones.
Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Taylor was married eight times to seven different men. Two of her grandchildren, Naomi and Laela Wilding, remembered her during their interview on "Today" earlier this year.
The two granddaughters revealed Taylor was an adoring grandmother and a matriarch who still inspires the women in the family years after her death.
(L) An undated headshot of actress Elizabeth Taylor in New York City. (R) Elizabeth Taylor with Richard Burton and children Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Elisabeth Todd and Maria Burton in 1967 | Photo: Getty Images
THE EVERLASTING IMPRESSION
During Women’s History Month, the ladies remembered the actress in a sit-down interview with Dylan Dreyer. Naomi, 45, explained:
“I remember sitting on the floor of her dressing room and just watching her get ready – just watch this sort of transformation unfold.”
She referred to her grandmother getting ready to be the star everyone knew and adored. Naomi added regardless of an individual being a superstar, it does not necessarily mean they cannot be loving and squishy.
Elizabeth Taylor wearing a green sleeveless low-cut dress, with a white fur wrap on the arm of the armchair in which she sits, captured in 1950 | Photo: Getty Images
Naomi shared Taylor always perceived herself to be responsible for raising the younger generations in the family and that it was important to her to instill those values in them.
Another one of the megastar’s values, according to her granddaughter, was one following their heart’s desires. Naomi explained:
“The idea of following your heart and being true to whatever love you have – not to be afraid of being hurt.”
She noted that Taylor was proud of how much she loved while revealing that she discovered some of her grandmother’s love letters. A few of them, including never-before-seen photos, will be featured in a biography about the star in 2022.
Taylor was also passionate about activism and her 50-year-old granddaughter, Laela, highlighted her most effective campaign, recalling that the AIDS crisis touched her from the onset:
"She felt like people didn't recognize the urgency of need. So, she put herself front and center in a heartfelt way."
The British-American actress co-founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) in 1985 and established the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991.
Taylor remained outspoken about the cause until her death. She was the face of many causes throughout her life, including the voice for gender pay equality.
The dark-haired beauty made history by securing a $1 million salary for her iconic role of Cleopatra in the 1963 film of the same name. The Academy Award winner also became the first celebrity to launch a fragrance empire.
A ROLE MODEL
Most significantly, Taylor was a role model to her family. Laela revealed that her achievements inspired her, adding, “And I have a teenage daughter, and she inspires my daughter with the self-confidence she presents.”
In the inspiration Taylor continues to provide, the sisters hope that her activism spirit and philanthropy efforts have an everlasting impact on society.
HER LEGACY LIVES ON
Taylor’s grandkids are ensuring that her legacy lives on. Laela, a graphic designer, told Town & Country in May 2017 that she could not think of anything else inspiring other than her grandmother’s compassion and determination for other people.
Much of her work on the causes close to her heart, especially her AIDS Foundation, is run by one of her grandsons, Quinn Tivey. The 35-year-old is an artist and a trustee of the Elizabeth Taylor Trust.
Shortly after her death, he carried on where Taylor left off. Quinn and his cousin Tarquin Wilding were asked to partake in an event in her honor.
Quinn talked about his personal experience of hearing from people about the work his grandmother had done, which touched many people, and that that moved them.
Quinn said from that moment he knew that he had to get involved and that through the entire experience, it became apparent how crucial it was for the family to be participating in her legacy.
Naomi, a Los Angeles gallerist, added that it was an opportunity that the rest of the family had always anticipated because their grandmother did not need much help at the time.
Apart from her stellar philanthropy work, Taylor was best known as a fashion icon. In February 2014, Naomi shared her fond memories in an interview with Glamour.
She recalled when she and her sister Laela went to their grandmother’s house in LA and spent hours in her closet. Naomi shared the trailblazer had all the designer items such as Valentino and Versace, including things she picked up in Mexico.
Naomi said they would sit on her bed, and she would open her jewelry closet and tell stories of her life through each piece. Notably, what influenced her decision to study fashion design at Central Saint Martins in London was playing with Taylor’s clothes and sewing with her.
Another grandchild of Taylor, Elizabeth Carson, revealed the good old memories of her dear grandma in an interview with Town & Country in April 2016.
Carson shared Taylor did her make-up and hair for her Junior and Senior prom. As for one of her favorite keepsakes of Taylor’s jewelry, she said it was her chandelier earrings from India, which featured rose quartz, diamonds, and pearls.
And the most heart-warming part of her grandmother’s memory, Carson said it is her humanitarian work, adding she always stood up for what was right.
Apart from playing a very influential role as a grandmother, Taylor was also a mother of four. She and her second husband Michael welcomed sons Michael Jr. and Christopher in 1953 and 1955.
After that, she and her third spouse Mike Todd welcomed daughter Liza Todd in 1957. In 1961, Taylor and her fourth husband, Richard Burton, welcomed another daughter Maria Burton.
Laela is the first of the grandchildren and was born in 1971 to Michael Jr. and Johanna Lykke-Dahn. She is also a yoga instructor in Portland, Oregon.
Laela is followed by her sister Naomi, who was born in 1976. Naomi runs the Wilding Cran Gallery in LA with her husband, Anthony Gran.
Taylor’s first grandson is Caleb Wilding, born in 1983 to Christopher Wilding and Aileen Getty. The couple adopted him that same year, and his brother was born a year later.
Taylor’s second grandson is Andrew Wilding, born in 1984. He followed his grandmother’s footsteps into the entertainment industry, opting for work behind the scenes.
Another grandson is Tarquin, born in 1989 to Michael Jr. and Brooke Palance, the daughter of Academy Award-winning actor Jack Palance.
He is followed by Lowell Wilding, the son of Christopher, and his second wife, Margaret Carlton. Lowell was born in 1991, and he works as the ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor Trust. Quinn is the son of Liza Todd and artist Happy Tivey, born in 1986.
He is followed by Rhys Tivey, the second son of Happy and Liza. The 30-year-old earned a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance from New York University.
Maria Burton, the daughter of Taylor and Richard, is the mother of Carson. Carson works as a social worker in New York and serves as an Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation ambassador.
The youngest grandchild is Richard McKeown, who is the son of Maria Burton. According to Hollywood Life, not much is known about him, but his mother filed a restraining order against his father once.
FACTS ABOUT TAYLOR
The esteemed star was born on February 27, 1932, in Hampstead, London, England. On March 23, 2011, Taylor died in LA, California, from congestive heart failure.