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Famous Migraineurs: Dame Elizabeth Taylor

by Nancy Harris Bonk

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, once hailed as "the most beautiful woman in the world," was also a Migraineur. Dame Elizabeth Taylor was born on February 27, 1932, to her American parents Francis and Sara, in England, where she lived with her older brother Howard. The Taylor family lived in London, where her father was a successful art dealer and gallery owner, until Elizabeth was about seven. Ms. Taylor's father also operated another art gallery in St. Louis, Missouri, while her mother (one time employed as an actress) was home raising her family. During the late 1930's, with the ever increasing turbulence growing in Europe, the Taylor family moved to America, where Elizabeth's mother began to coach her into show business.

Ms. Taylor's beauty was quickly identified and her first acting job was in a film called There's One Born Every Minute (1942) with Universal Studios. A few short years later she became a client of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer(MGM), who represented the biggest and the best stars of that era. Lassie Come Home (1943) was the first movie she played a role in under MGM Management and then had some small parts in Jane Eyre (1943) and The White Cliffs of Dover (1944). But it was the movie National Velvet (1944) that made Ms. Taylor a star. However this also began her lifelong battle with various medical issues because while shooting one scene she was tossed from her horse and broke her back. Being born with scoliosis, this break aggravated an already sensitive back. But she was a trooper, and finished the film. Its been reported that she suffered Migraines from an early age.

Stardom and acting were exactly what Elizabeth Taylor thrived on. As a young girl, she loved the costume changes, makeup and hair-do's her roles called for. At 15, she was called the, "most beautiful woman in the world," by her mother's friend and columnist Hedda Hopper. Due to the special attention her career gathered, she soon began to have a reputation of being difficult to work with, especially during the films Cynthia (1947), Little Women (1949), Father of the Bride (1950) and A Place in the Sun (1951).

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