In 1950, at the tender age of 22, she married Conrad N. Hilton, Jr., of the Hilton Hotel Empire. Sadly, the marriage lasted under a year. Shortly thereafter, she married an actor from England, Michael Wilding. In 1952, they had two sons. Ms. Taylor's acting career was very productive during this time, but was not demanding on her acting ability. Giant (1956) was a blockbuster hit she made with James Dean, but unfortunately, Dean was never able to see his work; he was killed in a car accident in 1955 before the release of this film. Her next few films won her Oscar nominations, Raintree County (1957) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Mike Todd, a movie producer, was to become Ms.Taylor's third husband during some very difficult years. Being terribly distraught over James Dean's death and additionally upset by the almost fatal car accident her dear friend Montgomery Clift was in when he left her home after a party, the final blow came when her husband, Todd died in a plane crash. This put Ms. Taylor into a cycle of addiction that would be troublesome for the rest of her life. She used pills and alcohol to ease her emotional pain. However shortly after Todd's death, Ms. Taylor began a relationship with Eddie Fisher under odd circumstances. Fisher was the best man at Elizabeth and Mike's wedding, and Debbie Reynolds, Fisher's then wife, was the matron of honor. Fisher seemed destined to become Taylor's fourth husband, and they married in 1959.
Ms. Taylor was paid $500,000 for the successful hit Suddenly Last Summer (1959). This was the largest amount of money ever paid to an actress, for eight weeks of work. In addition, she received another Oscar nomination for the film. In 1960, she finally won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Butterfield 8 (1960). From here, Ms. Taylor worked with 20th Century Fox and received $1 million for starring in the film Cleopatra (1961) with Richard Burton. While filming this movie, Ms. Taylor and Burton began their love affair on and off the set and even raised the eyes of the Vatican, who called the stars "adult children." An emotional crisis ensued, and Ms. Taylor attempted to take her life in 1962. But Taylor and Burton could not be kept apart. Divorcing their respective spouses, they were married in 1964. Richard Burton became the fifth and sixth husband of Elizabeth Taylor.