5 Surprising Facts About Elizabeth Taylor

On March 23, 2011, actress Elizabeth Taylor, who appeared in more than 50 films, and won two Academy Awards, died of complications from congestive heart failure at age 79.  Here are 5 surprising facts you didn't know about Elizabeth Taylor...

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She Had Twice The Normal Number of Eyelashes Was there anything more stunning than Taylor's violet eyes and double eyelashes? While Taylor's eyes were not actually violet -- they were dark blue -- they could appear violet because of an excess of melanin pigment. As for those eyelashes, Taylor had a genetic mutation. This mutation, known as lymphedema-distichiassyndrome was caused by a gene called FOXC2. Apparently, 7 percent of people with this mutation also have congenital heart disease, and Taylor did have heart troubles that led to her death.

She Has Been On The Cover of Life Magazine a Record-Number of Times Taylor landed her first Life cover at the age of 15 and was on the cover 14 times throughout her life. She's been in over a thousand magazines as well, and the only person who's graced the cover of People solo more than she has is Princess Diana.

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She Launched The First Celebrity Fragrance These days, it seems like every celebrity has their own signature fragrance. But the celebrity perfume and cologne craze all started with Taylor. In 1987, she released her perfume called “White Diamonds“ in collaboration with Elizabeth Arden, Inc. Every year, her perfume still brings in $1 billion in revenue globally.

"Cleopatra" Made Her A Million Dollars When producer Walter Wanger was casting for the film Cleopatra, he knew he wanted Taylor to star as the lead role. He called her then-husband, Eddie Fisher, to discuss the movie. Taylor jokingly said to Fisher, “Tell him I’ll do the film for a million dollars.” This type of salary was unheard of in the industry, especially for a female leading lady. But Wanger obliged, and Taylor became the first actress to receive $1 million dollars for a single movie. Taylor later stated, “If someone’s dumb enough to offer me $1 million to make a picture, I’m certainly not dumb enough to turn it down.”

MGM Paid For Her First Wedding When Taylor married Conrad Hilton Jr. in 1950, her film career had taken off and he had a sizable fortune due to his father’s hotel chain. Though neither of them would have struggled for foot the bill for their 600-guest affair, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer actually paid for the whole thing.