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Elizabeth Taylor Massed a Fortune Via Most Successful Perfume Line Ever

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 31, 2011 at 6:48AM

Was Elizabeth Taylor a billionaire? The Guardian reports that the movie star was worth about $1 billion at the time of her death last week at age 79, thanks to her perfume deals.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Was Elizabeth Taylor a billionaire? The Guardian reports that the movie star was worth about $1 billion at the time of her death last week at age 79, thanks to her perfume deals.

Elizabeth Arden launched a Facebook tribute page for the actress, as well they should. The company will continue to produce her famous fragrances, White Diamonds and Passion, which have generated $1 billion in sales since 1991. And Christie's will auction her much-vaunted jewelry collection, which was valued at $150 million in 2002, with proceeds going to charity and her beloved AIDS relief organization, amfAR. In the book Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry, she wrote about amassing her jewels, many of them precious pieces gifted by her fifth husband Richard Burton, including the $1 million 69-carat diamond (pictured above) as well as her favorite, the 33-carat Krupp diamond.

Remember all the reporting on Michael Jackson after his death? About his wealth, drug issues, children and family? Well, fasten your seat belts. There's a lot more Elizabeth Taylor coming our way. She's still trending, as they say, a "hot topic."

My friends and I honored Taylor last week by watching George Stevens' A Place in the Sun, a gorgeous black-and-white adaptation of Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy. It's probably her best movie; she's perfect in it, and was never more beautiful, playing opposite Montgomery Clift, who was a close friend. This must-see movie reminds how few films of this caliber are made anymore.

[Elizabeth Taylor photo courtesy Forum Press/Rex USA.]

This article is related to: Headliners, Celebs


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.