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Hollywood Icon Elizabeth Taylor Dies at 79

Screen star Elizabeth Taylor, who died Wednesday morning at age 79, was a frequent guest of her friend Michael Jackson at his family home in Encino.

As news spread of Elizabeth Taylor's death on Wednesday, a trickle of fans began to stop by the actress' star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame.

Taylor, 79, died of congestive heart failure Wednesday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Taylor's children—Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd and Maria Burton—were with her at the hospital when she died, according to her publicist, Sally Morrison.

The two-time Oscar winner is also survived by 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Olivia Funtanellas, who was visiting from San Francisco, stopped by Taylor's star after she heard the news in a text from her mother.

"She’s one of the classics...like Humphrey Bogart and Grace Kelly," Funtanellas said. "She’s from that era, and she’s just gone and there’s no one else really like her from that era."

“I didn’t think it would be like this,” she added, referring to the swarm of media gathered at the star, which is located in front of 6336 Hollywood Blvd. "I was here last year, and this was just like it was with Michael Jackson, but it makes sense because she was the last living major Hollywood star."

Taylor was known for her close friendship with Michael Jackson, whom she famously nicknamed “The King of Pop” when she presented him with the Soul Train Heritage Award in 1989. Taylor frequented Encino to visit Jackson at his family home.

In a home video from 1993, Jackson called Taylor a true friend, saying, "I’ve met a lot of people in my life, and very few are real, real friends. I can probably count them on one hand. Elizabeth is one of the most loving, loyal, caring people that I know.”

Taylor spent more than six decades as one of the world’s most visible women, best known for her two Academy Awards, seven divorces, devastating illnesses and her work in AIDS philanthropy.

A wreath of violet hydrangeas and orchids was left on Taylor's star. The colors were chosen as a tribute to her "piercing violet-blue eyes," said Leron Gubler, president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

"She was one of the superstars in early Hollywood," Gubler said. "She represented glamour, she represented class. We saw her grow up in her first movies from the time she was a teenager until I think her final movie in The Flintstones, back in 1994. In that interim, she had some great roles, from National Velvet to Giant, A Place in the Sun, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Cleopatra. We could go on and on."

City News Service contributed to this report.

Lauren Rosenblum March 24, 2011 at 03:05 AM
A reader just emailed me and asked me to share this comment: "I was reading John O'Hara' Butterfield 8 last evening - the final chapter. Was in shock when Gloria Wandrous was found dead; having committed suicide (or fell off low railing as we the readers knew); she was torn apart by the side wheel, her hand was never found. Perhaps, she couldn't deal with Liggett's indecision - after all, he was yet another who loved her, for her beauty. I set the book down when I read that Gloria died - couldn't finish the last 10 +/- pages; in amazement of the turn of events in the novel. As I read the passages, it was as though Elizabeth (the actress I knew performed this part) had died. This evening I learned that Liz died. Please shed some light on this little known novel, lesser know movie with Elizabeth, Eddie Fisher, etc."
Mary resta March 24, 2011 at 03:08 AM
We will miss you!
Michelle taylor March 24, 2011 at 03:16 AM
I'm Country Music's Newest Rising Artist and it saddens me deeply for the loss of the most BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE WORLD let alone the most AMAZING! I never got to meet Ms. Taylor all though I had hoped someday. She was definitely a woman of great taste especially when it came to a girls best friend, "Diamonds!" I would give anything to be at Liz's funeral and meet the family that she graciously loved so much. Liz will always be remembered for her remarkable movies and just overall her most astonishing looks! I will miss her and miss knowing that the Legend actress is not with us now, but forever will remain on our hearts FOREVER! The name of my next album, hmmmm......maybe, "Diamond's Are A Girl's Best Friend." Michelle Taylor "Country Music Artist" cometcountry84@ yahoo.com Facebook "Michelle Taylor"
Kara Juarez March 24, 2011 at 03:31 AM
Shame on YOU Miss Michelle Taylor! This is not a moment to plug in your own fame during the death of an American ICON. RIP Elizabeth, there will never be another you!
cory snyder March 24, 2011 at 03:55 AM
Thank you Kara, I totally agree. And Michelle, Elizabeth Taylor hated being called Liz, just saying. RIP Elizabeth, you were a true Hollywood Star who had been through it all.
Michelle taylor March 24, 2011 at 04:59 AM
This is not about ANYONE'S fame, but "ELIZABETH TAYLOR." and not a time to critize and be judgmental. We all loved her and we all should love one another just as our Savior Jesus Christ loves us. Prayers to the family.
Grant MacDonald March 24, 2011 at 11:23 AM
I was honored to meet Elizabeth Taylor’s son Michael Wilding Jr. in Hollywood. Elizabeth Taylor is an International Treasure.

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