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Elizabeth Taylor Death Anniversary: Legendary Actress Died Two Years Ago

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ELIZABETH TAYLOR DEATH
A portrait taken in May 1969 shows American actress Elizabeth Taylor during a reception in Versailles. (Photo by AFP/Getty Images) | Getty Images

It's been two years since the legendary Elizabeth Taylor died of congestive heart failure at the age of 79. The classic Hollywood actress had been suffering from health issues for a number of years. In addition to osteoporosis and scoliosis, Taylor underwent cardiac surgery in 2009 to replace a leaky heart valve. She spent the last month of her life in the hospital, punctuating years of physical problems that finally turned off the long-standing Hollywood spotlight that shone brightly on her career.

In addition to winning two Oscars, one in 1961 for "Butterfield 8" and the other in 1967 for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," Taylor was perhaps best known for the revolving door of men who came and went from her life. She was married eight times, twice to Richard Burton, whom she met in 1960 on the set of "Cleopatra." The two began an illicit affair that was condemned by the pope, marking her second marital scandal after previously embarking on a romance with Eddie Fisher while he was still married to Debbie Reynolds.

But while many liken Taylor's tabloid-friendly legacy to that of Lindsay Lohan, who portrayed the actress in the roundly panned Lifetime movie "Liz & Dick," not all of Taylor's off-camera life was enshrouded in scandal. Often considered a devout humanitarian and activist, she spoke out in support of AIDS causes at a time when few celebrities had the chutzpah to do so. She co-founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, and in 1992 was honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, a special Academy Award devoted to humanitarianism.

Two years after her death, take a look back at the indomitable legacy of the one and only Elizabeth Taylor:

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