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Elizabeth Taylor

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After her success in NATIONAL VELVET, Elizabeth was considered a big-enough box-office draw to carry a picture (with a little help from Lassie).  In the third of the Lassie series, THE COURAGE OF LASSIE (1946), Taylor, now in her early teens, plays the daughter of a sheep-herding family in the Pacific Northwest who adopts and raises a wounded puppy (whom she names "Bill"). 

Although the dog is, as usual, the star of the show, and the story doesn't give Taylor the acting opportunities she had in NATIONAL VELVET, the fact that Frank Morgan was the only significant supporting character in this film demonstrates the confidence MGM had in their new star.

Memorable Quotations:

  • "Every day I pray to God to give me horses -- wonderful horses -- to make me the best rider in England." --as Velvet Brown in NATIONAL VELVET.
  • "I can't help it, Father.  I'd sooner have that horse happy than go to heaven." --as Velvet Brown in NATIONAL VELVET.
  • "You mustn't steal things." --as Kathie Merrick in THE COURAGE OF LASSIE.
  • "It's a very odd feeling -- to be someone's God." --as Kathie Merrick in THE COURAGE OF LASSIE.
  • "But how do you make hope happen?" --as Kathie Merrick in THE COURAGE OF LASSIE.
  • "If I followed my natural impulse, I'd push you in the flower bed." --as Carol Pringle in A DATE WITH JUDY.
  • "Steven's a man, Judy.  And once a person is a man, there's nothing anyone can do about it." --as Carol Pringle in A DATE WITH JUDY.
  • "As far as I'm concerned, there are three ages: youth, middle age and infirmity." --as Carol Pringle in A DATE WITH JUDY.

At that awkward age when she wasn't really a child or a young adult, Elizabeth found good roles a little hard to come by, but managed to hang on to her career with supporting roles in films with adult stars.  At left is a still from LIFE WITH FATHER (1947) starring Irene Dunne and William Powell.

After a musical debut in CYNTHIA (1947), for which her voice was eventually dubbed, Taylor left the singing to MGM's more qualified vocalists.  In A DATE WITH JUDY (1948), Taylor appeared with the studio's rising soprano star Jane Powell, in the scene at right, too love struck to eat any ice cream.

In 1949, Taylor joined a host of young MGM starlets (including June Allyson, Janet Leigh and Margaret O'Brien, with Taylor and Mary Astor at left) in the studio's Technicolor film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN (1949).  Cast as Amy, the March family's vain, proud and frivolous third daughter, Taylor wore a blonde wig for the film and was romantically paired with Peter Lawford. 

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Last updated: March 10, 2011.
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