updated 02/11/2011 AT 8:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/23/2011 AT 10:05 AM ET
Between the violet eyes and indescribable beauty, the stormy marriages and tabloid headlines, what gets mentioned far too rarely in conversations about Elizabeth Taylor is her talent. When she chose to be – when the material was her equal – she wasn’t simply mesmerizing, holding the screen like so few can. She was a force.
Taylor became an international sensation in 1944’s National Velvet, when the 12-year-old played plucky horse lover Velvet Brown, but it wasn’t until 1956’s Giant that she came into her own.