Important Elizabeth Taylor Memorabilia at Auction
For many child actors, being suddenly thrown into the fame and limelight of Hollywood can prove strenuous and sometimes career-debilitating — but for Elizabeth Taylor, who suddenly became a worldwide sensation at 12 years-old, it marked the beginning of an epic career that spanned decades.
Elizabeth Taylor began her acting career at age 9 soon after moving from England to Beverly Hills during the Golden Era of Hollywood when the studios just about controlled every aspect of actors’ lives.
A few years later, her life changed in 1944 as she was cast the role of “Velvet Brown” in “National Velvet” and we are thrilled to be auctioning her iconic dress worn in the film while riding her horse; a fantastic piece of movie memorabilia.
Up for auction is the following screen-worn romper from the beloved equestrian film —
Originally purchased at the 1970 MGM wardrobe sale where Debbie Reynolds bought much of her movie memorabilia costume collection, the romper is one-piece and was custom-made by famous costumier “Irene” and has her name handwritten on the inside tag, and features an off-white upper and blue-violet bottom.
Most of the film was shot in Pebble Beach, California, and follows the story of a girl who fulfills her dream of training her horse and riding it to a first place finish in the Grand National.
The film was adapted from author Enid Bagnold’s 1935 novel of the same name and big-time Pandro S. Berman produced and Clarence Brown directed the family drama.
Elizabeth Taylor spent her early childhood in England and became a skilled horseback rider, learning to ride at age 3, which helped land her the role in the film.
Though she could ride, Elizabeth Taylor was at first rejected for the part for being too short. Lore has it, she literally stretched herself in order to fit the physical requirements of the role.
“I knew if it were right for me to be Velvet,” she said, “God would make me grow.”
During filming, Elizabeth Taylor was thrown from a horse and sustained the back injury that precipitated her eventual addiction to prescription painkillers.
Elizabeth Taylor proved her acting chops in the film — in one scene in which her horse Pie seems to be dying, the actress was called on to cry onscreen — as the first time ever for her showing such emotion. Co-star Mickey Rooney guided the fledgling actress, giving her advice on how to cry real tears — namely, he told her to pretend her dad died, dog got run over, and mom was left in ruins.
Allegedly, Taylor laughed out loud of the absurdity, instead using her own emotional compass to draw from — when it came time to shoot the scene, she later said: “All I thought about was the horse being very sick and that I was the little girl who owned him. And the tears came.”
National Velvet grossed over US$4 million and MGM signed Taylor to a new long-term contract — which she later bemoaned for its rigidity in terms of mobility in taking on new roles.
Check out the photos below where you can see Taylor in the iconic movie memorabilia: