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The Denver Art Museum is having an exposition on Christian Dior that runs until March 3, 2019. The main reason to go is to see the dress that Elizabeth Taylor wore to the 1961 Academy Awards where she received her first Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Butterfield 8, the dress was designed by Marc Bohan.
Dior: From Paris to the World will profile its founder, Christian Dior, and subsequent artistic directors, including Yves-Saint Laurent (1958–1960), Marc Bohan (1961–1989), Gianfranco Ferré (1989–1996), John Galliano (1997–2011), Raf Simons (2012–2015) and Maria Grazia Chiuri (2016–present), who have carried Dior’s vision into the 21st century.
Marc Bohan described Elizabeth Taylor as, "animated, attractive, seductive, cordial, polite, and easy to please." He said that Elizabeth, "favored decollete dresses, with tightly cinched belts around the waist as well as short dresses. Taylor's new image seemed apt of Oscar night, given that she, as Hollywood's sovereign, was set to compete for the Academy's crown with a confident performance as Gloria Wandrous, the lady-of-the-evening lead character of Butterfield 8. Director Daniel Mann's adaptation of John O'Hara's novel recounted the escapades of Starr Faithful, an infamous jazz-age New York, call-girl upon whom Wandrous was based. Elizabeth Taylor's Oscar dress was designed to epitomized feminine refinement. With a high neckline and a long, bell-shaped skirt, the dress proved functional, disguising her bandaged left leg, which had become inflamed from a blood clot a few weeks before the Academy Awards.
About six weeks before the Academy Awards Taylor was stricken by a bout of pneumonia she was then rushed from the Dorchester Hotel to the London Clinic, where she was treated for severe breathing complications. Headlines around the world reported " a life-and-death experience and a tracheotomy was performed that saved her life." After recovering she received news that she had been nominated for Academy award for Best Actress for Butterfield 8. When reached by telephone to comment on her fourth nomination for an Academy Award, she told the reporters that Butterfield 8's script was 'Pornographic - the worst written" and referred to Gloria as a "sick nymphomaniac." Taylor told the reporters that she had been ordered to do the role and if not, MGM threaten to sue and delay her from starting Cleopatra with its million-dollar salary. She accepted a comparatively modest salary of $375,000 to make Butterfield 8, which her last project at the studio that would amicably terminate her contract. She loathed every aspect of the film but liked the wardrobe that was designed by Helen Rose. Taylor always considered Helen Rose to be a "super lady," a super designer" and her "super friend." She wore Oscar dresses designed by Rose at two Academy Award ceremonies she attended following her defeat for Raintree County (1957), but she was consistently defeated competing for the Academy Award, although her successive nominated performances are still recognized as her finest: Cat On A Hot tin Roof (1958, MGM) as Maggie Pollitt and Catherine Holly, a sensitive young woman unjustly institutionalized after witnessing a gruesome murder in Suddenly, Last Summer (1959, Columbia Pictures) a masterpiece Gore Vidal adapted from Tennessee William's domestic drama. sexy wedding dresses 2019
Neither ill will toward MGM nor Taylor's delicate condition in any way changed her plan to attend the thirty-third Academy Awards. Elizabeth was determined to go -- even though she was certain that she would lose again.
Due to a massive Oscar campaign launched by MGM, Taylor was the strongest contender in the actress Oscar race - the "odds-on favorite" to win. Then Elizabeth Taylor had her near death experience at the London Clinic, so the Academy members delivered Taylor their sympathy vote, her public forgave her for breaking up Fisher's marriage to lovely MGM Debbie Reynolds. A few years later Reynolds admitted, "Hell, I even voted for her." Just before the Oscar ceremony Elizabeth Taylor and husband Eddie Fisher left the Beverly Hills Hotel in a new gleaming chariot - a brand new 1961 Cadillac stretch limousine that Twentieth Century-Fox bestowed upon their new Cleopatra star as an Oscar-night gift.
The Thirty-Third Academy Awards were held on April 17, 1961 at the Santa Monica Civic Forum and overlooking the ceremony was a towering 25-foot shiny Oscar statue. As the stars entered they crossed a three-hundred-foot plush red carpet, but crossing it kicked up minimal fuss for Best Supporting actress nominee Shirley Jones, swathed in a sweeping gold-sequined Don Loder, or Edith Head-clad presenter Janet Leigh. Nominee Greer Garson made a regal entrance with her ginger-hued bouffant topping a flattering Edith Head draped eggshell chiffon gown.
Then all twenty-five hundred spectators fell silent as a deep suntanned Elizabeth Taylor made her appearance. Her suntan offset Taylor's Dior couture gown while her accessories were: a mink capelet and diamond chandelier earrings were her signature dazzlers. Taylor's walk was a little unsteady. Close by were Eddie Fisher and Dr. Rex Kennamer. "We all love you." yelled a fan from the bleachers. "Thanks" whispered Taylor.
As emcee Bob Hope said, "Now, to a more pleasant aspect of the show - the nominees for outstanding actress of the year. Presenting the Oscar will be the distinguished dramatic actor Mr. Yul Brynner." As he jumped up onstage he began, "Now, this year there were many magnificent performances by actresses," he began in his low baritone, he then began the list of nominated actresses: Greer Garson for Sunrise At Campobello, Deborah Kerr for The Sundowners, Shirley MacLaine for The Apartment, Melina Mercouri for Never On A Sunday and Elizabeth Taylor for Butterfield 8. As Brynner retrieved the envelope from the Price Waterhouse's man, a camera focused on Elizabeth Taylor. Aware of the camera's gaze, her charcoal-lined, sexy violet eyes, rendered onyx by the black-and-white film footage, conveyed nothing. Bravely she stared down the camera, but as Brynner fiddled with the envelope, Elizabeth turned to Fisher and said, "I know I'm not going to get it," she signed. Glancing at the ballot, Brynner smirked, working the tension that was in the air, he then purred, "Eeee-liz-a-beth Tay-lorrr."
With her white-gloved hands Taylor smacked her rose-red lips, remaining speechless amidst what was later calculated as the longest standing ovation in Academy Award night history. "I don't believe it! Take me down the aisle!" she begged Fisher. And so together, Hollywood's queen and her trusty footman made the ascent. "Both of us holding on to each other every step of the way," recalled Fisher. Arriving at the staircase that led up to the stage, she stopped. "Walk me to the podium," she instructed Fisher. "This is your moment - you take it from here, kid." he said, exiting stage right. "Oh," signed Taylor into the microphone as she clutched her Oscar, gazing at it appreciatively. "I don't really know how to express my gratitude for this. And for everything - I guess all I can do is say thank you. Thank you with all my heart."
Backstage Taylor basked in her victory moment. She refused Fisher's offer to carry her Oscar on to the Beverly Hill's Governor's Ball, where she regaled friends recounting her walk to the podium. "That's the most walking I've done since I left the London Clinic."

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