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Book Revelations: Elizabeth Taylor Was Living in Filth Before Catching Malta Fever During 'Cleopatra' Filming

elizaveth taylor cleopatrca
Source: 20th century fox

A new book reveals Elizabeth Taylor's behind-the-scenes lifestyle was far less glamorous than her glittering movie star persona.

Feb. 2 2024, Published 1:00 p.m. ET

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Elizabeth Taylor's life may have looked ultra glamorous from afar, but those close to her said she was living in filth and dealing with numerous health issues after landing the $1 million role of Cleopatra in 1958.

According to a new book, production on the $7 million film worked with her then-husband Eddie Fisher to ensure that she got to the set on time, RadarOnline.com has learned.

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elizabeth taylor cleopatraca
Source: mega

Those close to her said she was living in filth and dealing with numerous health issues after landing the $1 million role of Cleopatra in 1958.

20th Century Fox is claimed to have paid him six figures to keep Taylor on task, watch her diet, and care for her many dogs.

Fisher said Taylor had a penchant for "popping pills and drinking most of the day," author Roger Lewis wrote in an excerpt from his upcoming novel, Erotic Vagrancy, obtained by Page Six. Fisher, for his part, was reportedly hooked on methamphetamine at the time.

Anticipating a tidy home for one of the biggest Hollywood stars, writer Truman Capote said that he had noticed during a visit that her rooms were "crowded with shedding cats and unhousebroken dogs and a general atmosphere of disorderly paraphernalia."

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elizabethtaylor cleopatrca
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According to a new book, production on the $7 million film worked with her then-husband Eddie Fisher to ensure that she got to the set on time.

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It is believed the urine smell and other bacteria found at her unkempt abode contributed to Taylor facing health struggles as Lewis detailed a time she was taken to the London Clinic, where she was diagnosed with Malta fever, often "caused by the ingestion of animal secretions — unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat."

Lewis pondered if Taylor's "slobbering" over her "innumerable and terrible pets, which shared her bed" caused the ailment.

After being released from the clinic, she dealt with severe migraines, forcing filming on the big-budget movie came to a screeching halt.

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Elizabeth Taylor & Eddie Fisher

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Things took yet another drastic turn when she had pneumonia in March 1961. The movie footage was soon tossed and the studio began demolishing the sets.

Production transitioned to Rome, and a new director, Joseph Mankiewicz, took over. Welsh actor Richard Burton came on board and swept her off her feet.

Both were married at the time but began a secret affair behind their partners' backs that quickly raised eyebrows. According to Lewis, when their romance fizzled out, Taylor feared a breakup and once attempted suicide.

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Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton

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Burton was ready to part ways at a point and claimed to have felt "it was fun, while it lasted," leading Taylor to overdose on Seconal and have her stomach pumped.

After ending their respective marriages, they tied the knot in 1964 but were known to have an explosive marriage.

They divorced in 1974, before reconciling and calling it quits again in 1976.

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elizabeth taylor cleopatrca opening
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Elizabeth Taylor at the 'Cleopatra' premiere in 1963.

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Taylor had been married eight times, twice to Burton before her death in March 2011 at 79.

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"I've been lucky all my life. Everything was handed to me: looks, fame, wealth, honors, love," she shared during a 1992 interview with Life magazine. "But I've paid for that luck with disasters. Terrible illnesses, destructive addictions, broken marriages."

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