British stars hail Hollywood great Taylor

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British stars remembered Elizabeth Taylor, whose Oscar-winning film career spanned five decades, as "the last of the great glamour stars" after her death on Wednesday at the age of 79.

Celebrities from the worlds of film and music paid tribute to British-born Taylor, who died six weeks after being admitted to Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai hospital with congestive heart failure.

"So sad to hear about my beautiful friend Elizabeth Taylor. She was a great human being," said veteran actor Michael Caine, star of films including "The Italian Job" and "Get Carter".

Elton John said the actress had been one of the towering figures of Hollywood.

"We have just lost a Hollywood giant. More importantly, we have lost an incredible human being," said the singer.

"Death Wish" director Michael Winner said: "Elizabeth Taylor was the last of the great glamour stars.

"She was the longest-running soap opera in history, and represented all the allure and tragedy that attracts people to Hollywood."

Pop star George Michael had particular praise for Taylor's support for AIDS research.

"Such a sad day, Elizabeth Taylor was the last of the Hollywood greats, and a fantastically charming woman," wrote the singer on micro-blogging site Twitter.

"She was also the only person I've ever met that had violet eyes. They were genuinely violet. So beautiful.

"She also did a great deal in the last 25 years to help the world deal with the HIV epidemic. I am proud to have known her if only a little."

Taylor retreated from the public gaze as her health failed in later years but remained active in raising funds in the battle against the AIDS epidemic.

She won two Academy Awards for best actress, including in the 1966 classic "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" one of many films she played opposite Richard Burton.

The Welsh-born actor was one of the great loves of Taylor's life -- she married and divorced him twice -- but her stormy relationships off-screen and eight marriages often overshadowed her glittering film career.

© 2011 AFP

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