Oscar: Size Matters–Gain and Loss of Weight, Elizabeth Taylor, Lynn Redgrave,

Weight–Gain and Loss

At the young age of 33, Elizabeth Taylor portrayed the older, fatter, gray-haired, and foul-mouthed wife of a college professor (Richard Burton) in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Playwright Edward Albee had originally wanted Bette Davis and James Mason for the lead roles. In what was perceived as an act of “courage,” Taylor aged herself to a frumpy fiftysomething woman by means of heavy makeup, weighing in at a hefty 155 pounds.

The Academy voters were impressed with Taylor not only downplaying but also subverting her glamorous persona on and off screen.

Elizabeth Taylor’s main competitor that year was Lynne Redgrave, in Georgy Girl, the British comedy that put her on the map. For a decade, Lynn couldn’t shake her screen image as a pathetic ugly duckling, weighing 180 pounds! In 1998, Redgrave received a second (supporting) nomination for “Gods and Monsters,” as director James Whale’s Hungarian housekeeper, for which she affected a thick accent.