Many of us awoke this morning to the sad news that legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor died today in Los Angeles. She was best known for her amazing film work (we particularly like her in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and her colorful personal life, but like many other Hollywood stars of the era, she also appeared in a number of advertisements during her early career. We have a couple of her print ads in our Ad*Access digital collection, and are highlighting them here. You can click on the images to see larger versions and learn more about them.
This 1952 magazine ad for Lustre-Creme shampoo showcases Ms. Taylor’s famous beauty. In addition to her two Oscars, we learn here that she was also voted by “Modern Screen” and “a jury of famed hair stylists” as one of the world’s 12 loveliest-haired women. The film that’s also being promoted here, Ivanhoe, was released in 1952 and also starred Robert Taylor (no relation) and Joan Fontaine. It was one of the four top money-making films of the year and was nominated for three Academy Awards.
In this comic strip-style ad, Elizabeth Taylor says “Like satin … that’s my skin with new Woodbury Powder!” and also, apparently, “I love the super-smooth finish Woodbury gives my skin.” Here she’s identified as one of the stars of the 1949 film version of Little Women, in which she played Amy, starring alongside June Allyson as Jo, Peter Lawford as Laurie, Margaret O’Brien as Beth, and Janet Leigh as Meg.
It’s no wonder that an actress with Elizabeth Taylor’s legendary beauty was in demand by companies marketing their beauty products. Many other stars of the day appeared in similar print ads; for example, June Allyson, Rita Hayworth, and Bette Davis all did work for Lustre-Creme. The men of Hollywood did their fair share of advertising, too: here you can see Humphrey Bogart for National Airlines and Bob Hope for Pepsodent. You can find many advertisements featuring celebrities in Ad*Access here.
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