Among many other things, Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor is remembered for having strikingly violet-colored eyes. Was that her natural eye color?
Elizabeth Taylor’s eye color was not altered on film or with colored lenses. In fact, colored lenses only became available in the year 1983, long after Taylor had begun her acting career. It is debated if the actress’s eyes were “truly” violet or instead were a rare shade of very deep blue that sometimes appeared to be violet.
Stick around to learn more about the eyes of the classical Hollywood actress.
Why did her eyes appear violet?
Film critic, David Stratton, recalled meeting Elizabeth Taylor in 1973, writing, “I was ushered into her presence at the official reception and found myself transfixed by her famous violet eyes.”
He continued, “I have never seen eyes of that color before or since and I don’t believe cinema-goers were able to appreciate how remarkable they were.”
It is generally agreed that truly violet eyes can only occur in a person who has the condition of albinism.
Elizabeth Taylor did not have this condition, and so many claim that she did not have “true” violet-colored eyes. Instead, it’s argued that the actress’s eyes were a shade of very deep blue that could sometimes appear violet.
It is known that Taylor would often wear purple or blue clothing, accessories, and makeup since the light reflection from these colors would have enhanced the shade of her eyes.
However, Norman Saffra, who is the chairman of the ophthalmology department at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, has theorized that Taylor’s eyes may well have been genuinely violet.
In an interview on the topic, he stated, “There are various shades of blues and grays, with many in-between. Violet may have been her typical pigmentation.”
He continued, “It’s possible to have that eye color. It all depends on the amount of melanin.”
It remains feasible, then, that the actress truly did have violet eyes.
Unique Eyes in More Ways than One
Although it may be forever debated as to whether Elizabeth Taylor had “truly” violet eyes, it is well-known that the star’s eyes had something else remarkable about them—the actress had double sets of eyelashes.
This rare condition is called distichiasis and is congenital, meaning it’s present at birth. The condition is caused by a genetic mutation. For some, the condition can be bothersome and even painful as the extra lashes can irritate the eyes.
It’s not known if the condition caused Elizabeth Taylor any problems, but her copious lashes were said to have brought out her striking eye-color even more so.
Take a look at some of Elizabeth Taylor’s work from across the decades of her life below.