Before becoming a bride eight times over, ElizabethTaylor was a 17-year-old starlet scribbling letters to her first fiance,charting on pale pink stationery his progression from her one-and-only to theone who got away.
"I've never known this kind of love before -- it'sso perfect and complete -- and mature," Taylor wrote to William Pawley on May 6,1949. "I've never loved anyone in my life before one third as much as Ilove you — and I never will (well, as far as that goes -- I'll never loveanyone else -- period)."
A 17-year-old Elizabeth Taylor poses with fiance William D. Pawley Jr. in June 1949. - AP Photo
Taylor, who died last week at age 79, was engaged toPawley in 1949, just before her first marriage. More than 60 of the letters shewrote him between March and October of that year will be auctioned in May by RRAuctions of Amherst, New Hampshire. It bought the letters two years ago fromPawley, who lives in Florida.
The unpublished letters -- some written in purplefountain ink on pink paper -- provide a glimpse of a teenager's transition toadult screen star.
She frets about her weight ("As I'm sitting here -- writingto you, I'm just stuffing myself on a box of candy -- honestly I've got to stopeating so much") and passing her high school exams. And she contrasts twomovies she was filming at the time, "A Place in the Sun" and "TheBig Hangover," praising the director of the former and complaining abouther role in the latter.
But mostly, she gushes about Pawley, the 22-year-old sonof a former ambassador to Brazil,reassuring him over and over that her love is true.
"My heart aches & makes me want to cry whenI think of you, and how much I want to be with and to look into your beautifulblue eyes, and kiss your sweet lips and have your strong arms hold me, oh sotight, & close to you ... I want us to be 'lovers' always ... evenafter we've been married seventy-five years and have at least a dozengreat-great-grandchildren," she wrote on March 28.
At the time, Taylorwas publicly dating football player Glenn Davis, but in several of the letters,she complains about the ruse promoted by her mother and the studio to maintainher girl-next-door image. In a 10-page letter dated April 1, she describes herreaction to Davisaccidentally breaking a pair of earrings Pawley had given her.
"I have never had such a strong desire to hit anyonewith all my might in all my life," she wrote. "I gave him back his'A' pin, the football and his All-American sweater ... I don't care what theysay anymore ... from now on I'm going to live my life the way I want to."
In May, she told Pawley she was ready to say goodbye toher career and everything connected with it, "For I won't be givinganything up -- but I will be gaining the greatest gift that God bestows on man --love, marriage, a family -- and you my Darling."
By September, however, Taylor was writing about returning herengagement ring at Pawley's request.
"I know with all my heart and soul that this is notthe end for us -- it couldn't be -- we love each other too much," shewrote.
Less than eight months later, she married hotel heirConrad Nicholson "Nicky" Hilton.
The online auction, set for May 19-26, will also featureletters Taylor's mother wrote to Pawley afterthe engagement ended, including one in which she wrote, "You have anervous condition and a problem with jealousy, as such you and Elizabeth can never betogether."
Bobby Livingston, spokesman for the auction house, saidthe letters were estimated to be worth $25,000 to $35,000 before Taylor's death, and heexpects they could fetch two or three times that amount now.
- William Pawley