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Elizabeth Taylor’s Love Story

At five o’clock on Saturday, the sixth of May, just before the spring day slipped quietly into dusk, Elizabeth Taylor walked down the aisle of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills on the arm of her father, Francis Taylor, to marry Conrad Nicholson Hilton Jr. in a beautiful and solemn Catholic ceremony!

Liz wore a white satin gown trimmed with white seed pearls. And a long tulle veil hung over her blue-black hair. Her studio, M-G-M, gave her the wedding gown, a creation of Helen Rose, head studio designer.

Her maid of honor was Ann Westmore, daughter of Wally of the famed House of Westmore, with whom Elizabeth grew up. Ann wore pale green taffeta and carried lilies and daffodils. The bridesmaids, Jane Powell, Marjorie Dillon, Barbara Thompson, and Mrs. Baron Hilton (wife of Nicky’s brother), wore yellow taffeta, thus carrying out the young spring motif.

“I want my wedding to be gay,” Elizabeth told me.

Nicky’s brother Baron was the best man and the ushers were Bentley Ryan, Joe Drown, Y. Frank Freeman Jr., Jack Young, Howard Taylor (Elizabeth’s brother), Edward Crowley and Ted Harvard.

It was as the soft rays of the setting sun streamed through the stained glass windows that Monsiegneur Concannon, beloved pastor of many screen stars, pronounced the words that made Elizabeth and Nicky man and wife!

She is so radiantly happy these days. I really believe she has found the love she has been looking for ever since she blossomed from little girlhood to an eighteen-year-old charmer.

Last summer, when Elizabeth broke her engagement to William Pawley Jr., she told me she never intended to be “engaged” formally again. “The next time I fall in love and think of marriage, I’ll just up and get married,” she announced.

But along came Nicky, dashingly attractive son of the wealthy hotel magnate, Conrad Hilton. Nicky, just under six feet, weighs 170 pounds, has short brown hair and a ruggedly handsome face. With Nicky, came real love. “And like every girl marrying for the first time,” Elizabeth said, retracting her previous statement, “I want all the sweet wonderful things for my wedding, including an engagement period.”

Before, I think, Elizabeth was in love with love. Without stopping to think whether her tastes and moods and career would blend with those of the attractive beaus she met, she recklessly became engaged to them.

“But your heart knows when you meet the right man,” she said, as we sat talking, a few weeks before her wedding. “There is no doubt in my mind that Nick is the one I want to spend my life with. I met him last October and in all that time we have never had one quarrel, one moment of misunderstanding. Every day I love him better. If this were not true, I would not be marrying him in the church of his faith which recognizes one marriage in a lifetime in the eyes of God.”

“Are you joining the Catholic Church?” I asked my starry-eyed visitor.

“Not yet,” she replied. “Nicky, as you know, is a Catholic and we have had our understanding about religion. I am taking instruction and I am deeply interested in his religion.”

She was so sweet and so sincere when she said, “I want this marriage to be forever.”

She had recently finished “Father of the Bride” with Spencer Tracy and Joan Bennett at M-G-M and it tickled her to be going through all those movie angles and problems in real life, only to her, they weren’t angles and problems.

“I just love everything about getting married,” she laughed gleefully, “and every little detail seems terribly important to me. Helen Rose, of M-G-M, is designing my going-away suit, it will be pale blue. And I’ll wear a pale blue hat with it and a corsage of real violets. And I start off each morning talking with Helen about every seam!

“Most of my trousseau was made by Ceil Chapman in New York. Mother and I flew there for special fittings and selections.”

It was Chapman, incidentally, who said that Elizabeth will definitely take her place among our best-dressed women when she acquires “clothes maturity.” Now, of course, as a young matron, she can wear far more sophisticated clothes even though she is still in the teen-age group. 

Nicky was in New York when Elizabeth was there. They went dancing, the five-carat square diamond he gave Elizabeth gleaming on her hand on his shoulder. They went to the theater, saw “Mr. Roberts” (which they both had seen before) because they “wanted to see it together.” It was while they were in New York, too, that they planned their honeymoon—three months in England, France, Scotland and Ireland, touring in Nicky’s Cadillac convertible.

It wasn’t only her own wedding clothes that interested Elizabeth. She was just as excited over the bridesmaids’ dresses and what her pretty mother would wear. “Mother’s dress is copper beige,” she told me, “with a matching hat and veil and bronze accessories. It will be lovely on her.”

“Elizabeth,” I said, “what was it about Nick that first made you realize he was the man for you?”

Without hesitation, she answered, “His sympathy and sweetness. He understands me as a woman (I smiled inwardly at that term), and he also understands my problems as an actress. He is not only willing for me to continue my career, he wants me to. The thing I am proudest of is that Nick is proud of me!

“We can have our home right here in California and I can continue my work and he won’t be annoyed because of the things, as an actress, I have to do. Nick understands that we’ll be photographed most places we go and that there will be pictures made of even our honeymoon house. He understands that these things are a part of my career, and he does not resent them.

“His father, Mr. Conrad Hilton, is the same way. He said something awfully cute the other day. He said, ‘Elizabeth, anybody who doesn’t want to have his picture taken with you, needs to have his head examined.’ ”

“How did you meet Nick?” I asked.

“When I was making ‘A Place in the Sun’ (“An American Tragedy”), at Paramount, Frank Freeman Jr. told me he had a friend who wanted to meet me. I said, ‘Why don’t you bring him over on the set?’ He did, and the boys waited for me to finish work.”

They wanted to take her to the Town House (Nick’s dad’s hotel in Los Angeles) for dinner and dancing. But Liz was a little tired from working, she still had her make-up on, and she was wearing just a tailored dress.

So Liz and Nicky had their first dinner together at a drive-in. They ate hot dogs, chili and beans and French apple pie! What romance! What digestion!

After that first meeting, Liz still had a date now and then with another beau. She attended a couple of premieres with Bob Stack. And she liked to go to Mocambo to listen to Vic Damone sing.

It wasn’t until around Christmas that she and Nick realized how much they missed each other when they weren’t together and how unimportant other “dates” had become in their lives.

“But, oh, I wanted so hard for the news about us, not to get out too soon, before we were sure of what we had and what we planned for the future.

“I just couldn’t stand those, ‘Another engagement for Elizabeth Taylor,’ stories. I didn’t want to hurt Nick. I didn’t want to be hurt by them, myself.

“So, when we went out, we did not go to the conspicuous places. We would take long drives and dine somewhere along the beach or at one of the nearby mountain road cafes.

“And every time we were together, I realized I loved Nick more and more.”

Elizabeth doesn’t want to tell just when or where Nicky asked her to marry him. “There are some things I want to keep just for us,” she said, and looked so dignified when she said it. But, she laughed suddenly, “I said ‘Yes’ right away, I can tell you that much.

“We set the date, it was supposed to be a big secret, but how can you keep a secret when you are just bursting with happiness. I’m not going to pin you down, but wasn’t it Mr. Hilton, Nick’s father, who spilled the beans to you about the date in New York?”

“Oh, Elizabeth,” I laughed, “you can’t be cross with him about that. He really didn’t tell me. When I sort of guessed the right date, he just didn’t deny it because he says he loves you and is so happy you are to be his daughter-in-law.”

“I’m not one bit cross,” she said, gay and laughing again. “But I had wanted to have my announcement party for twenty of my girl friends, a surprise.

“It was sort of an anticlimax to do the traditional thing and put ‘Nick and Elizabeth’ on the traditional announcement ecards in the traditional flower bowl with satin streamers when the whole thing, date and all, had been in the newspapers two days previously.”

I said I could see how it would be disappointing not to be able to break your own “secrets,” but that is just another thing that goes with being a movie star.

“I think Mother was more disappointed than I. She kept calling me ‘Poor little thing,’ but I was too happy to care.”

Later on, I talked with Nick. “Do you realize that you are the object of jealousy to hundreds of young swains who just wanted to meet Elizabeth and tell her how much they admire her? Believe me, she is the Dream Sweetheart of half the young men I know.”

This very good-looking, very sensible-looking young man who has a great deal of his father’s executive ability, just smiled as he answered, “Isn’t she wonderful? I am so proud she chose me. Just think, Miss Parsons, with all the world of eligible bachelors to choose from, I’m the lucky man. I am going to try very hard to make her happy.”

And, now, bless you my children, and my deep wish is that you cling to this happiness you have found even when the pink clouds of excitement and plans have passed along, and you join hands as Mr. and Mrs., the two most sacred and lovely words in the world.





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