The 110th anniversary celebrations continue at The Beverly Hills Hotel with a special photo exhibit of rare and intimate Elizabeth Taylor photos taken by Bert Stern, opening on August 1st. This rare collection honors the legacy of one of the hotel’s most legendary guests, Elizabeth Taylor, who famously honeymooned at the hotel multiple times, and for whom Bungalow 5 is named after.
Bert Stern was born in Brooklyn on October 3, 1929. His relationship with photography began early, in a 1968 interview with Newsday, he said his father was a children’s portrait photographer. After dropping out of high school in his senior year, he served in the Army, while working as a photographer on a base in Japan. That experience helped him land a job in the mailroom at Look magazine, where he became a protégé of Hershel Bramson, the art director, who would later give him his first job as a commercial photographer. Soon he was sought after by magazines, advertisers, Hollywood studios and fashion designers, and his range of subjects grew to include celebrities, movie stars and commercial products — Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper, Truman Capote, Twiggy, Elizabeth Taylor and, of course, Marilyn Monroe.
The photography exhibition was curated by Shannah Laumeister Stern, widow of the late Bert Stern and Trustee of the Bert Stern Trust, and will feature twelve large images including several never-been- seen photos that tell the story of Elizabeth Taylor during the years of filming Cleopatra including her passionate love affair with Richard Burton. Bert Stern was the only photographer that Taylor and Burton allowed to photograph them intimately. After the shoot Stern added “What makes a great model is her need, her desire; and it’s exciting to photograph desire.”
The Beverly Hills Hotel served as a backdrop to Elizabeth Taylor’s life in California dating back to her childhood. Her father Francis, who inspired her love of art, had a gallery in the hotel’s promenade and she went on to be a frequent guest of the hotel throughout her life. Affectionately known as “the Pink Palace,” The Beverly Hills Hotel’s famed bungalows are where Elizabeth Taylor spent several of her honeymoons. She dined regularly at the hotel’s iconic Polo Lounge where her “splurge” day favorite of “fried chicken with mashed potato and lots of gravy” is still served, and celebrated iconic moments of her life, such as her Oscar win for BUtterfield 8 at the hotel. After her passing in 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s family hosted a private gathering in the star’s favorite Bungalow 5. The hotel recently formed a partnership with House of Taylor in honor of the legendary star and activist and renamed the famed bungalow Elizabeth Taylor Bungalow 5.
The exhibition is complimentary and open to the public August 1 – September 30, 7 days a week. All photos are available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds will benefit House of Taylor.
Image credit: Bert Stern