The Wedding Day: Elizabeth Taylor & Conrad Hilton

Photo: Frank Worth, Courtesy of Capital Art
WHEN: 6th May, 1950 WHERE: Church of The Good Shepherd, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles WHAT HAPPENED: It seems that film studio MGM decided it was time to turn 18 year old Taylor, their most profitable child star, into one of Hollywood’s biggest romantic leads, and to do so they needed to get her hitched and sprung into adulthood, fast. The groom was Conrad ‘Nicky’ Hilton, hotel heir and all-round Hollywood playboy, whose love of a good party would later live on via his infamous great niece, Paris. Timed ever so conveniently with the release of Taylor’s latest film The Father of The Bride, a lot of money was riding on these nuptials (MGM bankrolled the whole event) and everything had to be perfect. Publicity perfect.

Oh, just your average shell-white satin gown embellished with bugle beads and seed pearls, complete with a fifteen yard train and silk veil. From the look of it, Taylor would have probably had to avoid the wedding cake as the dress had a built-in corset engineered to give the star a teeny 20 inch waist (yep, seriously). Designer Helen Rose (the mastermind behind Princess Grace of Monaco’s wedding gown) was commissioned by MGM to make the dress, and it took fifteen seamstresses to complete it.

3000 fans gathered outside the church to see 600 of Hollywood’s elite arrive, with stars including Spencer Tracy, Greer Garson, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Esther Williams and Van Johnson. HAPPY EVER AFTER? Erm, no. After three months trawling and brawling around Europe on what was supposed to be a honeymoon, Taylor decided the marriage was a mistake and would later accuse Hilton of being a drunken gambler who repeatedly hit her. They separated after nine months and divorced in 1952. The legendary Taylor, forever ruled by her passions and taste for big and sparkly rings, would head down the aisle a further seven times (twice with her most famous love, Richard Burton).
Photo: Frank Worth, Courtesy of Capital Art

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