Elizabeth Taylor spends 79th birthday in hospital

Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:01pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two-time Oscar winner Elizabeth Taylor is cheering for "The King's Speech" to win the Academy Award for best film on Sunday, her 79th birthday, from a hospital where she remains in treatment for heart problems.

A representative for Taylor said the actress continues resting at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles where she was taken over two weeks ago suffering symptoms of congestive heart failure -- an ongoing problem for the Hollywood legend.

"Elizabeth Taylor will spend a quiet birthday this year as she continues to rest and recover at Cedars-Sinai," her spokeswoman said in a statement on Sunday. "She plans to watch the Academy Awards with family and close friends and will be rooting for 'The King's Speech.' A proper birthday celebration will be planned for when she returns home."

Taylor, an Oscar winner for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" in 1966 and "Butterfield 8" in 1960, achieved stardom at the tender age of 12 in "National Velvet."

As an adult, she became famous for her acting and her beauty as well as her eight marriages -- twice to actor Richard Burton.

But in recent years, she has struggled with health issues. In 2004, it was announced that she suffered congestive heart failure in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to organs. She underwent heart surgery in 2009 to replace a leaky valve.

Taylor has been using a wheelchair for more than five years to cope with chronic pain after breaking her back four times, and she has had three hip-replacement operations, a benign brain tumor, skin cancer and pneumonia.

She has not appeared on screen since the 2001 TV movie "Old Broads," and her last Hollywood movie role was in the 1994 live action comedy "The Flintstones."

(Editing by Eric Beech)

<p>Elizabeth Taylor arrives for a play in Los Angeles in this December 1, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files</p>