‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ Premiered in Theaters This Week in 1966

by Madison Miller
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“I’m loud and I’m vulgar, and I wear the pants in the house because somebody’s got to, but I am not a monster. I’m not.”

Sitting in old-fashioned theaters, audiences heard Elizabeth Taylor mutter out some of the most iconic and famous lines of her entire career. Here she appeared as one-half of perhaps one of the unhappiest and contentious relationships on the screen ever.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” premiered on June 21, 1966. Mike Nichols was the director. It is an adaptation of Edward Albee’s 1962 play with the same name. The stars of the iconic movie are Elizabeth Taylor as Martha, Richard Burton as George, George Segal as Nick, and Sandy Dennis as Honey.

‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ Groundbreaking

In many ways, the film was monumental and record-breaking.

It was nominated for a whopping 13 Academy Awards. This makes it one of two films ever to be nominated in every single eligible category. The other film is “Cimarron.” Best Picture and Best Director are two major awards. Each actor in the film was also up for their own respective award. This means it’s the first time a film’s entire cast was up for nominations as well.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” ended up with an astounding five Oscars, including Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. It is Elizabeth Taylor’s second Oscar of her career. The movie tells the haunting tale of a couple that goes to extreme lengths to be a happy and growing family.

The two were never able to have children so they filled that void with a fake son, which is what audiences learned in theaters this week in 1966. The movie ends with the two of them sitting hand-in-hand as George sings the song “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and Martha responds, “I am, George, I am.”

Elizabeth Taylor Most Prominent Movie

The film also made the artistic choice to stay in black-and-white, despite most films moving on to color at this point in time. The makeup on Burton and Taylor looked better in black-and-white and produced a more dream-like reality for the film.

Elizabeth Taylor is often referred to as one of the most popular and iconic actors to ever appear on the screen. For her role, she gained 30 pounds to play the 50-ish-year-old Martha. According to Mental Floss, it took some convincing to get her on board the project. Her husband at the time, Richard Burton, helped with convincing her. They would then star in the film together.

He told her to think of it as a challenge. She also got a pretty lucrative $500,000 salary as well as 10% of the gross income from the movie. As it turns out, Taylor would always be appreciative of this iconic role.

“I think that was my favorite role because I really had to get my finger out and act,” Elizabeth Taylor once revealed in an earlier interview.

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