The third time is a charm. That’s what they say, right? For Elizabeth Taylor, she thought she’d found true love with husband number three, Mike Todd. Fresh from marriage number two, she fell hard for the 47 year old Todd (she was only 24). He was also twice divorced. What drew Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd together? Was is the multiple marriages and an understanding of what happens when a marriage falls apart? Was it her beauty that drew his to her? Maybe it was the engagement ring that won her over (see it below). Maybe it was his larger than life personality. Sadly, we’ll never know.
Born to Polish Jewish immigrants, Mike was not initially named Mike. His given name was Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen, but his father’s death was a turning point for him and he changed his name to Mike Todd, with the Todd moniker already in motion years before. The youngest of nine children, Mike had been picked on a bit by his older siblings and was somehow nicknamed Tod early in life. The day of his father’s death, he changed his name.
Barely divorced from Michael Wilding, her second husband, Elizabeth and Mike Todd married on February 2, 1957 in Acapulco, with the town mayor officiating. Todd had proposed with a 29.4 carat emerald cut diamond ring (wowza!). But then again, he was known to be a bit showy. There’s also the Cartier tiara he bought liz (see below). And a few months after the wedding, he threw a birthday party at Madison Square Garden with 18,000 attendance and it was broadcast on CBS (national TV). One would assume he loved the spotlight.
The couple, while only married for a little over a year, had one daughter together: Elizabeth “Liza” Frances Todd. Liza was born in August of 1957 (I’ll let you do the math) and after a tumultuous childhood (her father died within a few months of her birth and then she had a series of step-fathers and boarding school out of the country), she now lives a very quiet life as a sculptor near Hudson, NY.
The love affair between Liz and Mike, as tempestuous as it was, was short lived (yet again for Liz), as Michael died in a plane crash in March of 1958. The plane, a twin-engine Lockheed Lodestar named The Lucky Liz, suffered engine failure, while being flown overloaded in icy conditions, at an altitude that was too high for having only one working engine under the heavy load. The plane went out of control and crashed, killing all four on board.
Liz was devastated, calling Mike the love of her life, and looked for comfort within their group of friends. But that brings us to husband number four and we’ll have to save that for next week.