Elizabeth Taylor’s Near-Death Experience in the 1960s

Elizabeth Taylor’s Near-Death Experience in the 1960s
Actress Elizabeth Taylor poses in an old film still. (Getty Images)
Maria Han

Elizabeth Taylor was an icon—two time Oscar winner for best actress and activist, she was a trailblazing woman of the 1900s.

In 1992, Taylor appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and shared a near death experience that she had in the 1960s while she was in London and was pronounced dead from pneumonia.

“I was pronounced dead four times. Once I didn’t breathe, and I had no vitals for five minutes. And that was the time that I had the near death experience,” shared Taylor.

Oprah then asked her if the experience made her unafraid of death.

“Oh, absolutely,” she answered.

“When I had the out of body experience and could see the people working around me, I tried desperately to move an eye lid, a finger, something to let them know that I could hear them,” Taylor described.

But instead of an answer to her thoughts, she heard a doctor say, “Well, I think we’ve lost her.”

Her next feelings could almost be described as heavenly.

“I was out. I sort of floated into this tunnel and there were other figures that I recognized. And this welcoming white sun, and warmth. Like being in liquid mercury—being weightless. ”

Mike Todd was an American filmmaker. He was Elizabeth Taylor’s third marriage. Unfortunately, he died only a year later.

While in her state of weightlessness, Taylor saw her late husband.

“Mike Todd was there. And I wanted to be with him more than anything in the world. He'd been dead about three years. And I was still mourning him.”

“He said, ‘No, baby, you can’t. It’s not your time. You can’t come over. You have to fight to go back.’”

Taylor replied that she only wanted to be with him. But he repeatedly told her that she had to go back. He said he’d be there waiting.

When Taylor woke up, she saw her death report on the bulletin board. She even read her obituary in the papers.

“I’ve never had such good reviews,” she said.

As with many who have these experiences, there is the question of: Was it real?

Elizabeth Taylor told her doctors when she woke up because she needed to tell someone so that she wouldn’t feel like she was crazy.

“There were about 11 doctors in the room and I told them all what I'd experienced. Because I felt like I had to tell somebody so I wouldn’t later on think I was crazy. And then I thought that does sound so crazy. I don’t think I’m going to tell anybody else.”

For years she didn’t share her near death experience with anyone else, until she encountered records of other people with similar experiences.

“I started reading about other people having the same kind of experience. They all vary slightly. Then I thought there’s got to be something to it. There’s just too many people who’ve gone through it. I know I did. Just because I haven’t talked about it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t as real as the day it happened.”

Elizabeth Taylor lived to see a new millennium and she passed away in the early 2000s.

Maria Han is an arts and beyond science writer.
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