Elizabeth Taylor Almost Passed On ‘Cleopatra,’ But Burt Reynolds’s Advice Made It Worth A Million Bucks

Elizabeth Taylor is one of the most famous actresses of all time. She booked her first gig at just 10 years old, a small role in There’s One Born Every Minute in 1942. Taylor went on to star in countless films like A Place in the Sun, Giant, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but one of her most well-known roles was Cleopatra in 1963. The complicated love story of the beautiful pharaoh soon became synonymous with Taylor.

And if it hadn’t been for Burt Reynolds, that perfect pairing might not have happened.

But she didn’t want the role ans she complained to fellow actor and good friend, Burt Reynolds: 

She said, ‘What am I going to do? Those bastards want me to make this movie and I don’t want to make it’

So, what did he offer as advice?

I said, ‘Well, then, ask for a million dollars.’ Now, nobody, nobody had asked for a million dollars and she did.

And, as no surprise to us or Reynolds, she got it:

I went in the other room and I heard this scream and I came back and I said, ‘Are you all right?’ She said, ‘I got it. They’re going to give it to me.”

This wasn’t simply a fat paycheck. It was a significant moment in history, as she became the first actress to earn $1 million for a movie role. And to think, it almost didn’t happen!

Reynolds credits Taylor and her confident, unfiltered attitude for aiding his own acting career:

She was enormously helpful to me in my career because I was having trouble with certain people, some of them in the press and some actors and she’s got a mouth like a sailor. She said, ‘Don’t let those blankity-blank bastards get you down. You’ll be around long after they’re dead, just don’t you kill them.’

The Deliverance and Boogie Nights actor passed away on Thursday, September 6, in Jupiter, Florida. He had been dealing with health issues for several years.

But his niece, Nancy Lee Hess, said death was unexpected:

He has had health issues, however, this was totally unexpected. He was tough. Anyone who breaks their tailbone on a river and finishes the movie is tough. And that’s who he was.

In fact, Reynolds was in the process of creating another movie with Quentin Tarantino:

My uncle was looking forward to working with Quentin Tarantino [In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood] and the amazing cast that was assembled.

As many people were, Reynolds was fond of Elizabeth Taylor, saying “I was very crazy about her.”

H / T – People, Hollywood Reporter