A new photo retrospective offers rare images of the glamorous actress in recognition of her activism

By Jessica Fecteau
Updated October 08, 2015 06:10 PM
Credit: Archive Photos/Getty

Elizabeth Taylor made headlines with her treasure chest of jewels and her eight marriages, but three years after her death, it’s her fight to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS that has made a lasting impression.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the star’s activism, a new photo retrospective, opening at the Getty Images Gallery in London on Oct. 9, reveals rare, behind-the-scenes images (some never before seen) of the glamorous star. In the three exclusive pictures seen here, Taylor is pictured with some of the men she treasured most.

In the image above, Richard Burton – the actor she married twice – enjoys dinner with Taylor in Mexico in 1964 while filming The Night of the Iguana.

“They were nuts about each other – that was clear,” Ward Landrigan, the former head of Sotheby’s jewelry department when she and Burton acquired the Krupp diamond, told PEOPLE in 2012.

Taylor, in the images seen here, arrives at Jersey Airport in April 1957 with her third husband, Mike Todd, and her sons Michael and Christopher Wilding (from her second marriage to Michael Wilding) while en route to Nice.

“I admire her ability to maintain the perspective about herself and a sense of humor about herself,” Christopher Wilding told PEOPLE in 2013. “She knew that she came into this world with special blessings and she just happened to be in this confluence of time and opportunity and so she was going to enjoy it to the fullest.”

In this image, Rock Hudson, who became a close friend of Taylor’s after they filmed Giant together, wipes off her hands after she imprinted them on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1956.

Even before Hudson’s death from AIDS in 1985, Taylor was one of the first celebrities to spread awareness about the disease. His death further galvanized her efforts, and she went on to launch The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991.

After London, the photos – produced by Getty Images Gallery in collaboration with The Elizabeth Taylor Trust and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation – will be shown in New York, Los Angeles, South Africa and France.

A percentage of the proceeds from photos sold will benefit The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

“It has been very special for me to look through these photographs spanning decades of my mother’s life,” says Christopher Wilding. “They remind me of how special and unique it was growing up around her; life took on the magical atmosphere of the traveling circus. But mom never ‘played’ the celebrity; she lived life on her own terms and was always true to herself.”