Elizabeth taylor eyes
Classic Hollywood Myths

Myth: Elizabeth Taylor’s eye color was violet

In Classic Hollywood Myths we take a look at all the myths about the Golden Age of Hollywood. What really happened? Are these ‘urban legends’ true or false? Classic Hollywood Central looks into it!

Myth: Elizabeth Taylor’s eye color was violet

Elizabeth Taylor was known for her beauty. But this stunning brunette’s most ‘eye catching’ feature were her gorgeous eyes. Her eyes were distinct for two reasons: she was born with distichiasis, a genetic ‘disorder’ that produces an extra row of eyelashes, and her eye color was reportedly violet. There has never been a celebrity prior or since with that unique eye color and it quickly became her trademark. So enamored was Hollywood with her eye color that Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was shot in color solely to show off Elizabeth’s eye color, along with her co-star Paul Newman’s blue sparklers. The Australian film critic David Stratton recalls being taken aback by the color of Elizabeth’s eyes during a film premiere in 1973: ‘I was ushered into her presence at the official reception and found myself transfixed by her famous violet eyes. I have never seen eyes of that color before or since and I don’t believe cinema goers were able to appreciate how remarkable they were.’
In 2010 the very modern Elizabeth asked her followers on Twitter to name her new perfume. They chose ‘Violet Eyes’. So it is safe to say that her violet eye color was a part of her iconic beauty status. But have you ever seen anybody with violet colored eyes? Most likely the answer is: no. So were Elizabeth Taylor’s eyes truly violet?

Elizabeth Taylor eyes

True or False?

Probably false

A violet eye color does not occur naturally in human beings. The only exception being people with albinism whose eyes appear to be violet due to a lack of melanin. Elizabeth’s eye’s were probably a very deep blue that could look like violet in the right light. She also accentuated this effect by using a lot of blue and violet eye shadow shades throughout her career. This day and age, there are also people actively photoshopping her eyes in pictures to make them appear more violet, which makes it hard to determine which photos show her natural eye color. Though there are those that believe violet colored eyes might be possible due to a genetic mutation, most experts say otherwise. But Elizabeth did truly have distichiasis, the disorder that gave her a double line of eyelashes.
Really, it doesn’t matter if her eye color was truly violet or a deep blue. Everyone can agree, they were beautiful just the way they were.

Read more about Elizabeth Taylor in her profile or on her facts page.

You may also like...


  1. Fabio Marinangeli says:

    No. I have spoken with people that met her and i bought photos and chatted with photographers like Joseph Marzullo and her costars like Elizabeth Perkins… Purple is exageration but they looked indeed indigo or dark lilac according some of them! The reason: her navy blue had reddish fleacks cause her retina was partly visible.

  2. Violet is in fact a human eye color that exists, although every single (non-B&W) picture of Elizabeth Taylor specifically very obviously shows BLUE eyes, except for that one in which they appear black.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    According to Live Science, they were violet due to the fact that she had more melanin in her eyes.
    “These days, thanks to colored contact lenses, anyone can have violet-colored eyes . Taylor didn’t come by her purple peepers that way; the first tinted contact lenses weren’t commercially available until 1983. Taylor’s eye color was the real deal.

    The appearance of the iris, the colored ring that’s around the eye’s black pupil depends on how much of the natural pigment melanin it contains. The more melanin in your iris, the darker your eyes will look (melanin levels are determined by your genes ). For example, the irises of a person with dark brown eyes have more melanin than the eyes of a green-eyed person. Taylor’s eyes had a very specific, and rare, amount of melanin, according to The List(opens in new tab).

    “There are various shades of blues and grays, with many in-between. Violet may have been her typical pigmentation,” Norman Saffra, chairman of the ophthalmology department at the Maimonides Medical Center(opens in new tab) in Brooklyn, N.Y., told Live Science . “It’s possible to have that eye color; it all depends on the amount of melanin.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *