Elizabeth Taylor's Tracheostomy

Taylor went to Europe, awaiting production of Cleopatra. In spring of 1961, she developed a case of pneumonia, which led to an emergency tracheotomy and worldwide talk of her impending death. The swelling of sympathy was widely thought to have influenced Academy voters, who awarded Taylor her first Best Actress Oscar — for her performance in a film she loathed. Elizabeth later commented, "Any of my three previous nominations were more deserving. I knew it was a sympathy award, but I was still proud to get it." Meanwhile, Taylor's competitor Shirley MacLaine memorably quipped, "I lost to a tracheotomy!"