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    23 May 2009

    Taylor in hospital but is 'fine'


    Dame Elizabeth Taylor

    Dame Elizabeth Taylor passes the time on Twitter

    Dame Elizabeth Taylor has been admitted to hospital in Los Angeles but only as a matter of "routine", a spokesman for the star has said.

    A publicist for the 77-year-old actress said she "entered the hospital for a routine visit and is doing fine".

    Taylor's spokesman Dick Guttman added that she was well enough to be posting messages on Twitter, with which she had "fallen in love".

    He gave no more details about her health or where she is being treated.

    Guttman said Taylor "will be home soon" but he did not specify when she would be released.

    Last year the actress spent several weeks in a Los Angeles hospital but then again Mr Guttman gave little detail about her state of health.

    He would only confirm reports in People magazine that she was "living her life" and "having dinner with friends".

    A month earlier he had dismissed reports the actress was seriously ill.

    He said the stories were "dramatic, overstated and untrue".

    Brittle bones

    Dame Elizabeth, who uses a wheelchair, has suffered from a number of health problems in recent years.

    They include a hip replacement in 1995 and surgery to remove a brain tumour in 1997.

    She has broken her back five times and has the brittle bone disease osteoporosis.

    In an interview with CNN in 2006, she denied speculation that she was gravely ill or being treated for Alzheimer's disease saying: "Oh come on, do I look like I'm dying?"

    London-born Dame Elizabeth first achieved stardom aged 12 in National Velvet.

    She went on to win Oscars for her roles in the 1960 film Butterfield 8 and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    The screen star, who has three children and adopted a fourth with ex-husband Richard Burton, was made an honorary dame by the Queen in 2000.

    BBC © MMIX

    Gilliam praises Ledger's energy

    Director Terry Gilliam has said he would never have completed his fantasy film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus without Heath Ledger.

    "The closing credit says 'By Heath and Friends' because the film changed with his death," Gilliam said as it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

    "He forced me to make changes and we wouldn't have finished it if it wasn't for Heath."

    Ledger died of an accidental overdose in 2008 halfway through filming.

    Gilliam said that Ledger had inspired everyone else on set.

    "Heath was enjoying himself so much and he was ad-libbing a lot, which I don't normally allow... but Heath was just brilliant at it and he got everybody else going," he told AP.

    "Everybody was just energised by Heath. He was extraordinary. He was almost exhausting because he had so much energy."

    Cannes premiere of The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus

    Terry Gilliam (second from right) celebrated his film's premiere

    Gilliam's career has been marked by setbacks, including prolonged battles with studio executives over his films Brazil and The Brothers Grimm (also featuring Ledger).

    In 2000 Gilliam's fantasy epic The Man Who Killed Don Quixote folded after a few days after a series of mishaps.

    And when Ledger died during Gilliam's latest venture the director said his first thought was to give up.

    "Fortunately, I was surrounded by really good people who insisted that... we had to go out and find a way of finishing the film for Heath," he said.

    Gilliam went on to cast Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to play Ledger's character in the remaining different episodes of the movie.

    In the film Ledger's character is the mysterious and no-good Tony.

    He joins Doctor Parnassus's extraordinary travelling theatre after the troupe save him from death by hanging.

    Many critics gave the film a warm assessment after a press screening on Friday.

    However, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was being shown out of competition at the festival.

    For those films vying for Cannes's coveted Palme d'Or prize the wait is almost over to find out this year's victor.

    The movie showcase ends on Sunday night - but only after the awards ceremony has revealed the big winner.

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