London: Just days after Elizabeth Taylor was laid to rest, a unique picture of the star – believed to be the only known picture of her posing nude – surfaced and is now at the centre of an identity mystery.
However, it has now emerged that the sensational photograph may not be of the actress, but instead shows a little-known U.S. model and dancer, reports the Daily Mail.
It was included in a 2001 book by Peter Gowland, an early exponent of pin-up photography, called Classic Nude Photography, Techniques And Images with the model captioned as Lee Evans.
When the photo emerged last week it was said to be of her at 24.
But according to Gowland’s book, it was taken in 1940 when she would have been eight.
Gowland, who died in 2010 aged 93, also noted in 2001 that the negative had been missing ‘for years’.
His widow Alice, of Santa Monica, California, told a Sunday newspaper: ‘It’s an absolute falsehood that it is Elizabeth Taylor.’
The photo was said to have been an engagement gift from Taylor in 1956 to her third husband Michael Todd, and taken by her friend the actor and photographer Roddy McDowall.
When Todd died in a plane crash 13 months after their wedding, a devastated Taylor was said to have given the photograph to her make-up artist Penny Taylor, before it was bought by private collector Jim Shaudis in 1980.
He died in 2006, but his widow Karyn said she still believed the photograph showed Taylor.
The U.S. photographic agency that released the picture has suspended its distribution while there is a ‘possible challenge to the veracity’.