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Elizabeth Taylor's first of seven husbands was Paris Hilton's great-uncle

Bruno Cooke May 6, 2022
paris hilton elizabeth taylor
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One of Classical Hollywood’s brightest stars, Elizabeth Taylor, famously walked down the aisle eight times – her first husband was Conrad “Nicky” Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels and relative of socialites Paris and Nicky Hilton. How do you get from Elizabeth to Paris?

Connecting the family dots between Paris Hilton and Elizabeth Taylor

More ambitious versions of the Hilton family tree go back to Halvor Nilsen Hilton, born 1810, who married Karoline Hansdatter “Kari” Holum. 

Their son, Gus, emigrated to the US in 1870 and begat eight children, including Conrad Nicholson Hilton Sr.

Born 1887, Conrad Sr famously established what would become the Hilton Hotels & Resorts Group. He also had three children with his first wife Mary Adelaide Barron – Conrad Hilton Jr, William Barron Hilton and Eric Michael Hilton. 

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He and second wife, Hollywood actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, had one child, Constance Francesca Gabor Hilton, before divorcing in 1947. 

Born 1926, Conrad Hilton Jr was Elizabeth Taylor’s first husband. They were only married for eight months – his “gambling, drinking and abusive behaviour” apparently got between them, the LA Times reports.

Conrad ‘Nicky’ Hilton and Elizabeth Taylor didn’t have children together

They both remarried – him once, although Vanity Fair alleges there was an affair with his stepmother Zsa Zsa Gabor – and Taylor several times (more below).

Conrad Hilton Sr’s second son, William Barron Hilton, had eight children with wife Marilyn June Hawley. Their marriage lasted 57 years until her death in 2004. He died in 2019 at the age of 91. 

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William Barron Hilton’s sixth child is Richard Howard Hilton, born 1955. In 1981, his wife Kathy Richards gave birth to Paris Whitney Hilton – that’s Paris. We’re there.

Paris Hilton’s father’s (Richard) father’s (William Barron Hilton) brother (Conrad Hilton Jr), therefore, was Elizabeth Taylor’s first husband. So they’re only related by marriage, and only by a marriage that lasted eight months. But still, they’re connected.

How come Elizabeth Taylor had seven husbands but married eight times?

The simple answer is she married frequent co-star Richard Burton twice.

Taylor and Burton walked down the aisle together in 1964. The movie Cleopatra, which starred both of them, had come out the year before, earning mixed reviews. Their marriage, too, had its ups and downs.

During their first marriage, Richard Burton adopted Elizabeth Taylor’s daughter Liza. He also adopted Maria, a German orphan Taylor was in the process of adopting while still married to previous husband Eddie Fisher.

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Igiza | Teaser Trailer | Showmax

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They divorced after ten years of marriage but remarried in Botswana a year later. And then, again, a year later they divorced.

Vanity Fair has labelled their marriage(s) “torrid”; Vogue has deemed them “Hollywood’s most flamboyant couple”; Harper’s Bazaar calls it “one of the most iconic, albeit tumultuous, love stories of all time”.

One thing’s for sure: it left its mark. On 4 March 2022, Paris Hilton shared a picture to her Instagram followers of her as a young girl with great-aunt Elizabeth Taylor and her eighth and final husband Larry Fortensky:

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.