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Elizabeth Taylor Is Highest-Paid Performer in Motion Picture History

May 21, 1963 - Any doubt that Elizabeth Taylor has become the highest-paid performer in motion picture history was dispelled today by Darryl F. Zanuck. The president of 20th Century-Fox said the actress had collected $1,725,000 for acting in “Cleopatra.” In addition, she will receive 10% of the gross of the film above $7,500,000. If “Cleopatra” earns $62 million — the figure cited by Mr. Zanuck for Fox to “break even” — Miss Taylor’s total earnings for a single performance would be $7,125,000. The previous highest salary is believed to be William Holden’s for “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” He collected 10% of the gross of the film, which has reportedly had gross earnings of $30 million to date, making Mr. Holden’s percentage $3 million. Miss Taylor’s chances of topping Mr. Holden’s figure are assured, since “Cleopatra,” which will not open until June 12, has already received guarantees from theaters for more than $15 million.

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