Naked 'Taylor' photo embroiled in identity mystery

A nude photo widely believed to be of a young Dame Elizabeth Taylor is at the center of an identity mystery after its veracity was called into question.

Fans were stunned after the shot emerged days after the movie veteran died last month (Mar11). It features a naked young woman, who bears a striking resemblance to Taylor, kneeling and leaning forward on a white fur rug.

Reports claimed the Cleopatra star was just 24 when she agreed to pose for the snap, which she then gave to her third husband Michael Todd as an engagement present.

But bosses at photo agency Bauer Griffin have now stopped distributing the image after learning the woman in the picture is most likely Hollywood dancer and model Lee Evans.

The shot appears in photographer Peter Gowland's 2001 book Classic Nude Photography, Techniques and Images, which tells how he shot the picture in 1940 - when Taylor would have been just eight years old.

In the book, Gowland says of Evans, "She had never done any nude modeling before and since I was looking for a pretty model to expand my photography, I asked her to pose. She was shy, but appreciated art and so agreed."

Bauer Griffin co-owner Frank Griffin insists the firm is no longer associated with the picture "now we have learnt there is a possible challenge to the veracity".

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