Elizabeth Taylor dismisses reports of illness on 'Larry King Live'

An exasperated Elizabeth Taylor rejected tabloid reports that she is gravely ill during an appearance on CNN's Larry King Live Tuesday night.

An exasperated Elizabeth Taylor rejected tabloid reports that she is gravely ill during an appearance on CNN's Larry King Live Tuesday night.

"Do I look like I'm dying?" the reclusive 74-year-old screen legend asked King. "Do I look like or sound like I have Alzheimer's?"

In recent weeks, tabloids have speculated that Taylor was close to death. Alternately, some reports said she was being treated for the early stages of Alzheimer's.

"Oh my God. Am I dead? Am I alive?" the Oscar-winner responded when host King inquired about the tabloid reports.

King also asked why Taylor uses a wheelchair now. She replied that she has osteoporosis and was born with scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine. Also, she admitted having suffered back problems since she was a teen.

During the interview, Taylor also defended her friend Michael Jackson, who was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005.

A Hollywood legend

A child actress who first made a name for herself in films such as 1943's Lassie Come Home and 1944's National Velvet, Taylor grew up to become one of the world's most recognizable, glamorous Hollywood stars.

Her credits include such classics as Butterfield 8, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Father of the Bride and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Taylor also became known for her string of Hollywood marriages and divorces.

Though she moved into TV and stage roles in the 1970s and 1980s, Taylor has largely withdrawn from acting. She focuses on her AIDS-related charity fundraising and business side projects, such as creating fragrances and jewelry designing.

In the past 10 years, Taylor has suffered a broken back, skin cancer and several serious bouts of pneumonia. She also had both hips replaced and a benign brain tumour removed.