Showing as much grit and determination as her National Velvet heroine, Hollywood icon Dame Elizabeth Taylor this week made a public appearance to support one of her favourite causes, just weeks after being admitted to hospital.

Her legendary violet eyes still sparking, the 76-year-old British actress was guest of honour at a charity fashion show in California's Santa Monica. And the irrepressible star showed she has lost none of her style in a black gown with sandals and a grand diamond necklace.

Most importantly, though, she wore a big smile as she received the greetings of those around her, helping allay fears for her health.

Fellow celebrities at the glamorous AIDS fundraiser were quick to praise the wheelchair-bound Oscar-winning actress.

"Elizabeth is a hero," former runway queen Kathy Ireland said. "She is loved by not only me, but by people all over the world."

Another actress putting her own personal troubles behind her to campaign for the cause was Sharon Stone, who hosted the gala, which raised more than £14.5 million. The Basic Instinct star was in court recently in a dispute over the schooling of her eight-year-old son, Roan, with ex Phil Bronstein.

Also giving their support to the gala bash were American Pie actress Tara Reid and her French fashion exec love Julien Jarmoune.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
As glamorous today as in her early days in Hollywood, the British star battled through recent health problems to give her support to the gala nightPhoto: © Getty Images Click on photos for gallery
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Tireless campaigner Sharon Stone hosted the night of glamour, which raised funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS organisationsPhoto: © Getty Images
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