A red carpet fit for a queen was laid out Tuesday for Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor, who was to celebrate her 75th birthday at a party at a Lake Las Vegas Resort.
Guests including Debbie Reynolds, her daughter Carrie Fisher and magicians Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn turned out for the closed party at the Medici Cafe and Terrace at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas.
Reynolds said she's known Taylor since they were both 17 and under contract to MGM. Both women were married at separate times to Eddie Fisher.
"We've had a very unusual friendship, and it's lasted all these years," Reynolds said.
Horn called the evening "a great night for a great lady."
Some 75 people were expected for a Mardi Gras-themed dinner of jambalaya, prime rib, collard greens, sweet potatoes and cake at the resort 17 miles (27 kilometers) east of the Las Vegas Strip.
Among Taylor's closest friends are pop star Michael Jackson, whose spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday in a press release that he is now living in Las Vegas.
The Academy Award-winning actress, who uses a wheelchair because of back problems, last year dismissed tabloid reports that she was being treated for early Alzheimer's disease or was gravely ill.
Last year, she announced that she would let some of her specially designed House of Taylor Jewelry Inc. pieces be auctioned by Christie's in New York, Hong Kong and Geneva, Switzerland.
In 2002, Christie's auctioned nine pieces of her jewelry to benefit the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, which she established in 1991.
Taylor has won two Oscars for best actress and starred in more than 55 films, including "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Butterfield 8," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "Cleopatra."
She has been named by the American Film Institute as among the greatest female movie stars of all time, reports AP.
Queen Elizabeth II made the British-born Taylor a dame, the equivalent of a knight, in 2000.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969