When Richard Dawson photographed Elizabeth Taylor on her honeymoon, he figured the marriage wouldn’t last.
How right he was. That was Taylor’s first marriage in May 1950. She was traveling on the Queen Mary on her honeymoon with hotel magnate Conrad Hilton. Dawson was a ship-based photographer on the Queen Mary.
Taylor and Hilton divorced after 205 days of marriage. Taylor went on to marry another seven times. Dawson went on to take many photographs of famous folks who sailed during Cunard’s golden age of ocean travel.
This week, the now 89-year-old photographer paid a special visit to the Queen Mary 2. While on the ship, he toured an exhibit on the ship of his classic black-and-white images called “Stars Aboard.”
Dawson joined the original Queen Mary in 1949. During its heyday, the passenger list for the beautiful ship read like a who’s who of the silver screen and the world stage in general.
Some of the notables on Queen Mary cruises include:
Bob Hope who was onboard during the Queen Mary’s final passenger voyage before the start of World War II in 1939.
Fred Astaire who cruised from England to New York in June of 1939.
Bing Crosby who was a passenger on the Queen Mary several times, including during World War II when he traveled overseas with the U.S.O.
Clark Gable who holds the distinction of delaying the departure of the Queen Mary by 18 minutes on July 9, 1948, as he said goodbye to his love interest at the time.
Greta Garbo returned from Europe aboard the Queen Mary on Sept. 21, 1953.
Audrey Hepburn and her husband Mel Ferrer traveled aboard the Queen Mary on their way to Europe for their second honeymoon on June 17, 1957.
Lynne Redgrave sailed aboard the Queen Mary’s final voyage in 1967.
Besides glamorous celebrities, the Queen Mary was also the main transportation for British Royalty and American politicians. Here are just some of the major political players who traveled on the Queen Mary:
Winston Churchill traveled on the Queen Mary three times during WWII and considered the ship his headquarters at sea. In fact, he even signed the D-Day Declaration onboard.
Churchill said, “Built for the arts of peace and to link the old world with the new, the queens challenged the fury of Hitlerism in the battle of the Atlantic. Without their aid, the day of final victory must unquestionably have been postponed.”
The ship’s award-winning restaurant, Sir Winston’s, is named after the Prime Minister, as is the “Churchill Suite.”
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Edward VII and Wallis Simpson) Edward VIII was the son of Queen Mary, the ship’s namesake.
The couple traveled the ship often, calling it “their ship.” They always booked the same suite, M58 on the Main Deck, which is now called the “Windsor Suite.”
During one voyage in 1948, the couple brought with them 120 pieces of luggage and their dogs.
Jackie Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. Although they never actually traveled on the Queen Mary, Jacqueline Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were aboard the ship on March 17, 1965, to wish bon voyage to former British Ambassador Lord Harlech, who was close friends with President Kennedy.
For more information: Call Cunard toll-free at 1-800-728-6273, or visit www.cunard.com.