Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born on February 27, 1932, in Hampstead Garden Suburb, London. Her parents, art dealer Francis Lenn Taylor and retired stage actress Sara Sothern (née Sara Viola Warmbrodt), were United States citizens, both originally from Arkansas City, Kansas. They moved to London in 1929, and opened an art gallery on Bond Street; their first child, a son named Howard, was born the same year.
In 1939, the Taylors decided to return to the United States due to the increasingly tense political situation in Europe. Sara and the children left first in April 1939, and moved in with Taylor's maternal grandfather in Pasadena, California. Francis stayed behind to close the London gallery, and joined them in December. In early 1940, he opened a new gallery in Los Angeles, and after briefly living in Pacific Palisades, the family settled in Beverly Hills.