Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century
From veteran entertainment reporter Sam Kashner and biographer Nancy Schoenberger comes the definitive account of the greatest Hollywood love story ever told—the romance of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Kashner has interviewed Elizabeth Taylor numerous times and is the only journalist given access to her extensive collection of personal letters and journals, and he and Schoenberger have also interviewed the Burton family at length, including Burton’s actress daughter Kate. This is truly an authorized and singularly informed biography of these two larger-than-life stars, and of their glamorous, volatile, and audacious relationship.
Burton managed to stop drinking for two weeks, the longest time he’d been on the wagon since starring in Camelot. He found he could stay sober if he took Valium, though he wished he could “break the back of this old pitpony”—his drinking—without it. In the mornings, he’d pull on his khaki slacks, slip into a V-neck sweater and Italian loafers, and don a sombrero to keep the brutal sun off his face. Climbing to the top balcony of Casa Kimberly, he’d sit for two or three hours and pound away at his
influence when David Frost came to Budapest to interview the Burtons for The David Frost Show. The interview was set up on the Bluebeard soundstage, and it lasted for two hours. Richard talked about his adopted father, Philip Burton, and recited passages from the Old Testament—amazingly, his memory wasn’t affected by the amount of alcohol he was consuming. Elizabeth wore her stunning Taylor-Burton diamond and her tiny Ping-Pong diamond as well, and talked about both jewels. Frost aired the
Elizabeth/Frances an exquisite diamond bracelet. Already Burton was fulfilling one of Taylor’s basic requirements in a lover: a willingness and the ability to drape her in stupendous jewelry. She had learned early how to extract gifts from her directors and producers, like tributes paid to royalty by their subjects. Queens are meant to accept tribute, and, having already become the first actress in history to be given a million-dollar-plus salary for her services, she was the closest thing
you please stop talking about your damned Shakespeare and give me a hand!” Elizabeth shrieked. Burton, nursing a drink, yelled, “Will you please stop this bloody nonsense with that horrendous little monster and come and talk to this man? He’s a superb Shakespearean director and you might be lucky enough to work with him one day. Can’t you be more pleasant to him?” “I don’t care what he thinks of me,” Elizabeth retorted. “All I want is some help for my bush baby.” Zeffirelli claims that the
is seriously considering going into semiretirement within a few years. The superstar…at the zenith of her career, declares that she would be quite content simply as Mrs. Richard Burton.” After all, this was her third Tennessee Williams film adaptation, her eighth movie with Burton, and the fortieth movie of her long career. She’d had enough, and her private life was now far more interesting to her than her film career—that is, if she could separate them. “Once you’re up there on that last rung,