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The Burtons

Guest Author - Amber Grey

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, or otherwise known as The Burtons. Their tempestuous affair caught everyone's attention and and still remains an epic, larger-than-life love story.

When they first met on the set of "Cleopatra" (1963), it was not love at first sight. As Taylor recalled in an interview, when Burton first arrived on set to greet everyone, he approached her by saying, "Has anyone ever told you that you're a very pretty girl?" Taylor was less than impressed. However that did not last long, as the production continued the friction between them turned into a heated liaison.

Soon, famous photographs of the two kissing while sunbathing on a yacht hit the newspapers which caused a major scandal. Both were married at the time with Taylor already being a target of bad press after marrying musician Eddie Fisher. Fisher, who ended his marriage to actress Debbie Reynolds after having an affair with Taylor. There was a feud painted between Taylor and Reynolds with Taylor portrayed as a home wrecker and Reynolds as the victim.

The press followed their every move and the Vatican was quick to condemn their affair. It was a mere eleven days after Taylor's divorce to Fisher that she married Burton on March 15, 1964.

Although their marriage tore through the gossip magazines, the Burtons managed to make eleven films together. Some of those films served more as life imitating art. For Franco Zeffirelli adaptation of "The Taming of the Shrew", the Italian director once met the couple at their hotel room. According to Zeffirelli's memoir "Zeffirelli: An Autobiography," when he first met the Burton's in their hotel room, they seemed to be already living the roles of Petruchio and Katherine. He came upon the scene of Elizabeth Taylor chasing a pet bush baby while Burton completely ignored the situation, instead talking to Zeffirelli, the couple would snap at each other throughout the meeting.

Another one of their more notable films, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966). At first, the Burtons were not the ideal casting for the roles. Instead, the playwright Edward Albee wanted Bette Davis and James Mason for the role of Martha and George. But once The Burtons were cast, critics and audience members alike believed they were watching the Burtons as exaggerated portrayals of themselves.

After ten years of marriage, the Burtons were divorced on June 26, 1974. But they proved to be undeniably still in love with each other, as sixteen months after divorcing, they remarried in a private ceremony. Their second marriage lasted seven months before divorcing a final time. Both would remarry, Taylor two more times during her lifetime, but there would be an undeniable connection that would run deep for the rest of their lives.

When Burton suddenly passed away from a brain haemorrhage in 1984, it was later that Taylor recalled, "I was still madly in love with him the day he died. I think he still loved me, too...I loved him for twenty-five years."

Immediately following the death of Elizabeth Taylor in 2011, there was a resurfacing of their relationship. Private letters and diaries belonging to both of them were released with their true feelings open for the world to read.

A book was also published about the Burtons titled, "Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Marriage of the Century" by Sam Kashner. The rumor mill began to circle about the inevitable bio-pic. Amidst the reports of director Martin Scorsese possibly directing it and casting mentioning everyone from Catherine Zeta-Jones to Natalie Portman to portray Elizabeth, Lifetime decided to make their own television film, "Liz and Dick" (2012).
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Content copyright © 2014 by Amber Grey. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Amber Grey. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Eliana Isabella Radu for details.

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