Tuesday, November 16, 2010

At The End, It Was a Sad Story

"Furious Love - Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Marriage of the Century" by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger Harper 500 pages $27.99

If you're old enough to remember the '60s, then you will recall what a scandal the Taylor-Burton affair caused. The Pope chastized them! I seem to remember they were banned in Boston... Double adultery, living in sin, much guilty moaning about "my children," suicide attempts, wild disbursements of cash to such as jewelers, hotels, staff (some 18 or 20 people on their payroll,) yacht brokers plus incidentals like Chasen's chili flown in to them in sites all over the world.

To say nothing of horrendous drinking bouts. In the end, it was Burton's inability to deal with drink (and Elizabeth) that did in not only their marriage, but his health. He died aged only 58. She, in her 70s, has slowed but by no means stopped. A month or so ago, there was a breathless media announcement that she was engaged ...and then the story abruptly died.

What amazed me is this: In their early careers, both drank like fish (Bloody Marys on set at 10 a.m.) but "delivered great performances, never missing a mark or a word." C'mon! I wasn't born yesterday. I've been drunk and I've seen drunks and none of us were coherent enough to star in a movie. That's a nice story, but it surely isn't true.

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