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A book that incorporates a vast trove of love letters between the two stars, and paints a sometimes ugly, sometimes beautiful portrait of their relationship. Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor And Richard Burton And The Marriage Of The Century by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger
The Full Love Story It's Hard To Think Of Elizabeth Taylor Without Thinking Of The Fire-and-ice Relationship She Shared With Richard Burton. Their Love Was Intense And Passionate…
Story Highlights of Hollywood’s most dazzling romance Taylor and Burton's torrid love affair began on the set of Cleopatra in 1961, while both were married to others. They married in 1964, after divorcing their respective spouses. Burton lavished extravagant jewelry on Liz throughout their relationship. The couple divorced in 1974, only to remarry the following year. Their second marriage ended in 1976.
Together, they racked up 11 films, countless explosive rows and 12 marriages - including two to each other. Yet, touchingly, Elizabeth Taylor still keeps a photo of her former husband Richard Burton by her bedside. And according to the 78-year-old actress, had Burton been alive today, the Hollywood couple would have wed for a third time.
The forbidden affair that started on the set of Cleopatra in 1961 between Taylor and Burton, both married to others at the time, is one for the Hollywood history books. The passion and love between the two actors was palpable to all who encountered them on the movie set. But their torrid affair came with a price -- both personally and professionally. Burton divorced Sybil Williams, and Taylor ended her marriage to Eddie Fisher, marrying Burton just nine days after her March 1964 divorce from Fisher was finalized. Many fans disapproved. And while the scandal sent sensational shockwaves around the world, the intensity of the love between the two stars was undeniable
If ever there was a couple about whom it could be said "they couldn't live with, or without, each other," it may very well have been Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Taylor, whose health reportedly keeps her in seclusion, is said to have made plans for her ashes to be scattered in Burton's homeland of Wales upon her death and cremation. To this day, Taylor is said to wear the 33.19-carat Krupp diamond given to her by Burton, perhaps a symbol of her undying love for him.
First wedding: Richard and Elizabeth married in 1964 but divorced ten years later in 1974 Second Try: The Couple Wed Again In 1975 But Parted Ways After Less Than 12 Months
…a photograph of Richard Burton next to Liz’s bed –
In a heartbreaking letter written just hours before his death, but which she received a few days later, he said that he was happiest with her and asks for another chance.
It was the final word in their notorious affair and means so much to her that to this day she keeps it in the table by her bed. The note is part of a series of unpublished love letters sent by Burton to Dame Elizabeth which she has released to show the place he held, and still holds, in her heart. 'Richard was magnificent in every sense of the word,' she said. 'And in everything he ever did.... He was the kindest, funniest, and most gentle father. 'All my kids worshiped him. Attentive, loving - that was Richard - from those first moments in Rome we were always madly and powerfully in love. We had more time but not enough.'
The letters, to be published in Vanity Fair magazine, show Burton's complex, passionate and occasionally tortured soul.
A Love Too Big to Last Long before Brangelina, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (Lizard?) blew the fuse of celebrity-couple wattage. In an excerpt from their book on the romance, Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger draw on never-before-seen love letters.
Burton's early letters reveal the playful affection he felt for her - in one he calls her 'Dearest Scrupelshrumpilstilskin' while in another he addresses the letter 'Dear Twit Twaddle etc.' and calls her 'My little Twitch' before signing it off 'Husbs'. ‘One of these days I will wake up - which I think I have done already - and realize to myself that I really do love,' he writes. 'Who invented that concept? I have wracked my shabby brains and can find no answer.'
But by the time they made their final film - a TV movie called Divorce His, Divorce Hers - their separation and divorce was imminent on the back of his relentless drinking and hell-raising. Burton allowed her to make the announcement and in advance of their split tried to put a brave face on it. In a letter in June 1973, he affectionately addressed her as 'my lumps'. He wrote: 'You're off, by God! I can barely believe it since I am so unaccustomed to anybody leaving me.’
In another letter from Venice he adds: 'You are probably the best actress in the world, which, combined with your extraordinary beauty, makes you unique.
Burton got his way and they remarried in 1975 but it lasted just nine months. They then grew apart but his last letter shows his love was undiminished. He sent it in 1984 whilst in Celigny, Switzerland with his final wife, Sally Hay Burton. Burton had just finished filming with John Hurt, who he had as a guest when he excused himself to go to his study and penned the note. He then went to bed and died of a cerebral hemorrhage aged just 58. His widow banned Taylor from the funeral.
When the note arrived she knew he had died, received it with a trembling hand and wept as she read it. Taylor, 78, has not made the exact contents of the letter public but she has revealed that when she reads it she can hear Burton's voice loud and clear. He writes that although he is not unhappy, he was happiest with her. Nobody else could know what happened between them, he says, and tells her that he wants to come home.
“Sitting on the poop deck with my infinitely beloved wife who has acquired an even greater weight of love. I keep on mentally looking around to make sure she’s there. For why this new and massive re-affirmation of adoration and worship and promise to myself that I shall never be nasty to her ever again? I will tell you for why. For because for about 3 minutes this afternoon I thought that I was about to be killed instantaneously and at once, without time to re-tell her how much I love her, to apologize for breaking my contract to look after her forever, for letting her down with a bang, and for having no time to tell her the million things yet to be told and for not realizing and demonstrating my full potential as husband, provider, lover and all..."
Historicfigures RICHARD BURTON played on film : RICHARD BURTON's Academy Award Nominations : My Cousin Rachel (1952), The Robe (1953), Becket (1964), The Spy Who CameIn From the Cold (1965), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), Anne of theThousand Days (1969), Equus (1977) Burton's gravestone in Geneva, Switzerland.
Reputed to be an extravagant spender, Burton proposed to Taylor with a Bvlgari pendant, platinum-set with an 18.61-carat emerald surrounded by diamonds. Designed so that it could be detached and worn as a brooch, it was the only jewelry Taylor wore, pinned to her dress collar, during their 1964 nuptials
Burton went on to buy Elizabeth the famous 33.19-carat, Asscher-cut Krupp diamond in 1968, which she had set in platinum. Just a year later, Burton continued his lavish spree when he acquired for his bride the 69.42-carat, pear-shaped Burton-Taylor diamond. This flawless, D-colored diamond was subsequently mounted as a pendent on a platinum necklace by Harry Winston.
The Krupp diamond is regarded as one of the most flawless diamonds in the world. According to Elizabeth, “the Krupp was my prize for beating Richard at ping-pong!” It was previously owned by Vera Krupp, who acquired it from Harry Winston jewelers. The Krupp’s had supplied the Nazi’s with arms during the war, so, according to Elizabeth: “When it came up for auction in the late 1960s, I thought how perfect it would be if a nice Jewish girl like me were to own it.” Burton won the ring in a bidding war that included Harry Winston. Since then the ring has rarely left Elizabeth’s finger.
The Grand Duchess Vladimir Suite The Grand Duchess Vladimir Suite, by Bvlgariin Rome, is an exquisite collection of diamonds and emeralds, given to Elizabeth by Richard Burton. The collection is comprised of a brooch (Burton’s engagement gift to Elizabeth), ear pendants, a necklace, and a bracelet. Elizabeth has saved these gems for very special occasions, and they were probably worn most sentimentally at her 1964 wedding to Richard Burton at the Ritz-Carlton in Montréal.
In 1969, Richard Burton spent $37,000 (outbidding Prince Alfonso de Bourbon Asturias) to buy Elizabeth La Peregrina, a stunning pear shaped pearl, for her thirty-seventh birthday. “It used to belong to the Welsh,” Burton stated. “I thought it time they got it back.” Included in the purchase of La Peregrina was the pearl’s provenance, which is as fascinating as the pearl is rare and beautiful. A slave was set free after finding the pearl in the Gulf of Panama and bringing it to the Spanish court. It was later given to Mary Tudor of England upon her engagement to Spain’s Phillip II in 1554. Later, Queens Margarita and Isabel owned the pearl. Both were immortalized, wearing the pearl, in separate portraits by the revered sixteenth century painter, Valásques. And finally, in the early part of the 1800’s, the Bonapartes owned the pearl.
The pearl’s former setting can be seen in publicity shots for Elizabeth’s cameo in the 1969 film, Anne of the Thousand Days, … Mary I wearing the La Peregrina-1554 and the new, more elaborate setting in the films Divorce His—Divorce Hers and A Little Night Music.
Elizabeth took cues on how she wanted the necklace set from a painting of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was wearing it as a choker. After reading The Bridge of Drina, a history of the events surrounding the famous bridge, Burton considered writing a similar history on the pearl and its owners, but unfortunately he never did. He also considered bidding on a four-hundred year old painting with the pearl adorning Queen Mary—but instead helped the National Art Collections Fund acquire it.
During celebrations for Elizabeth’s fortieth birthday, Richard presented her with the historical TajMahal diamond, which he purchased for a reported cost of £350,000. “I would have liked to buy the TajMahal for Elizabeth,” joked Burton, “but it would have cost too much to transport it.”The provenance of the piece is just as extraordinary as Elizabeth’s other gems—its former owner was the Shah Jahan, who was given the diamond by his father. Shah Jahanthen gave it to the woman who was the favourite of his wives, Queen Mumtāz in 1621. The gem is in inscribed with the words “Love Is Everlasting” in Parsee.After the TajMahal Diamond was in her possession, Elizabeth had the original silk chord replaced with one fashioned with diamonds and rubies.
The Taylor-Burton Diamond Richard Burton purchased the 69.42 carat, inch thick diamond from Cartier for $1.1 million, making it the world’s most expensive diamond at the time. According to Burton, Elizabeth wanted the ring after he insulted her hands. “That insult last night is going to cost me,” Burton wrote in his diary before purchasing the gem. Betcha!” However, acquiring the gem would prove more difficult than he initially imagined.Richard had a limit of one million he was prepared to spend on the ring, but after a fierce bidding war that included Aristotle Onassis, the ring was sold to Cartier for $50,000 more than his top price. Burton was livid! He made a deal with Cartier, who sold him the ring for $1.1 million; making a $50,000 profit on a ring they had owned for about a day. One stipulation of the purchase was that the ring would be displayed at Cartier boutiques in New York and Chicago. Burton agreed, and 10,000 people lined up each day to see the gem [that] was guarded by a machine gun (not surprising as the ring was sold because it had posed a security risk to its owner, the sister of the US envoy to Britain).
In order to help finance husband John Warner’s senatorial candidacy, Elizabeth decided to part with the Taylor-Burton diamond. In June 1979 the diamond was sold to a new owner for $3 million dollars. “It was large and very heavy,” said Elizabeth. “Anyway, I hadn’t worn it for ages. It represented a different phase in my life, the fun and camp phase.” Elizabeth has since admitted regret in selling the diamond.
When the newly renamed Taylor-Burton diamond was finally in Elizabeth’s possession, she originally wore it as a ring, but, because of its mammoth size, later decided to have Cartier suspend it from a £40,000 necklace. It was finished just in time for Elizabeth to wear it to Princess Grace’s fortieth birthday—but first it had to be delivered.
Three men (two of them decoys to throw off any potential jewel thieves) made the trip to the burtons yacht, the kalizma, carrying the gem. Lloyd’s of london, who insured the diamond, specified that when wearing the taylor-burton in public, elizabeth must be protected by security guards carrying machine guns. It was also at the centre of a humorous exchange between Elizabeth and the late Princess Margaret of England. “Is that the famous diamond? But it’s so large—how very vulgar!” “Yes,” said Elizabeth. “Ain’t it great?” Margaret then asked to try on the huge stone. “It doesn’t look so vulgar now, does it?” remarked Elizabeth.
the titanium, diamond, cultured pearls and ruby evening clutch, by Fred
Suite of amethyst, kunzite and diamonds by Van Cleef & Arpels Gold and ivory necklace, charmed fashion from 1987
The Elephant series, Art Deco rock crystal, diamond and enamel pendant watch, circa 1915, by Cartier
The Stunning coral, sapphire, diamond and enamel brooch, by David Webb
Elizabeth Taylor's Diamond Jubilee Taylor wears a pearl ring to her 75th birthday party at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada on February 27, 2007. Among her famous pearls is La Peregrina, a jewel once owned by Anne Boleyn and by Mary Tudor, which Taylor nearly lost when one of Richard Burton's dogs tried to eat it.
Elizabeth Taylor Out on the Town Here's how Taylor dresses for a night out in September 1967, with a headdress made of pearls and faux flowers, a jeweled gown, and an emerald necklace.