A tough Welshman, he was softened by the affections of a breathtakingly beautiful woman: she was a modern-day Cleopatra madly in love with her own Mark Antony. For quarter of a century, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were the king and queen of Hollywood.
Yet their two marriages to each other represented much more than outlandish romance. Together, Elizabeth and Richard were a fascinating embodiment of the mores and transgressions of their time and even luminaries like Jacqueline Kennedy looked to them as a barometer of the culture. The enduring glamour, grandeur, drama and bravado embodied in the couple gave rise to the type of rabid gossip and wide-eyed adoration that are the staples of todayÕ s media.
Using brand-new research and interviews Ð including unique access to Taylor herself, the Burton family, and TaylorÕ s extensive personal correspondence Ð this ultimate celebrity biography is the gripping real-life story of a fairy-tale couple whose lives were even grander and more outrageous than the epic films they made.
Life outdoes movie melodrama in this raucous, intimate, dual biography of Hollywood's ultimate "It Couple." As told by journalist Kashner (Sinatraland) and biographer Schoenberger (Dangerous Muse: The Life of Caroline Blackwood), the romance between the glittering Tinseltown diva and the sonorous, self-loathing Shakespearean reprises their co-starring movie roles: it has the passion of Cleopatra (the Vatican condemned their on-set adultery as "erotic vagrancy"), the riotous merriment of The Taming of the Shrew, the poisonous marital fights of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and a cast of thousands of paparazzi and shrieking fans. The well-researched narrative the authors make good use of Burton's engaging love letters and diary entries offers juicy details of his epic alcoholism and her towering tantrums, and is fascinated with the jewelry pieces, like the Taj Mahal diamond that Taylor famously extracted from Burton as tribute or penance. But from the binges and bling emerges a revealing portrait of the magnetic qualities her vulgar warmth, his soulful virility that glued the couple together. Here is that rare love story that holds one's interest beyond the wedding and a reminder, after the thin gruel of Brangelina, of what a feast celebrity can be. Photos.