Taylor claimed they would have married a third time if only Burton..


Elizabeth Taylor’s hellraising is so infamous that our mental image of her and Richard Burton hitting the bottle like a couple of W.C. Fieldses can overshadow her actual work. That’s probably how it should be. While any cinephile could name a dozen actresses who could play Cleopatra, they’d be hard pressed to name any other actress whose private life was denounced by the Vatican.

Part of that denouncement was the social mores of the time. Part of it was straight-up misogyny. (How many perma-drunk male Casanovas get called out by the Pope?) Part of it was probably deserved. Taylor was as addicted to pleasure as she was to controversy. Over her lifetime, she married eight times, had endless affairs, got drunk at every opportunity, and took great pride in the offense she caused. Sometimes, her behavior was truly outrageous. After marrying and divorcing Richard Burton twice, Taylor was so upset that she got engaged just to spite him.

The Telegraph has the story. When working on Noel Coward’s Private Lives, Taylor and Burton brought out the worst in each other. They separately turned up drunk. They broke character. They skipped performances. When Taylor missed a show, Burton got fed up, went to Vegas, and married Sally Hay. When Taylor heard the news, she was so furious she announced her engagement to Victor Luna, upstaging Burton. Not that she ever hated her ex-husband. Later in life, Taylor claimed they would have married a third time if only Burton hadn’t died.

by Movies

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