Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor’s Hot Passionate Romance

UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 01: Liz Taylor in leopard skin coat and hat.
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Two of Elizabeth Taylor’s eight marriages were to gruff Welsh actor Richard Burton. When husband No. 3 Mike Todd was killed in a 1958 plane crash, grief chased the starlet into the arms of her friend Eddie Fisher, who soon became husband No. 4 after Fisher divorced then-wife Debbie Reynolds.

1958: American singer Eddie Fisher, wearing a tuxedo, stands with arm around his wife, American actor Debbie Reynolds (R) and smiles while looking at British-born actor Elizabeth Taylor, smoking a cigarette, Las Vegas, Nevada. The next year Fisher left Reynolds and married Taylor.

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Three years later, Taylor and Burton were cast as the love-tossed Egyptian queen and Roman general in the 1963 blockbuster Cleopatra. The ancient romance quickly bubbled over into present passions. Publicity about their white-hot affair led to the Vatican accusing the two of “erotic vagrancy.” After divorcing their respective spouses and marrying, “Dick and Liz” became the “it” couple of the ’60s, starring in 11 films together while lavishing their combined fortune on furs, diamonds, paintings and a yacht.

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on the film set of "The Sandpiper" in 1965.

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The media fell all over themselves reporting salacious details of the couple’s “open” marriage and glamorous lifestyle. The continued exposure took a toll on the couple. Burton and Taylor divorced in 1974, reconciled, remarried a year later, and divorced a second time a year after that. Taylor went on to marry twice more, but she later said, “After Richard, the men in my life were just there to hold the coat, to open the door.

American Actors Liz Taylor and Richard Burton

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All the men after Richard were really just company.” Burton would also marry twice again, but by then, alcoholism was taking its toll. Burton died of a cerebral hemorrhage at age 58, but before he died, Taylor claims he sent her a letter professing a desire to come home to her. In a Vogue interview, she said, “I was still madly in love with him the day he died. I think he still loved me, too.” Though Burton’s wife says it was not possible for him to have sent such a letter to Taylor, it was reportedly buried with Taylor when she died in 2011.

Hollywoods Golden Couples
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Hollywoods Golden Couples

February 2022

Gaze back at the classic romances of old Hollywood, both onscreen and off.

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