Frank McLynn

Who’s Afraid of Elizabeth Taylor?

The Richard Burton Diaries


Yale University Press 693pp £25 order from our bookshop

The usual perception of Richard Burton is that he wasted his talent. As legend has it, he was a Shakespearean actor who sold out to the movies and was prepared to act in any old rubbish for the money, and a womanising drunk, posturing about his love of Wales and rugby, who gained fame and fortune mainly on Elizabeth Taylor’s back (in more ways than one); he may never have loved her. What he said about Michael Redgrave could apply just as well to him: ‘He is in love with himself but he’s not sure if it’s reciprocated.’ His private diaries, now published with the permission of his last wife, Sally, confirm all this but reveal that it is only one side of the picture. 

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