Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century
  • Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century
  • Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century
  • Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century
  • Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century
  • Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century
  • Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century
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Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century

3.7 83
by Sam Kashner, Nancy Schoenberger
     
 

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The definitive story of Hollywood's most famous couple

He was a tough-guy Welshman softened by the affections of a breathtakingly beautiful woman; she was a modern-day Cleopatra madly in love with her own Mark Antony. For nearly a quarter of a century, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were Hollywood royalty, and their fiery romance-often called "the marriage of

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Overview

The definitive story of Hollywood's most famous couple

He was a tough-guy Welshman softened by the affections of a breathtakingly beautiful woman; she was a modern-day Cleopatra madly in love with her own Mark Antony. For nearly a quarter of a century, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were Hollywood royalty, and their fiery romance-often called "the marriage of the century"-was the most notorious, publicized, and celebrated love affair of its day.

For the first time, Vanity Fair contributing editor Sam Kashner and acclaimed biographer Nancy Schoenberger tell the complete story of this larger-than-life couple, showing how their romance and two marriages commanded the attention of the world. Also for the first time, in exclusive access given to the authors, Elizabeth Taylor herself gives never-revealed details and firsthand accounts of her life with Burton.

Drawing upon brand-new information and interviews-and on Burton's private, passionate, and heartbreaking letters to Taylor-Furious Love sheds new light on the movies, the sex, the scandal, the fame, the brawls, the booze, the bitter separations, and, of course, the fabled jewels. It offers an intimate glimpse into Elizabeth and Richard's privileged world and their elite circle of friends, among them Princess Grace, Montgomery Clift, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Peter O'Toole, Michael Caine, Marlon Brando, Rex Harrison, Mike Nichols, Laurence Olivier, Robert Kennedy, Tennessee Williams, Noel Coward, John Huston, Ava Gardner, the Rothschilds, Maria Callas, and Aristotle Onassis. It provides an entertaining, eye-opening look at their films, their wildly lucrative reign in Europe and in Hollywood-and the price they paid for their extravagant lives.

Shocking and unsparing in its honesty, Furious Love explores the very public marriage of "Liz and Dick" as well as the private struggles of Elizabeth and Richard, including Le Scandale, their affair on the set of the notorious epic Cleopatra that earned them condemnation from the Vatican; Burton's hardscrabble youth in Wales; the crippling alcoholism that nearly destroyed his career and contributed to his early death; the medical issues that plagued both him and Elizabeth; and the failed aspirations and shame that haunted him throughout their relationship. As Kashner and Schoenberger illuminate the events and choices that shaped this illustrious couple's story, they demonstrate how the legendary pair presaged America's changing attitudes toward sex, marriage, morality, and celebrity. Yet ultimately, as the authors show, Elizabeth and Richard shared something priceless beyond the drama: enduring love.

Addictive and entertaining, Furious Love is more than a celebrity biography; it's an honest yet sympathetic portrait of a man, a woman, and a passion that shocked and mesmerized the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. (June 1)
Wall Street Journal
“[An] entertaining, blow-by-blow account of the life and times of an epic Hollywood couple... There is no shortage of saucy anecdotes in Furious Love...”
USA Today
“[An] unfailingly respectful and journalistically honest chronicle. . . . Where this book breaks ground is in its ability to humanize these colossal celebs. . . . Reads like a Shakespearean drama.”
Library Journal
When Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton starred together in Cleopatra in the early Sixties, they began a romance that shocked the world, and the public could not get enough of "le scandale" (as Burton coined it). Because they were married to other people and flaunted their relationship, they were denounced by the Vatican and some in the U.S. House of Representatives. They eventually wed, and for a quarter of a century their tempestuous on-again, off-again love affair continued to make headlines. Despite their occasionally over-the-top prose (e.g., "And now, suddenly, Elizabeth would be playing love scenes with this devastating Welshman, made vulnerable by drink, a god brought down to earth, whose need for alcohol translated into a ravishing thirst for life"), biographers Kashner and Schoenberger (coauthors, A Talent for Genius: The Life and Time of Oscar Levant) have written a fascinating book that includes new research and interviews (Taylor shared Burton's love letters) and captures the glamour of a bygone era. VERDICT This well-researched dual biography is juicy enough for any celebrity bio maven. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/10.]—Rosellen Brewer, Sno-Isle Libs., Marysville, WA
Kirkus Reviews
Vanity Fair and Esquire contributor Kashner and Schoenberger (Creative Writing; William and Mary; Hollywood Kryptonite, the Bulldog, the Lady, and the Death of Superman, 2006, etc.) examine the union of Hollywood actors Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, larger-than-life figures who inspired the fevered fascination of their public and presaged the current age of media obsession with the private lives of celebrities. Burton and Taylor were no strangers to notoriety before their fated meeting on the notoriously troubled production of their film Cleopatra (1963). When the two married stars brazenly flouted their new romance, a scandal of international proportions was born, prompting a media obsession with the couple that endured for decades. The Burtons gave good value. Their many health crises, career reversals, jet-set milieu, fabled screaming matches, sexual provocations and indulgences in luxury provided ample grist for the gossip mill, creating a virtual cottage industry out of Burton-watching. The authors' view of the star-crossed thespians is overly sympathetic, detecting poetic depths of tragedy in behaviors that will likely strike the average reader as grotesquely immature, selfish and gratingly repetitive. The Burtons squabbled, made conspicuous love, occasionally made indifferent or outright poor films and spent lavishly on jewels, houses, yachts and oceans of alcohol. The glamour of their lifestyle begins to pall as it becomes evident that the couple was essentially a pair of privileged toddlers, indulging whims and throwing tantrums before a raptly scandalized world audience. The book is really Burton's story, and the authors provide solid material on his humble upbringing, large, close family and his early incandescent stage career. Also compelling are the many excerpts from Burton's personal correspondence, revealing an intelligent, articulate man hobbled by maudlin self-loathing and weakness of character. Taylor remains the remote, regal movie star, coddled and indulged since early childhood. Her monstrous sense of entitlement is easy to understand but difficult to stomach. The Burtons made significant contributions to cinema, but this book's focus on their romance seems misplaced. In the words of Burton's beloved Shakespeare, their story is merely full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. A well-researched but critically toothless and ultimately depressing record of epic vulgarity and emotional incontinence. Author appearances in Los Angeles and New York. Agent: David Kuhn/Kuhn Projects
Ada Calhoun
…an indulgent, plenty-of-fun book about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's traveling circus of money, booze and mutual obsession…There's a lesson here for couples: marriage doesn't have to be a partnership of equals. It can be a bodice-ripping, booze-soaked, jewel-bedecked brawl that survives even death. It's a tough way to live, but it makes for a good beach book.
—The New York Times
Philadelphia Inquirer
“[A] five-alarm blaze of a biography that enthralls like an Olympian epic. . . . The authors make an excellent case that each deepened the other’s craft. . . . A vivid portrait of this...two-career marriage on steroids.”
New York Times Book Review
“An indulgent, plenty-of-fun book...the authors make shrewd observations...juicy…a good beach book.”
Boston Globe
“I fell for Furious Love, hook, line and sinker... Ultimately Furious Love is utterly persuasive on the ineffable force of ‘the most notorious, publicized, celebrated, and vilified love affair of its day,’ offering a powerful portrait of the ecstasies and travails of overreaching passion and crippled psyches...”
Douglas Brinkley
“Long before there was Brangelina, the high-wire romance between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton rocked the world. In Furious Love, Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger provide dramatic historical insights into Hollywood’s stormiest, up-and-down relationship. Every page is riveting. A hit book for sure!”
Patricia Bosworth
“Exciting and well-written, fast-paced yet containing a wealth of information, Furious Love is a fine read.”
Kate Walsh
“[Furious Love] is fascinating, heartbreaking, and romantic.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061562846
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/15/2010
Pages:
500
Sales rank:
1,151,518
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

What People are saying about this

Kate Walsh
“[Furious Love] is fascinating, heartbreaking, and romantic.”
Douglas Brinkley
“Long before there was Brangelina, the high-wire romance between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton rocked the world. In Furious Love, Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger provide dramatic historical insights into Hollywood’s stormiest, up-and-down relationship. Every page is riveting. A hit book for sure!”
Patricia Bosworth
“Exciting and well-written, fast-paced yet containing a wealth of information, Furious Love is a fine read.”

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