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

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

3.7 83
by Sam Kashner, Nancy Schoenberger
     
 

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From veteran entertainment reporter Sam Kashner and biographer Nancy Schoenberger comes the definitive account of the greatest Hollywood love story ever told—the romance of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Kashner has interviewed Elizabeth Taylor numerous times and is the only journalist given access to her extensive collection of personal letters and… See more details below

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Overview

From veteran entertainment reporter Sam Kashner and biographer Nancy Schoenberger comes the definitive account of the greatest Hollywood love story ever told—the romance of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Kashner has interviewed Elizabeth Taylor numerous times and is the only journalist given access to her extensive collection of personal letters and journals, and he and Schoenberger have also interviewed the Burton family at length, including Burton’s actress daughter Kate. This is truly an authorized and singularly informed biography of these two larger-than-life stars, and of their glamorous, volatile, and audacious relationship.

Editorial Reviews

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
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)
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.”
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...”
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.”
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...”
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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061996979
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/15/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
133,338
File size:
5 MB

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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