New Delhi: "She's little Miss Mammary, great at two things: Getting ill and getting married. But I guess I've got to don my breast-plate once more to play opposite Miss Tits." That was Richard Burton in 1964, letting it off in typical flamboyant fashion as on of Cleopatra's two leading men.
The stormy Welshman's first celebrated words to the fabled beauty, as she swept into the sets, (With her entourage of eight) were, "You're much too fat, luv, but you do have a pretty little face". As everyone held their breath for her comeback slash-she laughed. Elizabeth Taylor was fully aware of Burton's reputation with women and knew only too well that titillating broad-sides were a part of his seduction technique. "I am one leading lady that Richard Burton will never get," she promised close friends and hubby Eddie Fisher. Everyone beamed.
Within a dramatically short time, both the promise and the beam, however, evaporated—thanks largely to Burton's persistent supper-cool charm, Taylor's fondness for the bottle and hubby Eddie's stance. Recalls insider, "Everytime the three of them met up, marathon boozing would commence. Eddie tried to take charge but every time he wanted to call halt and leave, Burton distracted him, while surreptitiously filling her glass. This soon became a routine. And Elizabeth started adoring both, the play and the man."
One thing led to another and very soon, the Burton-Taylor vibes exploded with Hollywood's most spectacular scandal, ever.
Three stormy marriages and divorces later (with separate marriages and affairs thrown in), Burton and Taylor came together again in 1982. No, Not at the altar, but on the sets on celebrated play ‘Private Plays’, about a divorced couple who meet again while honeymooning on later marriages. It was their first joint appearance on stage in sixteen years.
The last time was way back in 1966, in ‘Faustus’. Exclaimed Burton, dead on cue, "Ours in an endless love. I bred her in my bones. We may marry others, but we will always be drawn back to each other". Cooed Taylor, "I can't imagine life without him." Commented Coward, "They were like two violent acids bubbling about in nasty matrimonial bottles", adding what must rate as famous last words, "I think I wrote the play for you."
Is it any wonder that when Burton died on September 08, 1984, Liz, away form public gaze, sobbed her heart out at his graveside!