‘Where Eagles Dare’, starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood, airs on ITV 4 today. The World War 2 action film follows two members of an elite group of commandos who must infiltrate a Nazi stronghold to rescue an American officer. It was written as an original script for Richard by Alistair MacLean, who then expanded the idea into a bestselling novel. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were the most famous couple in the world after meeting on the set of Hollywood epic Cleopatra and embarking on an illicit affair that captured the world’s attention. She was still married to her fourth husband, Eddie Fisher, when she began her romance with co-star Richard, who was still married to his first wife Sybil Williams.
Their romance is believed to have started while they were filming the Cleopatra film in Italy in 1962, when Elizabeth was 26 and Richard was 36.
As explained in a report by Vanity Fair, Elizabeth’s husband at the time called his home to find Richard at the other end of the line.
Eddie asked: “What are you doing in my house?”
That’s when Richard replied: “What do you think I’m doing? I’m f****** your wife.”
After filming for Cleopatra was completed, both Richard and Elizabeth divorced their partners and then tied the knot in Canada in 1964.
They lived a luxurious married life together, travelling around the world and buying expensive jewellery.
Richard and Elizabeth also brought their professional lives closer together, collaborating for more films.
But Richard’s private diaries, which were published in 2012, revealed that by 1969 the marriage was becoming more toxic.
The writings revealed that they both consumed excessive amounts of alcohol, which led them to more and more explosive confrontations.
His entry for January 1969, published in The Richard Burton Diaries, read: “For the last month, with very few exceptions, Elizabeth has gone to bed not merely sozzled or tipsy but stoned.
“And I mean stoned: unfocused, unable to walk straight, talking in a slow, meaningless baby voice like a demented child. The boredom, unless I’m drunk, too, of being in the presence of someone to whom you have to repeat everything twice is like a physical pain in the stomach.
By 1972, both Richard and Elizabeth were said to have had numerous affairs and they ended their marriage in June 1974.
Less than a year later, they were back together again, and married a second time.
Richard later said of the reunion: “She wanted to get married again. I didn’t.
“But I married her again all the same. What Liz wants, she gets… I’d actually stopped drinking by then, so I should have been sober enough to know what I was doing, but I didn’t.”
However, after more fighting, they divorced a second time in 1976.
Richard was married two more times before his death in 1983.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth also went on to marry two more times, wedding John Warner in 1976, and Larry Fortensky in 1991, before divorcing him in 1996.
She died aged 79 in 2011.
Published at Sat, 16 Apr 2022 10:05:00 +0000