Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review-Furious Love

Months ago I read an excerpt in London's The Daily Mail from the new book Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century. It intrigued me and I put a hold on the book at my library. A few weeks ago the book arrived and I have been lost in it ever since. Written by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger the story of Elizabeth and Richard is thrilling, sexy and in the end a tragedy of excess.

There are not many original Hollywood icons still alive these days but the grandest one of all is still with us, Elizabeth Taylor. I still read occasional gossip clips about her usually involving an appearance at an AIDS related event or another tale of her imminent and tragic demise. Dame Elizabeth is even on Twitter and although she doesn't tweet often, I am indeed a loyal follower. I can only think of a handful of legendary people that I would like to meet, Elizabeth Taylor is on the top of my list.

Elizabeth and Richard first met briefly in the 1950's at a party. Years later they met again in January 1962 while starring in the epic movie Cleopatra. It was hate, lust and love almost immediately. Richard called her fat, she thought he was conceited and so their love story began. Elizabeth and Richard could simply not be kept apart. They began an affair during filming although each was already married (Elizabeth to her 4th husband Eddie Fisher and Richard to his wife Sybil), they would divorce in the 70's, marry again, divorce again and then finally be separated by Richard's early death in 1984. What they left behind is an unbelievable story that includes passion, heartbreaking love letters, jewels, art, children and legendary work on film.

I've read many celebrity biographies, some good, some bad. Furious Love is one of the best. The authors don't waste a lot of time on the lives of Elizabeth or Richard BEFORE they meet, but instead jump right into their life together. The scandal that was Elizabeth and Richard in the early 60's was bigger than any celebrity news in modern history. At one point they were so infamous the Vatican itself issued a statement on their immoral behavior. Their love affair single handedly created the modern day paparazzi and began the public's unending love affair for movie star scandals of epic proportions. Together Elizabeth and Richard created a dynasty of award winning films, collections of priceless art and legendary jewelry. They lived all over the world, financially supported hundreds of friends and family and burned through money like it grew on trees. It's estimated they spent hundreds of million of dollars during their life together. The lifestyle and love affair has no equal. Today's stars like Brad and Angelina aren't even in the same league.

This book is a great escape, a true account of a life and love most people only see in the movies. To know that 2 people actually lived, loved, fought, laughed and experienced what they did is hard to believe but delicious to read about.

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