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The Marriages of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

Passionate and Volatile Relationship

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Photo: Liaison / Stringer / Getty Images

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Switzerland on February 1, 1974.

Photo: Liaison / Stringer / Getty Images
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton had two volatile marriages to each other. These marriages are prime examples of how keeping a marriage together requires more than loving someone.

Born:

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor: February 27, 1932 in Hampstead, London, England.

Richard Burton aka Richard Walter Jenkins Jr: November 10, 1925 in Pontrhydyfen, South Wales.

Died:

Richard: At the age of 58, Richard Burton died from a cerebral hemorrhage on August 5, 1984. He was at home in Celigny, Switzerland at the time of his death.

Elizabeth: At the age of 79, Elizabeth Taylor died from congestive heart failure on March 23, 2011 in Los Angeles at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Her children were with her when she died.

How Richard and Elizabeth Met:

In 1961, while working on the movie Cleopatra, Elizabeth and Richard fell in love. They were both married to others at the time.

First Wedding Date:

Elizabeth and Richard were married on March 15, 1964 in Montreal, Canada by a Unitarian minister at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The wedding was just nine days after her marriage to Eddie Fisher ended. The best man was Jim Benton.
"The beaming bride, her hair braided with white Roman hyacinths, wore a gown of yellow chiffon designed by Irene Sharaff, who'd done her costumes for Cleopatra."
Source: William J. Mann. How to be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood. 2009. pg. 337.

Second Wedding Date:

The second marriage of Richard and Elizabeth took place on October 10, 1975 in the Chobe National Park in Kasane, Botswana, Africa. The officiant at their wedding was an African district Commissioner from the Tswana tribe.

Children:

Elizabeth and Richard adopted Maria, a girl from Germany in late 1964.

Divorces:

Richard and Elizabeth's first divorce was on June 26, 1974 in Saarinen, Switzerland. Their second divorce was on July 29, 1976.

What Went Wrong in the Taylor-Burton Marriage:

Reading between the lines of numeous news articles concerning their marriage problems, it appears that Richard's drinking and the combative nature of their volatile marriage were the main reasons the passionate marriages of Elizabeth and Richard ended.

Occupations:

Elizabeth: Actress, entrepreneur, humanitarian, AIDS activist.

Richard: Actor, director, producer, author.

Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton Marriage Timeline:

1963: Richard divorced Sybil Williams.
03/06/1964: Elizabeth divorced Eddie Fisher.
03/15/1964: First wedding.
1964: Adoption of daughter Maria.
1973: Elizabeth and Richard separated.
06/26/1974: First divorce.
10/10/1975: Second wedding.
02/23/1976: Separation announced.
07/29/1976: Second divorce in Haiti.

Other Marriages:

Richard:
  • Sally Hay: Richard met Sally on the set of Wagner where she was working as a freelance production assistant. Sally and Richard were married on July 3, 1983 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their marriage lasted just over a year and ended when Richard died in 1984.
  • Susan Hunt: Richard met Susan during theatre rehearsals for Equus. Their marriage lasted from August 21, 1976 until 1982 when it ended in divorce. Married in Arlington, Virginia?
  • Sybil Williams: Richard met Sybil in 1948 on the set of Dolwyn. The couple married on February 5, 1949. Sybil and Richard had two children, Kate Burton (born in 1957) and Jessica Burton (born in 1960). Their marriage ended in divorce on December 5, 1963.
Elizabeth:
Eight Marriages of Elizabeth Taylor
  • Nicky Hilton: 1950-1951.
  • Michael Wilding: 1952-1957.
  • Michael Todd: 1957-1958.
  • Eddie Fisher: 1959-1964.
  • Richard Burton: 1964-1974 and 1975-1976.
  • John Warner: 1976-1982.
  • Larry Fortensky: 1991-1996.

Marriage Quotes About the Marriage of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton:

Richard: "I just suddenly found myself with Elizabeth again. What the devil was I thinking of? She wanted to get married again. I didn't. But I married her again all the same. What Liz wants, she gets ... I found her irresistible, and in the end I found myself on one knee -- literally -- proposing to her. I'd actually stopped drinking by then, so I should have been sober enough to know what I was doing, but I didn't. So after she accepted, I got drunk ... I knew it was over before it had begun."
Source: Michael Munn. Richard Burton: Prince of Players. 2008. pg. 216.

Elizabeth: "Well, we got it all out on the set and we'd go home, have dinner with the children, play word games with them, and learn our lines after dinner, and go to sleep ... It was very cathartic, too, because we would get all our shouting and balling out on the set and go home and cuddle."
Soruce: Larry King Show. Interview With Elizabeth Taylor." Cnn.com. 5/30/2006.

Elizabeth: "I love Richard Burton with every fiber of my soul but we can't be together."
Source: Larissa Branin. LIZ: The Pictorial Biography of Elizabeth Taylor. 2000. pg. 70.

Richard describing his first sight of a 19-year-old Elizabeth Taylor: "She was so extraordinarily beautiful that I nearly laughed out loud. She ... [was] famine, fire, destruction and plague ... the only true begetter. Her breasts were apocalyptic, they would topple empires before they withered ... her body was a miracle of construction ... She was unquestionably gorgeous. She was lavish. She was a dark, unyielding largesse. She was, in short, too bloody much ... Those huge violet blue eyes... had an odd glint... Aeons passed, civilizations came and went while these cosmic headlights examined my flawed personality. Every pockmark on my face became a crater of the moon."
Source: Joann Ellison Rodgers. "Flirting Fascination." PsychologyToday.com. 1/01/1999.

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