At “the office” (my internship) last week, I had to work on one of the so-called ancient Mac laptops, and after a few minutes of fiddling with it (in my case, getting it to turn on!), it kept telling me the day and time needed to be manually corrected. To my amusement, the date was showing as December 31, 1969. This is clearly well before Al Gore invented the Internet, so I adjusted the date and went on about my business. I couldn’t help thinking–as Carrie Bradshaw was all too fond of saying–that I have actually been living in 1969 for the last week or so. My new obsession is the complicated, ravenous, co-dependent relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton…Liz & Dick, as they were known in the tabloids during the 60s.

From the set of 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' (1965)

Burton is to the far right in this photo I procured off the Life.com archives. What’s funny to me is that Liz isn’t sitting in her own chair, but his! Most likely this was to show off her married name on the opposite chair, but it’s amusing nonetheless. So much has their relationship intrigued me that I used an Amazon.com credit which was burning a hole in my pocket to order the newest book on the pair, entitled Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century. I’ve also been muddling through 1963’s Cleopatra, which was apparently a more interesting exercise in filmmaking behind the scenes rather than in front of the camera. All this, of course, while knee-deep in my thesis class, my internship, and 40 hours of work per week. Perhaps this 60s distraction of decadence is just what the doctor ordered to keep me sane for the time being, but it’s working regardless.

The most interesting thing I’ve learned from the Burtons thus far in my recreational research is how distorted alcohol, pills, fame, and fortune can make one’s view of life. When you put two people with the same addictions together, it’s a wonder either of them is still alive to talk about it. The funny thing is that Dame Elizabeth doesn’t for the most part; she loaned some of her love letters to/from Richard to the authors of this latest book, but besides that she stays pretty mum about the  (greatest of 7) love(s) of her life who died in 1984 (right after starring in 1984, it should be noted). Truth be told, their relationship was beginning to fray by 12.31.69, but it made for a good blog title, and I like the above pic, so that’s that!

I’ll close–if anyone’s still reading this far–by sharing from Dame Elizabeth’s Twitter (that’s also her username on there). She has yet to comment on Eddie Fisher’s death, which surprises me a little bit, but I’ve reread her late Tweet sequence several times and enjoyed it. It should be read backwards (from 10 to 1) to read it chronologically:

  1. Every breath you take today should be with someone else in mind. I love you. 10:39 PM Jul 22nd via web
  2. Because then it becomes about yourself…which is wrong. Giving is to give to God. Helping is to help others. 10:39 PM Jul 22nd via web

  3. That is the thing that will give back to you all the rewards that there are. Don’t do it for yourself, because then it becomes selfish. 10:37 PM Jul 22nd via web

  4. Give. Remember always to give. That is the thing that will make you grow. 10:36 PM Jul 22nd via web

  5. You are who you are. All you can do in this world is help others to be who they are and better themselves and those around them. 10:35 PM Jul 22nd via web

  6. Never let yourself think beyond your means…mental, emotional or any otherwise. 10:33 PM Jul 22nd via web

  7. I would like to add something to my earlier tweet. Always keep love and humility in your heart. 10:31 PM Jul 22nd via web

  8. Not at least until I’m dead, and at the moment I’m having too much fun being alive…and I plan on staying that way. Happiness to all. 9:20 PM Jul 22nd via web

  9. No one is going to play Elizabeth Taylor, but Elizabeth Taylor herself. 9:19 PM Jul 22nd via web

  10. Hold your horses world. I’ve been hearing all kinds of rumours about someone being cast to play me in a film about Richard and myself. 9:17 PM Jul 22nd via web

Hope everyone’s having a great fall thus far. It’s finally feeling fall-ish in Atlanta, praise the Lord!


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