Richard & Philip: The Burtons: A Book of Memories

Philip Burton, Author, Elizabeth Taylor, Foreword by Peter Owen Publishers $28.95 (184p) ISBN 978-0-7206-0855-7
Actor Richard Burton, according to the author, was so generous to his 10 siblings and three divorced wives that to earn big money he starred in third-rate films. But the frustration of not performing in challenging roles, and of forsaking the theater, drove him to drink. Richard (Jenkins) Burton, who became the author's legal ward in Wales sometime around 1943 (dates are often vague in this fragmented memoir), is recalled lovingly by his mentor, who weaves into the story accounts of his own careers as a scriptwriter, acting coach, lecturer, director and occasional actor. Though there was a span of two angry years after Richard left his first wife Sybil to marry Elizabeth Taylor, adoptive father and son were rarely out of touch. When Richard died, in 1984 at the age of 59, the author was 80 and retired. Despite the show-biz glamour and star cast that add glitz to the backdrop here, readers will be disappointed that the lives of these two men are so romantically burnished as to render the telling little more than an exercise in nostalgia. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 04/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
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