The never-before-seen letters that Elizabeth Taylor penned to her many loves are being released in the first authorized biography of the Hollywood icon.
“Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit and Glamour of an Icon” charts the actress’ legendary love life. From her brief first marriage to hotel heir Conrad Hilton Jr. at the age of 18 to her eighth and final marriage to a man 20 years her junior, construction worker Larry Fortunsky.
Among the men she wed in the 40 years between that first and last trip down the aisle were producer Mike Todd, actor and singer Eddie Fisher, and Senator John Warner.
The book confirms however what has long been known, that the great love of Taylor’s life was Richard Burton.
The book is on shelves now, and opens with the final love letter Taylor wrote to Burton, three years after his death.
In that letter, a heartbroken and unguarded Taylor pours out her heart to Taylor, writing:
“Richard, my always, forever love, this is really just for me, maybe you can hear and feel my
soul. I think you probably always can, I think you are aware of everything that goes
on in this odd brain of mine. It’s always filled with you, but, of course, sometimes more than
others. Right now, I am brimming with you, you so pervade my thoughts and my very inner
mood that it’s like you are in me. I have you, but holy God I don’t!“
The heavy toll that relationship took on Taylor is also discussed throughout the book, including the lengths photographers would go to in order to get a photo of the couple.
Some tried to break into her home while trusted colleagues with nefarious motives would hide recording devices in hopes of catching the two in a private, quiet moment, according to the book. One photographer even resorted to punching Taylor in the stomach to get a reaction, the book details
Taylor expressed regret for any pain she put Burton through in the seven-page letter, and also made it abundantly clear that he was the true love of her life.
“Oh God. Richard, I loved you so and I will love you for the rest of my life, just let me say it to
you and please hear my heart—I love you, I love you, I love you and I thank God for you.“
Taylor would often find herself thinking of Burton according to the book. In her final years, she even planted night-blooming jasmine near the bedroom of her Bel-Air home because the scent reminded her of a trip the two took to Mexico.
On one occasion, Taylor opened the doors to her terrace to breathe in the flowers’ fragrant aroma, and then quietly said: “I smelled Richard. It was like he was there.”
Click here to read an excerpt of “Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit and Glamour of an Icon,” by Kate Andersen Brower, on bookshelves now.