The Arty Semite

Not the Marriage of the Century

By Josh Tapper

  • Print
  • Share Share

As far as celebrity marriages go, perhaps none have been as tumultuous as the 12-year-long saga between Hollywood Golden Age starlet (and Jewish convert) Elizabeth Taylor and Welsh actor Richard Burton.

After beginning an illicit affair on the set of “Cleopatra,” Taylor and Burton were married in 1964 and called it quits in 1976, though they gave it another unsuccessful shot the next year.

Furious Love” (Harper), a joint biography of the two actors released in June, chronicles what the sub-headline calls the “marriage of the century.”

The Burtons, New York Times reviewer Ada Calhoun writes, made marriage “seem deranged and codependent…There’s a lesson here for couples: marriage doesn’t have to be a partnership of equals. It can be a bodice-ripping, booze-soaked, jewel-bedecked brawl that survives even death.”

As the Jewish Journal points out, the pair even fought over who was more Jewish. In the biography, authors Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger write:

Burton had referred to the Welsh as “the Jews of Britain,” a comment on their self-identity as the outsiders of the United Kingdom.

“You’re not Jewish at all,” he told Elizabeth in one of their very public fights. “If there’s any Jew in this family, it’s me!”

“I am Jewish,” she answered, “and you can f*ck off!”

Indeed, Taylor converted at age 27, a decision some argue was spurred by her marriage to Michael Todd (born Avrom Goldbogen).


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sam Kashner, Nancy Schoenberger, Richard Burton, Michael Todd, Elizabeth Taylor, Ada Calhoun

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • The Cossacks were a feature in every European Jewish kid's worst nightmare. Tuvia Tenenbom went looking for the real-life variety in Ukraine — but you won't believe what he found. http://forward.com/articles/202181/my-hunt-for-the-cossacks-in-ukraine/?
  • French Jews were stunned when an anti-Israel mob besieged a synagogue outside Paris. What happened next could be a historic turning point.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.