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Elizabeth Taylor’s Documentary Director Shares She Previously Didn’t Understand ‘Paparazzi Insanity’ Of The Star’s Life; Calls Her ‘First Modern Celebrity’

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Nanette Burstein, the director who helmed the documentary Elizabeth Taylor: The Lost Tapes, recently recalled what life was like for the late star after her affair with co-star Richard Burton was discovered by the media. Burstein unearthed several interview tapes of Taylor from Hollywood’s heyday, leading to certain shocking revelations.

Nanette Burstein reflects on Elizabeth Taylor’s fame

While speaking to Page Six in an interview, the director revealed that in the aftermath of the affair, Tinsel Town’s greatest star at the time was reduced to being a homewrecker. “Just how much she was slut-shamed and the just the level of being the first modern celebrity,” she told the outlet. Such was the magnanimous stature of her fame that Burstein could not understand herself. 

Burton, a Welsh actor who starred against Taylor in the quintessential film Cleopatra, started a relationship with the latter in the early 60s, and the two went on to tie the knot in 1964. In one of the interviews featured in the documentary, Taylor confessed that their affair was met with opposition from those around her, with her father even calling her a “whore.” 

While the two decided to end their relationship, in Taylor’s words, she “couldn’t stop loving him.” Hence, they signed in as co-stars in the film The V.I.P. The affair was the talk of the town also because Taylor was still married to her fourth husband Eddie Fisher, while Burton was also a married man, with two daughters. The Pope weighed in on their relationship, with The Vatican Newspaper labeling it as a case of erotic vagrancy. 

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The duo stayed married until 1974. Their first nuptial ended that year, but they married again in 1975, which ultimately led to a divorce.

Elizabeth Taylor’s presentation in media

Taylor rose to be a sex symbol of the Golden Age of cinema, but she was apprehensive of the title, as Burstein notes. Journalists of the day solidified this image, constantly mentioning it in newspapers. “Certainly everyone made her feel that way,” she continued, mentioning that the star was annoyed as her prowess as an actor was never talked about. 

Other than Taylor’s big screen roles which shot her to fame, the documentary also talks about her life as an AIDS activist, her philanthropy, and more. Elizabeth Taylor: The Lost Tapes is set to premiere on August 3 on HBO.

ALSO READ: Luke Wilson Recalls Being Inspired By Reese Witherspoon To Work On Legally Blonde; Calls Himself Actress’ Fan



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