I recently started following Richard Burton on Twitter. I know what you’re going to say: Richard Burton is super dead. I know that, but he’s alive on Twitter. Think of it as a Schrodinger’s Welsh Actor situation, if you will. I know what you’re going to say: That doesn’t make any sense and you clearly don’t understand physics. I know that, but hear me out! The account @Burtondiaries tweets an excerpt daily from the late actor’s diaries and it is amazing.
At turns tempestuous, bitchy, self-deprecating, vulnerable and boorish; through these entries we learn all about Richard’s likes (playing Monopoly, Marlon Brando, The Swiss Alps), dislikes (theater critics, Christmas, sobriety) and his passions (Elizabeth, books, rugby). It’s full of fascinating ruminations on Hollywood, fame, failure, love and art. We also get a peek into his tumultuous relationship with the love of his life, Elizabeth Taylor, for whom he had several endearing nicknames including “lumpy” and “little clown”.
Here’s a sampling of my favorite tweets.
On impractical gifts:
Nov 17 69 Prince Rainer and Grace are coming to lunch today and Rainer is bringing either a tiger or a panther as a present for E. That's all I need. What the hell are we going to do with a PANTHER or a TIGER?— Richard Burton (@BurtonDiaries) November 17, 2017
On Elizabeth’s nocturnal activities:
Apr 11 69 Last night as I lay reading in bed and E was around the corner of the room I asked 'What are you doing lumpy? She said like a little girl and quite seriously 'Playing with my jewels.'— Richard Burton (@BurtonDiaries) April 11, 2018
Mar 16 83 ET one hour late today. Two veganin stuck in her throat and in trying to shift them (with Fernet Branca) she vomited. On the white wine today. Bought me a quite unnecessary Cartier scarf 'Le Must' Rehearsals with her very hard work. Stick it out Rich.— Richard Burton (@BurtonDiaries) March 16, 2018
Feb 18 83 Did not drink at all.— Richard Burton (@BurtonDiaries) February 18, 2018
On cosmetic surgery:
Feb 14 72 I don't think that I will get a face lift like that abject Rod Steiger who not only admits to it but it makes him look like one half of a naked ass-hole. In addition he says he can't get any jobs. It might be because people don't want to be looking at a talking ass-hole— Richard Burton (@BurtonDiaries) February 14, 2018
Mar 20 69 Another long silence in this pathetic journal occasioned by acute unhappiness added to stupendous quantities of guilt, alcohol, laziness, fear for E's health, stirred up well with a pinch or two of Celtic pessimism and served as a first class recipe for suicide.— Richard Burton (@BurtonDiaries) March 20, 2018
The book The Richard Burton Diaries is available for purchase but I think I prefer getting my daily dose of Richard the new fangled way, on Twitter.