Oh, for the love of Richard Burton! I don’t mean the jewels, the private planes and yachts that he showered onto his most public love, Elizabeth Taylor, but the sheer luminous lust of him, and the language! In his rollicking, brilliant “Diaries,” the Welsh-born actor (1925-84) wrote of Taylor, “E has become very slim and I can barely keep my hands off her. . . . She is at the moment among the most dishiest girls I’ve ever seen. The most. I mean dishiest.” Balancing desire with analysis is no mean feat, and what comes across in these journals, written between 1939 and 1983, is the actor’s ability to paint a scene as well as the psychology of its players. He adored the great Maureen Stapleton because, aside from her phenomenal understanding of human nature, she knew nothing about masturbation until it was almost too late, and he loathed Lucille Ball because she treated life like a pratfall, and her supporting players as shadows. An inveterate reader, Burton longed to write and probably regretted not fully realizing his dream, but he is a very fine writer indeed; this fabulous book is his real lodestone, his perfect legacy.
– November 19, 2012