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The romance created such a sensation that the Vatican denounced their behavior as the “caprices of adult children.”

After Taylor divorced Fisher and Burton divorced his wife, they were married in 1964. Along with a daughter, the fiery relationship produced a surprisingly durable working partnership.

Over a decade, Taylor and Burton co-starred in “The VIPs,” “The Sandpiper,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” “The Comedians,” “Dr. Faustus,” “Boom!”, “Under Milk Wood,” and “Hammersmith is Out.”

They also starred in a 1973 TV movie, “Divorce His, Divorce Hers,” prophetically about the breakup of a marriage. Their own first marriage ended a year later.

But it was “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, released in 1966 when their marriage still was fairly fresh, that stands as the dramatic peak for Taylor and Burton and an eerie window into an explosive romance.

Based on Edward Albee’s play, the film stars Burton and Taylor as George and Martha, who nearly destroy each other over the course of a drunken evening of vicious role-playing and mind games with another couple.

“We fight a great deal,” Burton once said of his real life with Taylor, “and we watch the people around us who don’t quite know how to behave during these storms. We don’t fight when we are alone.”

Taylor was also known for real-life sauciness.

“She had a sense of humor that was so bawdy, even I was saying, `Really? That came out of your mouth?’” Whoopi Goldberg said on ABC’s “The View,” recalling how Taylor gave her advice about her own Hollywood career.

“She was just a magnificent woman. She was a great broad and a good friend,” Goldberg said.

After their second marriage ended, Taylor and Burton reunited professionally for a touring production of Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” in 1982. Burton died two years later. Taylor married Warner in 1976, and they divorced in 1982.

Two of Taylor’s early marriages, to Wilding and Todd, were to men 20 years older than she was. For her final marriage in 1991, Taylor wed a man 20 years younger, Larry Fortensky, a trucker and construction worker she met at the Betty Ford Center.

That wedding was a media circus at the ranch of her friend, Michael Jackson. It included the din of helicopter blades, a journalist who parachuted to a spot near the couple and a gossip columnist as official scribe.

By 1995, Taylor and Fortensky had separated. She divorced for the last time in 1997.

“I was taught by my parents that if you fall in love, if you want to have a love affair, you get married,” Taylor once said. “I guess I’m very old-fashioned.”

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