- - Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Previously unpublished extracts from the diary of iconic Welsh actor Richard Burton have revealed his “aching” love for screen siren Elizabeth Taylor, whom he married twice.

Passages from the journal, which will be published in full in October, expose a sensitive side to the notoriously hard-drinking actor, according to Agence France-Presse.

“She has turned me into a model man but not a prig, she is a wildly exciting lover-mistress, she is shy and witty, she is nobody’s fool,” he said of Taylor in extracts published on Tuesday.

“She is a brilliant actress … she can be arrogant and wilful, she is clement and loving.

“She is Sunday’s child, she can tolerate my impossibilities and my drunkenness, she is an ache in the stomach when I am away from her and she loves me. And I shall love her for ever.”

In another entry from November 1968 he describes Taylor as “beautiful beyond the dreams of pornography.”

The couple met on the set of “Cleopatra” in 1961 but their relationship finally broke down with their second divorce in 1976.

The diaries have been edited by Swansea University professor Christopher Williams, who was given the diaries by Burton’s widow, Sally.

“The words reveal somebody who is reflective and thoughtful and someone who engaged intellectually with the world around him,” Mr. Williams said. “It’s not just the ale-and-women kind of image.”

Cooper joins ‘Rock of Ages’to perform ‘School’s Out’

Shock rocker Alice Cooper made a surprise appearance as a guest performer at the “Rock of Ages” musical in London on Tuesday.

The 64-year-old joined the cast of the West End musical to perform his classic hit “School’s Out” — marking the anniversary of the track hitting No. 1 in the U.K. charts 40 years ago this week.

The audience members appeared delighted, shouting, dancing and singing along with him. Those who hope to catch him again will be disappointed, though. He said the appearance was a one-off.

As far as musicals go, “Rock of Ages” seemed a good fit for Mr. Cooper. The show, which recently was adapted for the big screen with Tom Cruise, is about an aspiring rock star and features classic rock hits from bands including Bon Jovi, Journey and Poison.

“The songs that they’re playing — everybody knows every word of every song,” Mr. Cooper noted in an interview with the Associated Press ahead of the show.

He also talked about how it felt to crash a musical.

“It’s different because it’s not my show so you do feel like a bit of an intruder, but at the same time it complements the show so much,” he said.

Mr. Cooper also reflected on the enduring popularity of “School’s Out,” which first became a success in London despite — or because of — calls to ban his group’s concerts due to their shocking theatrics inspired by horror movies.

“I knew it was going to be a hit,” Mr. Cooper said. But, he added: “I did not know it was going to have the longevity, it was going to be the national anthem.”

Aretha Franklin inducted into Gospel Hall of Fame

For one night, Aretha Franklin was the Queen of Gospel — not just Soul.

Miss Franklin has been inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame along with country and bluegrass star Ricky Skaggs, singer-songwriter Dallas Holm, family group the Hoppers, the late televangelist Rex Humbard and Christian rockers Love Song, the Associated Press reports.

Miss Franklin couldn’t attend the induction at Trinity Music City in Hendersonville, Tenn., but sent a video message played during the ceremony.

Long before she became the Queen of Soul, Miss Franklin learned to perform as a budding star in her father Rev. C.L. Franklin’s New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.

Christian stars Jaci Velasquez and Jason Crabb, who performed Mr. Skagg’s signature song “Somebody’s Prayin’,” hosted the event.

Kirk Douglas lauded at ‘Spartacus’ screening

Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas earned a standing ovation from a packed Los Angeles theater as he introduced a screening of the 1960 classic “Spartacus” that included a previously censored scene, Agence France-Presse reports.

“When you’re 95 years old, you don’t look forward. You look backwards, you take inventory,” Mr. Douglas said late Monday, as he sat on stage to talk about the film that immortalized him as a movie legend.

Mr. Douglas said “Spartacus” — a 21/2-hour epic about a slave rebellion in the Roman empire — challenged censorship during an era when Hollywood actors and screenwriters were blacklisted due to their alleged communist sympathies.

Mr. Douglas produced and starred in the movie, which won four Oscars. The film was directed by Stanley Kubrick and co-starred Laurence Olivier and Tony Curtis.

Mr. Douglas hired Dalton Trumbo, a blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter, who wrote the script under a pen name. Mr. Douglas, however, put Trumbo’s name in the film credits.

“You have no idea how terrible those years were when we had the blacklist,” said Mr. Douglas, speaking with difficulty in part due to a stroke that he suffered in the 1990s.

The complete “Spartacus,” which was restored in 1991, includes a homoerotic scene that censors cut out when the movie first screened.

In the scene, Olivier’s character, a wealthy Roman, comes to his slave — a young, half-naked Curtis — and asks him to enter the tub and help bathe him.

Mr. Douglas presented the restored version as part of the “Last 70mm Film Festival” series.

“I am very proud to be a member of the Hollywood community,” said Mr. Douglas, “because in Hollywood the staff are not Republicans or Democrats, you are amongst Americans.”

• Compiled from Web and wire reports.

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