Richard Burton described Dame Maggie as dull, plain, and sexless
London: In private diaries to be published for the first time next month, Richard Burton condemned one of Britain’s greatest actresses, Dame Maggie Smith, as ‘dull’ and ‘plain’ – and complained that her performances had ‘turned him against sex’.
Burton had co-starred with Maggie in the 1963 film ‘The VIPs’.
In an entry dated August 3, 1969, Burton pondered why so many female stars of the era were so plain. He then wrote: “Vanessa Redgrave and Maggie Smith both tend to turn me against sex,” the Daily Mail reported.
He also criticised her Oscar-winning performance alongside her husband Robert Stephens in the 1969 film ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’.
“It is impossible to get over-excited about people like Robert Stephens and his wife. They are good but lack glamour,” the paper quoted him as writing.
“And I don’t mean glamour in the vulgar sense of the word. I saw both Stephens and Maggie Smith in the film of Jean Brodie and I thought they were the dullest couple I’ve ever seen in an important film,” he added.
Burton, who starred in Hollywood blockbusters such as ‘Cleopatra’ and ‘Where Eagles Dare’, also dismissed fellow actors of his generation.
He said Robert Redford was “disappointingly ordinary”, and described Sean Connery as looking “like a miner who had gone to seed”.
His diaries also detail his infatuation with Elizabeth Taylor, his co-star in 11 movies and the woman he would marry twice.
On October 20, 1968, he wrote: “My God she’s a beauty. Sometimes even now I look at her when she’s asleep at the first light of a grey dawn and wonder at her.”
The diaries – which were donated to Swansea University by his widow Sally Burton – will be published by Yale University Press on October 18.
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