29 November 2012 1:31 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Simon Callow on the booze, the money, the life with Liz …

One Sunday evening, in the winter of 1981-82, there was a celebration, at the Duke of York's Theatre in London, of the original radio production of Under Milk Wood. Various participants in that famous broadcast, including Richard Burton, the original narrator, were to read the play under the direction of its producer, Reggie Smith. The theatre was packed, with a largely Welsh audience.

Burton seemed to be enjoying himself, but it was not easy to hear him. He was glued to the book, seemingly in private communion with it. After the interval, the reading resumed. It was evident that Burton had liberally refreshed himself. Now he was not just inaudible but incoherent, with a tendency to slump. The reading lurched to its conclusion, after which the cast repaired to the Garrick Club for a celebratory supper. On the appearance of the first course, »

- Simon Callow

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