A tough Welshman, he was softened by the affections of a breathtakingly beautiful woman: she was a modern-day Cleopatra madly in love with her own Mark Antony.
For quarter of a century, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were the king and queen of Hollywood.
Yet their two marriages to each other represented much more than outlandish romance.
Together, Elizabeth and Richard were a fascinating embodiment of the mores and transgressions of their time and even luminaries like Jacqueline Kennedy looked to them as a barometer of the culture.
The enduring glamour, grandeur, drama and bravado embodied in the couple gave rise to the type of rabid gossip and wide-eyed adoration that are the staples of today's media.
Using brand-new research and interviews - including unique access to Taylor herself, the Burton family, and Taylor's extensive personal correspondence - this ultimate celebrity biography is the gripping real-life story of a fairy-tale couple whose lives were even grander and more outrageous than the epic films they made.