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Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK
Burton's watch returns to Wales
Richard Burton with wife Liz Taylor
The Burtons were Hollywood's most famous couple
A gold watch given by Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor to the late screen legend Richard Burton while they were filming the cinematic classic, Cleopatra, has been sold at auction in London.

A businessman born in south Wales where the Welsh actor - considered by many to be the best of his generation - was brought up, paid almost 10,000 for it at Christie's because he wanted to "bring it back to Wales".

The gold watch given to Welsh actor Richard Burton as a love token by Elizabeth Taylor
The watch is inscribed with "I love you" in Welsh

In recognition that the new love of her life was a first-language Welsh speaker, Taylor had the 18ct watch inscribed with the phrase, Wy'n dy garu di, the Welsh for "I love you".

The Hollywood couple went on to marry two years later in 1964, divorcing in 1974 and marrying again in 1975, before divorcing once more in 1976. Burton died of a brain haemorrhage in 1984 at the age of 58.

Christie's auctioned the watch on behalf of one of Richard Burton's personal assistants, who was given it by the Hollywood star. It was expected to reach about 5,000.

Elizabeth Taylor had already hit the headlines during the filming of Cleopatra when it was revealed she was being paid $1m for her role - the first star to command a seven figure fee.

Dame Elizabeth Taylor in her starring role as Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt
The glamour of her role was reflected in her gift

The 1963 film went on to become the most expensive ever made at the time but it remained in the headlines as much as for the off-screen romance between its lead stars as for the cost of production.

Taylor played the Queen of the Nile, Burton was the Roman rebel, Marc Anthony.

The film provided the perfect backdrop for their own developing romance, and Taylor captured this moment of Hollywood opulence, grandeur and romance with the gold automatic Patek Philippe wristwatch.

It has been bought by a businessman from Cwmbran who admits to being a life-long fan of the actor who was brought up in Port Talbot in the south Wales Valleys.

The man's wife is said to have approved of the 9, 635 purchase, even though she will not be able to wear it because it is a man's watch.

The buyer has said he loves the film Cleopatra and would like to meet Ms Taylor one day to discuss the watch.


Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

03 Dec 01 | Wales
24 Aug 01 | Wales
10 Apr 00 | Wales
09 Aug 00 | Entertainment
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