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Dr Graham Harper, University of Wales
"It regenerates an interest in Burton, perhaps among a younger audience"
 real 28k

Monday, 10 April, 2000, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Anger at claim Burton was gay
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in 1975.
Richard Burton's family has reacted with anger to allegations he was secretly gay.

The claims that the Welsh superstar had an affair with Sir Laurence Olivier are made in a new biography of Burton's former wife Elizabeth Taylor.

The book by controversial author Ellis Amburn claims Burton was a closet homosexual who also tried to seduce Taylor's husband at the time, Eddie Fisher.



If Rich was a homosexual, then I'm a nun

Burton's brother Graham Jenkins
But Burton's brother Graham Jenkins described the claims as ridiculous.

He said that nobody who knew Richard would give it any credence because his brother was "the most heterosexual man most people had ever encountered".

He said that Burton knew people in the film industry who were homosexual but he was not one himself.

"If Rich was a homosexual then I'm a nun," said Mr Jenkins.

Amburn's unauthorised biography - The Most Beautiful Woman in World - is due to be published next month.

The author has previously made similar claims about the sexuality of his other subjects - Janis Joplin, Jack Kerouac and Buddy Holly.

Dr Graham Harper, director of the Centre for Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Wales, Bangor, said he was not surprised the allegations have been made.

'Gay icon'

He said they reflected Burton's role as a film star and the fact his reputation was built on red-blooded heterosexuality.

It was unimportant whether the claims were true or not, he said.

"Arnold Schwarzenegger was viewed as a great macho figure but also was one of the 1980s most significant gay icons," said Dr Harper.

"That could work for Burton as well."

Dr Harper said he hoped the claims would at least help bring Burton to the attention of a new generation of film fans.

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