Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 15:35 UK

Taylor's 'bedside Burton photo'

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were married twice

Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor still sleeps with a photograph of her Welsh ex-husband Richard Burton by her bedside, his niece has claimed.

The home of eight-time married Dame Elizabeth, 77, in Bel Air, California, is adorned with his pictures, according to Sian Owen.

The actress twice married Burton, from Pontrhydyfen, near Port Talbot.

The actor is set to be honoured 25 years after his death at a Denbighshire film festival in October.

According to Ms Owen, he would talk for hours on the phone to Dame Elizabeth and that they were "soul mates".

Ms Owen said she saw the pictures of her uncle when visiting Dame Elizabeth last year.

"In the house in Bel Air I saw pictures of Uncle Rich everywhere and it's a picture of Uncle Rich that's by her bed still," she said.

Burton died at the age of 58 in 1984.

His first film, The Last Days Of Dolwyn, will be shown at the festival being held at Theatr Twm o'r Nant, in Denbigh, from 16 to 18 October.

It is 60 years since the release of the film, which was directed by and starred Emlyn Williams from Mostyn, Flintshire.

Burton went onto become a huge Hollywood star whose career included Cleopatra and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Both of those films also starred Elizabeth Taylor.

'Wonderful raconteur'

Ms Owen said: "There's a huge interest in him even 25 years after his death but he was more than a great actor.

"I was in his company a lot and he always held the floor, even at dinner parties with the likes of John Gielgud and Larry Olivier.

"There was something magnetic about him, he was a wonderful raconteur. He always took a true story and stretched it a little bit to make it a bit more interesting for people.

"I had a fantastic time with them, especially the Elizabeth years - it was great love story."

The couple first married in 1964. After nearly 10 years of marriage they divorced but remarried in August 1975. The second union lasted less than a year.



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