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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Elizabeth Taylor has made public for the first time her love letters from Richard Burton, giving new insight into a passionate, playful but turbulent romance that spanned 20 years and two marriages.
But Taylor is keeping one letter private, according to Vanity Fair magazine in an article in its July edition.
It was written by Burton just days before his death in Switzerland in 1984 of a brain hemorrhage and reached the actress in California after she returned from his memorial service.
Burton wanted to come home to her, Vanity Fair said, after Taylor read the letter she keeps in her bedside drawer to the magazine's contributing editor Sam Kashner and to Nancy Schoenberger.
Taylor, 78, decided to share the bulk of the letters with Kashner and Schoenberger for their book "Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century".
Burton playfully calls Taylor "Twit Twaddle", addresses her as "My Lumps" and sometimes signed his letters "Husbs."
"If you leave me, I shall have to kill myself. There is no life without you," he wrote in one early letter.
"Richard was magnificent in every sense of the word," Taylor, the eight-times married actress, told Kashner and Schoenberger.
"And in everything he ever did.... He was the kindest, funniest, and most gentle father. All my kids worshiped him. Attentive, loving -- that was Richard -- from those first moments in Rome we were always madly and powerfully in love. We had more time but not enough," she said.
Taylor and Burton started a torrid affair in 1962 on the Rome set of the movie "Cleopatra" that shocked the media and was denounced by the Vatican as both were still married to other partners.
Their first marriage lasted from 1964-74 and they wed again in October 1975 before breaking up in July 1976.
"You are probably the best actress in the world, which, combined with your extraordinary beauty, makes you unique," Burton wrote in one of the newly-released letters.
"The fundamental and most vicious, swinish, murderous, and unchangeable fact is that we totally misunderstand each other...we operate on alien wavelengths. You are as distant as Venus -- planet, I mean -- and I am tone-deaf to the music of the spheres," he wrote in another.
In other letters, the Welsh-born actor confesses that he believes acting, for a man, is "sissified and faintly ridiculous" and talks of how he wished he had chosen the life of a writer.
The Taylor and Burton romance is the July cover story of Vanity Fair magazine and hits newsstands nationally on June 8. "Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century" is published by HarperCollins on June 15.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte