Friday, November 7, 2014

Six-Degrees of WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Richard Burton Connection with Churchill, JFK and Michael Sheen of Masters of Sex


Richard Burton as Winston Churchill
There are many poignant, often tragic scenes in my book, ranging from family strife to the terrible costs of war. But one memorable light-hearted moment stands out: an evening in the mid-1950s when Prime Minister Winston Churchill attended a performance of Hamlet starring Richard Burton. At intermission, the actor was surprised to discover Churchill waiting for him in his dressing room. He hoped this national hero might praise his performance, but instead Churchill was motivated by nature’s demands. “My Lord Hamlet, may I use your lavatory?” the Nobel Prize winner beseeched. And without any shilly shally, he did. A few months after writing that chapter, I was surprised to read a story in the New York Times in which actor Michael Sheen repeated that same Burton-Churchill anecdote at a 2012 event honoring the actor’s memory. Sheen is the star of Masters of Sex, the Showtime series based on my biography of researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson. That humorous anecdote always reminds me of the ironic connection between my two most recent book projects. 
Richard Burton in Camelot,
Inspiring the Kennedy Legacy
Richard Burton in Hamlet

Winston Churchill in Cuba, A Master of Spying

Among those who once visited the Hotel Nacional in Havana was Winston Churchill, a subject of my last book WHEN LIONS ROAR. Today the hotel ...