Richard Burton agrees with John Steinbeck

You may recall my earlier post (Feb 2012) relating John Steinbeck’s contention that authors should be read and not seen, and how often we find ourselves disappointed when the actual author of stories we love come nowhere close to what we have imagined.  Yesterday I stumbled on a 1980 interview by Dick Cavett with the elegant, achingly eloquent Welsh actor Richard Burton saying, “I wish novelists would not put their pictures on the back of books, because you read a book which is perhaps absolutely fascinating, and it’s shall we say one of these espionage books…and you read the book and you’re absolutely gripped by it and then there’s a picture of the chap on the back and he’s a febrile old man, bald as a banana, about seventy-five years old, and you know that it’s all kind of wishful thinking on his part and he’s pretending to be James Bond.”

I rest my case.

You’ll find the footage I mention around the 7:00 mark in the video. Before the mark he talks about meeting Greta Garbo, writing in a diary, writers being largely inarticulate people on the whole (which made me howl in recognition of myself) a hilarious story about Humphrey Bogart, and after watching I looked for the entire interview just to hear more of that incredible voice.

Video uploaded by BigCountryJASon on

Gotta love it.

~ by S.K. Epperson on August 2, 2012.

One Response to “Richard Burton agrees with John Steinbeck”

  1. Very interesting that Burton mentions “pretending to be James Bond” in light of the fact that Ian Fleming really did fashion Bond on his own self image and vice versa.

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