Thespian Richard Burton reveals he hated acting and describes his wife Elizabeth Taylor as a "stupid maniac" in new unpublished letters.

The letters, written by Burton in the 1970s - before his death from a brain haemorrhage in 1984 - are to be sold at London auction house BONHAMS next month (JUL04).

In one he writes to Taylor, "I violently dislike acting. 'Acting' is a feminine purchase and I was born in the wrong end of the valley of despair. I am a man!"

And in another, to actor pal Henry Fonda, he slams Taylor for agreeing to star in a film, just to satisfy her hunger for fame: "Once upon a time I did a film with E simply for the money. No longer do I have to do that.

"E's singular acceptance of this film is because she wants to remain a famous film star.

"What the stupid (occasional) maniac doesn't realise is that she is already immortalised (as a film person) for ever.

"I sit here vulgarised by the idea that my wife is doing - violently against my 'taste' - a f****ing lousy bl**dy film."

Bonhams spokesman STEPHEN MAYCOCK says of the letters,"It is one of the word's most highly paid actors being totally and brutally honest about his chosen career. He felt squirmingly embarrassed by the business."

25/06/2004 14:03