29 April 2017

I was in that state where one does not remember

I must admit that I had never heard of Sophie Tucker, but apparently she was one of the most popular entertainers (a singer, actress and comedian) in the United States during the first half of the 20th century. Tucker was a good friend of fellow singer/actress Carol Channing, and in June 1964 she attended the premiere of Hello Dolly! on Broadway starring Channing in the leading role. After the premiere, there was a party with some of the day's biggest stars, among them Richard Burton and his then-wife Elizabeth Taylor. Burton was drinking heavily (he was known for his alcohol addiction) and after Tucker had sung a song in honour of her friend Carol, Burton stood up and slurred: "Ladies and gentlemen, up until now I thought my wife was in charge of butchering the English language, but I must admit I was wrong. Tonight I have witnessed the Empress of Butchery. Long live the Queen, Miss Sophie Tucker". [source

The next day, Tucker received a telegram from Burton apologising for his behaviour.


New York NY Jun 19 1964

Miss Sophie Tucker
730 Park Ave NYK

Dear Miss Tucker

My wife tells me I was rude to you last night. I was in that state where one does not remember but Elizabeth never lies and so my deepest apologies to you. I am a great admirer of yours and can only think that I was very very much under the weather. Sincerely.

Richard Burton

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