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Taylor and Burton Greeted by Unruly Mob in Boston

Mar. 22, 1964 - Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, just married in Canada, waded into a rowdy reception in Boston today. Their arrival began with Keystone Cop overtones at Logan Airport and ended with the new Mrs. Burton near collapse after being swarmed by the waiting crowds outside the Sheraton-Park Hotel. Burton is in Boston to star in a production of “Hamlet,” which opens Tuesday at the Shubert Theater.

Five thousand spectators waited in the cold at the airport and the hotel to get a glimpse, but few saw them.

Shortly after the 3:30 p.m. arrival of the Hamlet company in a chartered plane from Montreal, the crowd broke through a door at the Trans Canada Airlines terminal and rushed out toward the plane. State troopers were caught unprepared with only about 10 against an emotional crowd of at least 3,500.

While customs agents tried to make clearance arrangements, the crowd swarmed about the aircraft. Airport officials hooked a tractor to the plane and hauled it half a mile to a vacant hangar, with most of the spectators in pursuit. A cordon of troopers and airport employees was stretched across the hangar opening.

Spectators raced around the hangar, trying doors. Some got inside, only to be chased out again. The hangar was finally locked, and the Burtons boarded a limousine and darted out a back driveway.

At the hotel, things got more boisterous.

With hotel manager Daniel Nyboe running interference, the Burtons stepped into the crowd and were shoved, tugged, and pulled. By the time they reached the elevator, Burton was in a rage and his wife near hysterics.

Press agent John Springer said Mrs. Burton required a doctor’s attention after the incident.

“She wrenched her back and arm,” he said, “and was almost in a state of collapse.”

Both Springer and Nyboe complained of inadequate police protection.

Springer said, “I’ve never seen such an uncontrolled reception. The Burtons wanted to say hello to their fans, but under these conditions it was impossible.”

Nyboe, who had been host to dozens of celebrities, said, “It was the worst thing I’ve been through in my life.”

“It is outrageous,” raged Mr. Burton. “We had crowds like this in Toronto, but the police gave us adequate protection.” He threatened to lodge a complaint tomorrow with Police Commissioner Edmund L. McNamara.


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