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Richard Burton

Richard Burton

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Also Known As: Richard Walter Jenkins Jr. Died: August 5, 1984
Born: November 10, 1925 Cause of Death: cerebral hemorrhage
Birth Place: United Kingdom Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

As one of the foremost interpreters of William Shakespeare's plays, it seemed both appropriate and ironic that the life of actor Richard Burton would, at times, seem taken from one of the writer's tragedies. Born into poverty in Wales, he took solace in classic literature and drink while still a young man; he poured that restless energy onto the stage, where critics were quick to compare him to Laurence Olivier. That level of expectation gave Burton entry into Hollywood, where he netted numerous Oscar nominations for "My Cousin Rachel" (1949), "The Robe" (1953), "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1968) and "Equus" (1976), but created a level of expectation for his talents that was nearly impossible to withstand. Punishing alcohol abuse and a tempestuous relationship with actress Elizabeth Taylor helped to undermine his health and standing in the industry; at the time of his death in 1984, he was poised for a comeback that never happened. Burton's legacy was bittersweet - he left the world with a wealth of extraordinary performances, but also with the unavoidable truth that he was capable of so much more.

As one of the foremost interpreters of William Shakespeare's plays, it seemed both appropriate and ironic that the life of actor Richard Burton would, at times, seem taken from one of the writer's tragedies. Born into poverty in Wales, he took solace in classic literature and drink while still a young man; he poured that restless energy onto the stage, where critics were quick to compare him to Laurence Olivier. That level of expectation gave Burton entry into Hollywood, where he netted numerous Oscar nominations for "My Cousin Rachel" (1949), "The Robe" (1953), "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1968) and "Equus" (1976), but created a level of expectation for his talents that was nearly impossible to withstand. Punishing alcohol abuse and a tempestuous relationship with actress Elizabeth Taylor helped to undermine his health and standing in the industry; at the time of his death in 1984, he was poised for a comeback that never happened. Burton's legacy was bittersweet - he left the world with a wealth of extraordinary performances, but also with the unavoidable truth that he was capable of so much more.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Doctor Faustus (1968) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 1984 (1984) O'Brien
2.
 Circle of Two (1981) Ashley St Clair
3.
 Teil Steiner - Das Eiserne Kreuz 2 (1979) Sergeant Feldwebel Steiner
4.
 Lovespell (1979)
5.
 Wild Geese, The (1978) Colonel Allen Faulkner
6.
 Medusa Touch, The (1978) John Morlar
7.
 Absolution (1978) Father Goddard
8.
 Equus (1977) Martin Dysart
9.
 Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) Father Philip Lamont
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1948:
First British film role in "The Last Days of Dolwyn"
1952:
American film acting debut in "My Cousin Rachel"
1962:
First film with Elizabeth Taylor, "Cleopatra"

Education

University of Oxford: Oxford , England -

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Sybil Williams. Married on February 5, 1949; divorced on December 5, 1963.
companion:
Claire Bloom. Actor. Involved in 1953; in her memoirs she claims she lost her virginity to him.
wife:
Elizabeth Taylor. Married on March 16, 1964; divorced on June 26, 1974; remarried in October 1975; divorced in April 1976.
wife:
Susan Hunt. Married in August 1976; divorced in 1982.
wife:
Sally Hay. Married on July 3, 1983 until his death.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Philip Burton. Acting teacher. Adopted Burton as his legal ward c. 1943; died February 4, 1995, age 90.
sister:
Cissie Jenkins.
daughter:
Kate Burton. Actor. Mother, Sybil Williams.
daughter:
Jessica Burton. Mother, Sybil Williams.
daughter:
Maria Burton. Adopted with Elizabeth Taylor.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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