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Overview for Richard Burton
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: Cast ... actor
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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.

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