Richard Burton life and biography

Richard Burton  picture, image, poster

Richard Burton biography

Date of birth : 1925-11-10
Date of death : 1984-08-05
Birthplace : Pontrhydyfen, Wales
Nationality : Welsh
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-12-14
Credited as : Actor, played Hamlet, married with Elizabeth Taylor

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Welsh actor Richard Burton, legend of American cinema, was nominated six times for the Academy Award for Best Actor but didn't win once. He was one of Hollywood's highest paying actors at one point and took roles in such classics as Cleopatra, The Robe and The Taming of the Shrew. His affair and two marriages to Elizabeth Taylor kept him in the media's spotlight for much of his life.

He was the 12th of 13 children born to a Welsh coal miner. He studied acting under Philip Burton, a schoolteacher who became his mentor and helped him obtain a scholarship to the University of Oxford. In gratitude to his benefactor, he assumed the professional name Burton. His first stage appearance was in 1943, but subsequent service as a Royal Air Force navigator delayed his career. In 1948 he resumed his stage performances and had his first role in a motion picture, The Last Days of Dolwyn. He scored his first real stage triumph in 1949 in Christopher Fry's The Lady's Not for Burning.

Burton's first Hollywood film role was in My Cousin Rachel (1952). Throughout the remainder of the 1950s he specialized in historical roles in motion pictures, including the leading role in the first wide-screen CinemaScope production, The Robe (1953). Burton rose to superstar status during the filming of Cleopatra (1963), when he and his American co-star Elizabeth Taylor became lovers.

Both of his highly publicized marriages to Taylor (1964–74, 1975–76) ended in divorce. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and The Taming of the Shrew (1967) are the best of the 11 films the couple made together. Burton's other important films include Becket and The Night of the Iguana (both 1964), The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965), The Comedians (1967), and Equus (1977).

Burton meanwhile continued to receive critical acclaim for his theatre performances. He acted in Shakespearean productions at London's Old Vic in 1953–56, and he gave a memorable performance of Hamlet in John Gielgud's long-running Broadway production of that play in 1964. Burton also played on Broadway in Jean Anouilh's Time Remembered (1957) and portrayed King Arthur in the Broadway musical Camelot in 1960 and 1980.

At the time of his death, Burton was preparing to film Wild Geese II, the sequel to The Wild Geese, which was eventually released in 1985. Burton was to reprise the role of Colonel Faulkner, while his friend Sir Laurence Olivier was cast as Rudolf Hess. After his death, Burton was replaced by Edward Fox, and the character changed to Faulkner's younger brother.

He was nominated six times for an Academy Award for Best Actor and once for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor – but he never won. From 1982, he and Becket co-star Peter O'Toole shared the record for the male actor with the most nominations (7) for a competitive acting Oscar without ever winning. In 2007, O'Toole was nominated for an eighth time (and subsequently lost), for Venus (however, O'Toole received an Academy Honorary Award in 2003).

In 1964, Burton wrote a semi-autobiographical book A Christmas Story, which is an endearing tale of a Christmas Eve in a Welsh mining village, during the Depression.

Burton died at age 58 from a brain haemorrhage on 5 August 1984 at his home in Céligny, Switzerland, and is buried there.

Stage productions:
-Measure for Measure (1944)
-Druid's Rest (1944)
-Castle Anna (1948)
-The Lady's Not for Burning (1949)
-The Lady's Not for Burning (1950)
-A Phoenix Too Frequent (1950)
-The Boy With A Cart (1950)
-Legend of Lovers (1951)
-The Tempest (1951)
-Henry V (1951)
-Henry IV (1951)
-Montserrat (1952)
-The Tempest (1953)
-King John (1953)
-Hamlet (1953)
-Coriolanus (1953)
-Hamlet (1953)
-Twelfth Night (1953)
-Henry V (1955)
-Othello (1956)
-Sea Wife (1957)
-Time Remembered (1957)
-Camelot (1960)
-Hamlet (1964)
-A Poetry Reading (1964)
-Doctor Faustus (1966)
-Equus (1970)
-Camelot (1980)
-Private Lives (1983)
-War of the Worlds (1978)

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