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Richard Burton * Mini Biography

Richard BurtonRichard Burton, CBE (10 November 1925 – 5 August 1984) was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award (without success) and was at one time the highest-paid actor in Hollywood. He remains closely associated in the public consciousness with his second wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor; the couple's turbulent relationship was rarely out of the news.

Richard Burton was born Richard Walter Jenkins in the village of Pontrhydyfen, Wales, UK, near Port Talbot. He grew up in a working-class, Welsh-speaking household, the twelfth of thirteen children. His father, Richard Walter Jenkins, was a short, robust coal miner, a “twelve-pints a-day man” who sometimes went off on drinking and gambling sprees for weeks. Burton later claimed, by family telling, that “He looked very much like me...That is, he was pockmarked, devious, and smiled a great deal when he was in trouble. He was, also, a man of extraordinary eloquence, tremendous passion, great violence.”

Burton showed a talent for English and Welsh literature at grammar school, and demonstrated an excellent memory, though his consuming interest was sports—rugby (in fact famous Welsh centre Bleddyn Williams said in his autobiography that Burton could have gone far as a player), cricket, and table tennis. He later said, “I would rather have played for Wales at Cardiff Arms Park than Hamlet at Old Vic”.

In the 1940s and early 1950s Burton worked on stage and in cinema in the United Kingdom. Before his war service with the Royal Air Force, he starred as Professor Higgins in a YMCA production of Pygmalion. He earned his first professional acting fees doing radio parts for the BBC.

In 1947, after his discharge from the RAF, Burton went to London to seek his fortune. He immediately signed up with a theatrical agency to make himself available for casting calls.  His first film was The Last Days of Dolwyn, set in a Welsh village about to be drowned to provide a reservoir. His reviews praised him for his “acting fire, manly bearing, and good looks.

In 1952, Burton successfully made the transition to a Hollywood star; on the recommendation of Daphne du Maurier, he was given the leading role in My Cousin Rachel opposite Olivia de Havilland. Burton arrived on the Hollywood scene at a time when the studios were struggling. Television's rise was drawing away viewers and the studios looked to new stars and new film technology to staunch the bleeding. 20th Century Fox negotiated with Korda to borrow him for this film and a further two at $50,000 a film. The film was a critical success. It established Burton as a Hollywood leading man and won him his first Academy Award nomination and the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actor.

After playing King Arthur in Camelot on Broadway for six months, Burton replaced Stephen Boyd as Mark Antony in the troubled production Cleopatra (1963). Twentieth Century-Fox's future appeared to hinge on what became the most expensive movie ever made up until then, reaching almost $40 million. The film proved to be the start of Burton's most successful period in Hollywood; he would remain among the top 10 box-office earners for the next four years. During the filming, Burton met and fell in love with Elizabeth Taylor, who was married to Eddie Fisher. The two would not be free to marry until 1965 when their respective divorces were complete.

Burton had an international box office hit with The Wild Geese (1978), an adventure tale about mercenaries in Africa. The film was a success in the UK and Europe but had only limited distribution in the U.S. owing that to the collapse of the studio that funded it.

He went back to appearing in critically reviled films like The Medusa Touch (1978), Circle of Two (1980), and Wagner (1983), a role he said he was born to play, after his success in Equus. His last film performance as O'Brien in the 1984 film adaptation of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four was critically acclaimed.

At the time of his death, Burton was preparing to film Wild Geese II (1985) in Berlin, the sequel to The Wild Geese (1978). Burton was to reprise the role of Colonel Faulkner, while his friend Sir Laurence Olivier was cast as Rudolf Hess. Burton was replaced by Edward Fox, and the character changed to Faulkner's younger brother.

Burton was notorious for his unrestrained pursuit of women while filming. Joan Collins wrote that when she rejected his on-set advances, he embarked on a series of liaisons with other women including an elderly black maid who, according to Collins, was "almost toothless." Collins playfully told Burton that she believed he would sleep with a snake if he had the chance, to which Burton is alleged to have replied "only if it was wearing a skirt, darling".

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Quotes from Richard Burton

A man that hoards up riches and enjoys them not, is like an ass that carries gold and eats thistles.

An actor is something less than a man, while an actress is something more than a woman.

False friendship, like the ivy, decays and ruins the walls it embraces; but true friendship gives new life and animation to the object it supports.

How strange are the tricks of memory, which, often hazy as a dream about the most important events of a man's life, religiously preserve the merest trifles.

I might run from her for a thousand years and she is still my baby child. Our love is so furious that we burn each other out.

I've done the most awful rubbish in order to have somewhere to go in the morning.

If you're going to make rubbish, be the best rubbish in it.

Indeed he knows not how to know who knows not also how to un-know.

Little islands are all large prisons: one cannot look at the sea without wishing for the wings of a swallow.

The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.

The Welsh are all actors. It's only the bad ones who become professional.

They lard their lean books with the fat of others work.

This diamond has so many carats it's almost a turnip.

Travelers are like poets. They are mostly an angry race.

When I played drunks I had to remain sober because I didn't know how to play them when I was drunk.

You may be as vicious about me as you please. You will only do me justice.

Courtesy of  Find other great Celebrity Quotes there too!

Cinema Credits

Richard Burton (I)  Hamlet; Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood (2001) (TV) .... Himself; Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (2001) (TV) Himself; "American Masters. 1980s - 1970s - 1960s - 1950s - Cached - Similar Richard Burton Film Collection. Richard Burton Film Collection (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf 2-Disc Special Edition / The Comedians / The Sandpiper / - Cached -


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