Richard Burton

Richard Burton was born in Wood Ox - Yi Chou Year of the 60-year Cycle of the Chinese Zodiac

Richard Walter Jenkins was born in Talbot Wales November 25, 1925 the twelfth of thirteen children. Burton was only 2 when his mother died and he went to live with his sister and her family. In grammar school Burton proved his talent for English and Welsh literature and consuming interest in rugby. At the age of eight Burton took up smoking and drinking which may have led to his distinctive voice. Philip Burton, Richard?s schoolmaster gave him parts in school productions. Philip was unable to officially adopt Richard, and out of respect Richard took on Philips?s last name. Burton excelled at singing and acting early on and won an Eisteddfod prize a boy. Richard served in the RAF from 1944 to 1947 as a navigator. He then travelled to the UK to work in stage and cinema. He played Prof. Higgins in a YMCA production of Pygmalion and earned his first acting fees with radio parts. Burton carried around a bookbag filled with dictionaries, Shakespeare, and novels. He loved language. Burton?s acting ability, good looks and photogenic face plus his intelligence won him parts on the UK stage. He earned stardom as Prince Hal in Henry IV, Part 1. His awesome voice won him a place in British acting circles that included Anthony Quayle, Jon Gielgud, Michael Redgrave and Hugh Griffith. He successfully transitioned to Hollywood on the recommendation of Daphne du Maurier. He played In My Cousin Rachel next to Olivia de Havilland. Burton won his first Academy Award nomination for Desert Rats (1953). Burton?s acting career was overshadowed by his personal life. He married Elizabeth Taylor and they acted in Who?s? Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Cleopatra. They divorced remarried and divorced again. Burton married Suzy Mill and then Sally Hay. Burton drank heavily which caused health and career problems. He was banned from BBC productions for writing newspaper articles questioning Winston Churchill. Burton continued acting in movies and Broadway up until his death from a brain hemorrhage at the age of 58.
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