Richard Burton

Richard Burton, CBE ( born November 10, 1925 in Pontrhydyfen, Wales; † August 5, 1984 in Geneva, Switzerland ), born Richard Walter Jenkins Jr., was a British actor. Burton, who emerged first as a Shakespearean actor, is considered one of the most important English-speaking stage actor. In addition, he starred in numerous films and achieved international stardom in the 1960s through his association with Elizabeth Taylor.


Childhood and youth

Burton's mother died when he was two years old. He was one of 13 children. Of the father's life was marked by alcoholism. The large family lived in poverty, and even after the death of the mother of the struggle against the general poverty, he lived determining. 1927, after the death of his mother, Burton came to his sister Cecilia ( " cis " ), who raised him.

Acting career

Despite the poor conditions he fought his way because of his talent a name in the acting profession. He studied at Oxford, played in student theater and finally stood on stage at the Old Vic. He was considered an excellent actor for Shakespeare plays. From his language teacher Philip Burton he took the family name. At age 19 he made ​​his debut in London's West End. In 1949 he made ​​his breakthrough at the Globe Theatre with the play The Lady 's not for Burning by Christopher Fry in a production directed by Sir John Gielgud.

In 1952 he played with Olivia de Havilland in his first Hollywood film My Cousin Rachel, which earned him an Oscar nomination. After successful films followed such as The Robe and look back in anger. While he was in the musical Camelot was in 1960 on the side of Julie Andrews on stage, he was for the epic film Cleopatra committed, in which he met Elizabeth Taylor.

From then on, Burton was because of its checkered and embossed scandal related to its two-time wife Elizabeth Taylor in the public eye. Because of them, he divorced his first wife Sybil Williams after 14 years. The film Who 's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? of 1966, as well as many other films in which the pair appeared together, viewed by the public as a projection of her married life.

The couple Taylor -Burton was in the 1960s the highest-paid actor couple in the industry. Your earnings were estimated to be together about 50 million U.S. dollars. A large part of their success owed ​​cash these films the curiosity of the public who wanted to see the couple that was ubiquitous in the popular press in the 1960s, on the screen together, even though many of these films was coming no great importance in artistic terms. As Burton's best performances this time his role representations are in three films, in each case without the participation of Taylor: Becket (1964 ), The Night of the Iguana (1964) and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965).

For the film version of The Fifth Offensive ( 1972), which reconstructs the Battle of the Sutjeska, was committed at that time unusual for an Eastern European film production, with Burton a western peak performer. During the filming, there was also an encounter between Burton and Tito, which is also the reputation of the drinking capacity was ahead. Burton continued to play well as theater, his success in the cinema was in the 1970s, but after. In the course of this decade, Burton came increasingly in films that were aligned emphasizes commercially and earned him high salaries. 1980 saw Camelot with him in the title role of his recovery, in 1983, he was the last time together with Elizabeth Taylor in the theater comedy Private Lives by Noël Coward on stage.

Burton was seven times nominated for an Oscar without ever having to get a. Only Peter O'Toole received more nominations ( eight in total), also without winning the award. In 1968, Burton in Germany a Bambi, the authors of the book The Golden Turkey Awards, however, awarded him the prize Worst Actor of all time.

Burton has worked throughout his career in almost 70 feature films, including Who 's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Exorcist II - The Heretic, Steiner - Cross of Iron II and The Wild Geese. 1978 Burton borrowed the journalist in Jeff Wayne 's Musical Version of the War of the Worlds his voice, which leads as moderating narrator through the story - a voice, which he filled out like no other. For this reason, in 2006 his image was digitally rejuvenated and inserted via hologram in the live show.

His last film was in 1984, based on the novel by George Orwell. Shortly after completion of filming he suffered at his home in Céligny a cerebral hemorrhage, in which he died. His involvement in the film Wild Geese 2 did not come off, so Edward Fox took over Burton's role.

Burton was synchronized with a few exceptions by Holger Hagen.


From his first marriage with the Welsh Sybil Williams Burton comes daughter Kate Burton, the actress was also.

After the marriage with Elizabeth Taylor (1964-1974 and 1975-1976) he was married from 1976 to 1982 with Susan Hunt, the former wife of Formula 1 racing driver James Hunt, who helped make it significantly restricted his consumption of alcohol. Burton's fourth and last wife was the press agent Sally Hay, whom he had met during the filming of the television series Wagner on the life story of the composer Richard Wagner, and with whom he lived until his death.

On 13 June 1970 he was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Burton died in Geneva of a cerebral hemorrhage. His grave is located in the " Old Cemetery " of Celigny in the Canton of Geneva.