17 Juicy Truths About Richard Burton

1. Establishing himself as a formidable Shakespearean actor in the 1950s, with a memorable performance of Hamlet in 1964, Burton was called “the natural successor to Olivier” by critic and dramaturg Kenneth Tynan.

2. Burton was nominated seven times for an Academy Award without ever winning.

3. He was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor.

4. In the mid-1960s Burton ascended into the ranks of the top box office stars,

5. Burton remains closely associated in the public consciousness with his second wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor.

6. Richard Burton was born Richard Walter Jenkins in the village of Pontrhydyfen, Neath Port Talbot, Wales.

7. He grew up in a working class, Welsh-speaking household, the 12th of 13 children. His father, also named 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.

8. Burton later claimed, by family telling, that “He looked very much like me …

9. That is, he was pockmarked, devious, and smiled a great deal when he was in trouble.

10. I was immensely proud of her … she felt all tragedies except her own”.

11. He started to smoke at the age of 8 and drink regularly at 12. :25–26

12. Inspired by his schoolmaster, Philip H. Burton, he excelled in school productions, his first being The Apple Cart. :47 Richard Jenkins displayed early-on an excellent speaking and singing voice, winning an Eisteddfod prize as a boy soprano.

13. He worked for the local wartime Co-operative committee, handing out supplies in exchange for coupons, but then considered other professions for his future, including boxing, religion and singing. :27

14. When he joined the Port Talbot Squadron of the Air Training Corps as a cadet, he re-encountered Burton, his former teacher, who was the commander.

15. He joined a youth drama group led by Leo Lloyd, a steel worker and avid amateur thespian, who taught him the fundamentals of acting.

16. Being older than most of the other boys, he was very attractive to some of the girls. :30–31 Philip Burton later said, “Richard was my son to all intents and purposes.

17. In 1943, at age 18, Richard Burton , was allowed into Exeter College, Oxford, for a special term of six months study, made possible because he was an air force cadet obligated to later military service.

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