Thursday, February 14, 2013


It has been confirmed today by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce that Richard Burton will receive a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013 on Friday March 1st.

Burton’s star will be placed next to Elizabeth Taylor’s, honouring one of the most famous theatrical relationships and greatest love stories in history.

The ceremony is part of celebrations to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Cleopatra, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and starring Burton and Taylor in their first on-screen feature.

The Academy Award®-winning film was released by 20th Century Fox in 1963 and will be available on Blu-ray Disc for the first time in 2013 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Welsh business academic Professor Dylan Jones-Evans has led the campaign on behalf of the Western Mail, the national newspaper of Wales, to secure Richard Burton’s star.

“I am delighted that Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has agreed to partner with us to recognise one of Wales’ greatest ever actors with a star as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Cleopatra,” said Prof. Jones-Evans. “I am also sure all the people of Wales will be thrilled that he is receiving this accolade on the most special day for the Welsh nation, St David’s Day.”

“This public recognition for Richard Burton’s body of work will help not only help raise the profile of Wales internationally, but will also help to raise funds to provide scholarships in the legendary actor’s name to support young Welsh talent at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.”

Mary Daily, President of Worldwide Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, said: “Richard Burton remains one of the greatest actors of his generation whose iconic voice, rugged good looks and talent knew no bounds. From My Cousin Rachel, which cemented Burton as a Hollywood leading man, to The Robe and the Blockbuster Cleopatra, Burton is an integral part of the 20th Century Fox legacy and we look forward to celebrating his contribution to stage and film with the country of Wales and the rest of the world.”

“We are thrilled that the late, great actor Richard Burton will be honored with his star on the Walk of Fame. We are also happy to announce that his star will be next to the star of Elizabeth Taylor”, stated Leron Gubler, President/CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. “What makes this day even more special is that St. David, the patron saint of  Wales is also celebrated on the very date of Mr. Burton’s star ceremony,” added Gubler.

Hilary Boulding, Principal at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama said: “We’re pleased that Richard Burton will be recognised with a star on the Hollywood Boulevard. The College is also grateful for public support to establish scholarships in Burton's name for talented young actors. He was – and remains – one of Wales’ most famous sons. We’re proud to be the home of the Richard Burton Theatre, helping to inspire a new generation of actors.”

The extraordinary relationship between Taylor and Burton started when Burton joined Taylor in the film Cleopatra. Until that time, Oxford University educated Burton, the son of a Welsh coal miner, was better known as a distinguished Shakespearian stage actor.

Their subsequent marriage created headlines around the world. They went on to star together in nine other films, including The Taming of the Shrew, The V.I.P.s and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in which Taylor won her second Oscar® for best actress.  These two outstanding talents shared a passion throughout their lives.

Richard Burton CBE was a Welshman who was widely accepted as one of the greatest actors of his generation.

Born on November 10, 1925 as Richard Walter Jenkins in the mining village of Pontrhydyfen in Wales, he was the twelfth of thirteen children who grew up in a poor working class, Welsh-speaking household. Burton's mother died in childbirth in 1927 and her sister Cecilia brought him up in their Port Talbot house.

He displayed a talent for English and Welsh literature at school, though his main passion was sports. His schoolmaster, Philip Burton, became something of a mentor, encouraging him to take part in school stage productions. Philip Burton adopted Richard, who returned to school and worked hard to develop his acting potential. He starred as Henry Higgins in a YMCA production of Pygmalion.

In 1943, at the age of 18, he began a six-month term at Exeter College, Oxford, before serving as a navigator in the RAF between 1944 and 1947. After leaving the RAF in 1947 he moved to London to find work as an actor. He signed up with a theatrical agency, and his first professional roles were in radio plays for the BBC and in the film The Last Days of Dolwyn.            

During the 1950s his profile grew, with London and New York appearances in The Lady's Not For Burning, alongside John Gielgud and Claire Bloom. Burton also took minor roles in a number of British films. His performance as Prince Henry in a 1951 Stratford production of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 won him critical acclaim, and elevation into the circle of great British actors such as Olivier, Gielgud and Richardson.

In 1952, his Hollywood career began after he signed a five-year contract with director/producer Alexander Korda, which earned him £ 1 00 a week. 20th Century Fox then signed Burton for three films at $50,000 each - the first was My Cousin Rachel, for which he was given the lead role.  The film was a critical and commercial success, establishing Burton as a Hollywood leading man and gaining him an Academy Award® nomination and Golden Globe award.

In 1954, he took his best-known radio role, as the narrator in Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood, which he reprised in a film version 20 years later. A number of high profile film roles followed, including Alexander The Great (1956), for which he played the title role, and Look Back In Anger (1958). Burton's theatre career was running in tandem with his appearances on the silver screen. He played Coriolanus and Hamlet at the Old Vic in 1953 and received a Tony Award nomination for his Broadway performance in Time Remembered (1958), eventually winning a Tony for playing King Arthur in the 1960 musical Camelot. In 1964, he won a third award for reprising his role as Hamlet in a production directed by John Gielgud.

After Hamlet, he rarely appeared on stage, although he returned in 1976 to perform in Equus as psychiatrist Martin Dysart (a role he repeated in the 1977 film adaptation), and undertook theatre roles in a 1980 touring production of Camelot and a production of Noel Coward's Private Lives opposite his ex-wife Elizabeth Taylor in 1983.

In 1963, he took the role of Mark Antony in Cleopatra, acting opposite Elizabeth Taylor.  At the time it was the most expensive film ever made, with costs reaching almost $40 million. It was a huge success, and established Burton as one of Hollywood's top earners. Perhaps more significantly, it was on the set of Cleopatra that Burton and Taylor fell in love. Although they were both married to others at the time, their relationship was endlessly scrutinised and celebrated by the media.

The couple married on the March 15, 1964 in Montreal, Canada and a succession of film roles followed alongside Taylor including The Sandpiper (1965), Who's Afraid O/Virginia Woolf! (1966) and The Taming Of The Shrew (1967). The couple divorced in 1974, but remarried on October 10, 1975. The second union lasted less than a year.

During his lifetime, he was nominated seven times for an Academy Award®, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role (without ever winning), and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor.

In 2011, in the presence of the Burton and Taylor families, Burton’s daughter, Kate, opened the Richard Burton Theatre at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, in Cardiff, Wales helping extend his legacy to a new generation of actors and theatre practitioners. The resident theatre company of young actors was also renamed the Richard Burton Company in his honour.

On August 5, 1984, Burton died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Geneva, Switzerland at the age of 58. At his funeral four days later in Celigny, he was buried with a copy of the Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas.