Richard Burton was born Richard Jenkins on November 10 th 1925 in Pontrhydfen, Wales. He came from a huge family of thirteen children, but still led a pretty normal and traditional childhood. Richard was unable to speak English through much of his childhood, but his high school drama coach, Philip Burton, took Richard under his wing and taught him everything, from basic manners to speaking English without a Welsh accent. It was in honor of this teacher that Richard later changed his name to Burton.
After studying on a year’s scholarship at Exeter College, Oxford, Burton went on to join the Royal Air Force in 1944. He was discharged three years later and went on to join a theatre company in London. He went on stage at the famous Globe Theatre on London in 1949 in ‘The Lady’s not for Burning’. He also got married that same year to Sybil Williams, a marriage from which he had two children.
The success of his Globe Theatre performance saw the production – and Richard – heads for New York’s Broadway in 1950. This seemed to kick start Richard’s career, and he had soon landed a role starring opposite Olivia De Havilland in ‘My Cousin Rachel’ which saw him receive an Oscar nomination. He continued to perform on stage for the next decade, and in 1960 landed a role opposite Elizabeth Taylor in ‘Cleopatra’.
This was the start of an on-off relationship that became world-famous. Burton divorced his wife in 1963 and the following year married Elizabeth, and from then on they went on to live lavishly – until 1974, when Burton’s alcoholism resulted in a divorce. In true Hollywood style, the following year they got back together and remarried. Two years later they divorced again, and Burton married model, Suzy Hunt.Burton starred in many movies over the years, many of which were with Elizabeth Taylor. Despite many Oscar nominations, he never managed to win an Oscar. Following a string of marriages, up and down relationships, a bunch of successful movies, Richard died on August 5 th 1984 in Geneva from Cerebral Hemorrhage.
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