Richard Burton is a Welsh stage actor who was among the highest revenue earning actors ever in the whole world in the mid-1960's and was nominated seven times for Academy Award (six times for lead role and once for supporting actor) but had never won. In the late 1960’s he became one of the top box office stars in Hollywood and people loved him for his baritone voice and natural acting skills.
Critics in Hollywood labeled him as successor to Laurence Olivier for the tradition of playing ‘Hamlet’; Burton (1954) had immortalized the character of 'Hamlet'. Later other actors Kenneth Branagh (1988), Jude Law (2009) were also the follower of Burton and Olivier. Due to his association with Shakespearean dramas in early 50’s, the critics found him as a successor of Kenneth Peacock Tynan who was a popular theater actor. But due to his drinking habits, the actor lost his caliber and disappointed the critics.
However, Richard Burton received in those days fees of $1 million plus eaten the royalty even. He is also known as the cult figure in Hollywood having married the beautiful actress
and the couple hogged the headlines for their turbulent affairs. Butron and Taylor formed the lovable pair in 1960’s. It is said Burton gifted Taylor the Krupp Diamond which she wore daily. His costly gifts like 50-carat La Peregrine Pearl and a pear-shaped diamond hogged the news headlines often.
It is said the couple divorced once (1974) after a decade-old relationship and even got re-married again and met with a second divorce. It is said Burton loved Taylor a lot and later became a drunkard. The off-screen couple Taylor-Burton’s classic films are ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf' (Taylor won an Academy Award) and ‘The Sandpiper’. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor had appeared together in ten theatrical films and one TV movie.
Some of the classic films include 'The V.I.P.s’ (1963), 'Cleopatra' (1963), 'Doctor Faustus' (1967), ‘The Comedians' (1967) and 'The Taming of the Shrew' (1967) etc. Richard Burton is one of the finest actors of his generation and became a superstar by starring in film ‘Robe’ (1953). He made his first debut in a Hollywood super hit film ‘
My Cousin Rachel
’, which gave him his first Academy Award nomination. In 1958, when Burton was cast in ‘Look Back in Anger’, he was just 33 years old and after his superlative performance, he became the ‘
Angry Young Man
’ of Hollywood.
In the year 1963, Burton was cast as Marc Anthony in ‘Cleopatra’ and he charged $250,000 for four months of shooting in the film. It became the highest revenue earning movie of 1963. But more than his performance, Hollywood started following the love story of Taylor-Burton which became the talk of the universe as they both started a love affair on the sets of their film ‘Cleopatra’. In the year 1964, Burton had one of his memorable performances in the movie ‘The Spy Who Came in From the Cold’ where he played the role of a British spy Alec Leamas and the film was directed by Martin Ritt.
Despite his good performance, he lost an Oscar Award to actor Lee Marvin’s dual roles in 'Cat Ballou'. In late 1970, his love–marriage with Taylor made him lead an extravagant lifestyle but his films were becoming a mediocre success. However, it was then 'Where Eagles Dare' (1968) had released, where he played a British officer and this film saved his career and he gained back his status of superstar again.
In mid-1970’s his career reached the lowest level, but his performance in ‘Equus’ (1977) where he played a role of an angry man whose married life is filled with sadness and this role fetched him the last Oscar nomination in his career. In 1984, he appeared in a movie ‘Nineeteen Eighty-Four’ which was a cult hit movie of Burton.
He is known for dating and marrying Welsh actress Sybil Christopher (1949-63), model and actress Suzy Miller (1976–1982) and Sally Burton. Sally Burton was the fourth and last wife of the actor. Richard Burton whom people loved for his acting and baritone voice had passed away 5 August 1984 for a brain hemorrhage. His love story with Elizabeth Taylor was made into a BBC TV movie 'Burton and Taylor' that spoke of their relationship.