Best Known For
Richard Burton was a highly regarded Welsh actor of stage and screen. He earned seven Oscar nominations and was married twice to actress Elizabeth Taylor.
Elizabeth Taylor - Cleopatra (2:34)
Watch a short video about Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor to learn how this confrontational couple catapulted each other to fame and fortune through the ups and downs of their relationship.
After suffering a near fatal collapse while filming "Cleopatra," Elizabeth Taylor returned to the set and met actor Richard Burton.
As Elizabeth Taylor's relationship with Richard Burton progressed, so did her excess spending and drinking that would become the couple's reputation.
After meeting on the set of Cleopatra, the affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton quickly became the topic of every news headline.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Born on November 10, 1925, in Pontrhydfen, South Wales, Richard Burton went on to become an acclaimed actor of stage and screen. He earned seven Oscar nominations for work like The Robe, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Becket and Equus. He wed Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor in 1964, and the two maintained a volatile relationship for years to come that included remarriage and two divorces. Burton died in Céligny, Switzerland,
"I have been inordinately lucky all my life but the greatest luck of all has been Elizabeth. She has turned me into a model man but not a prig, she is a wildly exciting lover-mistress, she is shy and witty, she is nobody's fool."
"The only thing in life is language. Not love. Not anything else."
"You reach the top of the heap, but it's a circle, and you slip on the down side; maybe for years. You get scared."
on August 5, 1984.
The man who would become actor Richard Burton was born Richard Walter Jenkins on November 10, 1925 in Pontrhydfen, South Wales. Jenkins, the twelfth child of an impoverished coalminer, lost his mother when he was two years old. He would be taken under the wing of Philip Burton, a teacher who became the boy’s guardian and introduced him to the world of theater.
Jenkins took the Burton surname and made his London acting debut as a Welsh youngster in the play The Druid’s Rest. Burton earned a scholarship to attend Oxford University and later joined the British air force during war time.
After leaving the military in 1947, he continued his stage work and became known for his remarkable voice and oration, appearing in The Lady’s Not for Burning with Sir John Gielgud. Burton then made his film debut in 1949 with the production The Last Days of Dolwyn. The same year he wed actress Sybil Williams; the couple would eventually have two daughters.
Though met with varying degrees of commercial and critical regard over the course of his career, Burton went on to work in more than 40 films. He entered into a contract with Fox studios after Dolwyn, and starred in My Cousin Rachel (1952), for which he earned his first Academy Award nomination, in this case for supporting actor. The 1953 biblical story The Robe followed, for which he received an Oscar nod for best actor. He also had the title role in the epic Alexander the Great (1956) and the British protest film Look Back in Anger (1959).
Burton had continued his stage performances during this period as well, working with the Old Vic and Royal Shakespeare companies in Britain and earning acclaim for his work on Broadway in 1960’s Camelot.
In the early 1960s, Burton met actress Elizabeth Taylor on the set of the multimillion dollar epic Cleopatra (1963), for which he was hired to replace actor Stephen Boyd. Taylor said that Burton was recovering from a hangover. Because he was unable to steady his trembling hands, she held his coffee to his lips and their eyes locked. Though each was married at the time, the two embarked on a relationship that was met with scorn from traditional institutions that included the Vatican. The couple’s romantic tribulations and luxury-item escapades would be covered in tabloid news for years to come.
After Burton and Taylor divorced their respective spouses, the couple wed on March 15, 1964. They went on to work in 11 films together, including screen adaptations of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and The Taming of the Shrew (1967).
profile name: Richard Burton profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Hollywood's leading lady Elizabeth Taylor was married eight times—and two of them were to Richard Burton. The two fell in love on the set of the 1963 film Cleopatra, and though both were married at the time, by March 1964 they divorced their previous spouses and married each other. Their turbulent relationship kept them in the papers, and they divorced in 1974 and remarried in 1975, only to split again a year later.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton 2 people in this group
Famous Welsh People 16 people in this group
Marriage takes a lot of work—especially when you're two stars merging egos and assets, as well as your lives. For these particular famous couples, their fickle feelings and big personalities led to love, marriage, divorce, and then remarriage, all within a few short years.
Married Divorced Remarried 11 people in this group