"I'm a reader, you know. I was corrupted by Faust. And William Shakespeare. And Marcel Proust. And Ernest Hemingway. But mostly I was corrupted by Dylan Thomas. Most people see me as a rake, womaniser, boozer and purchaser of large baubles. I'm all those things depending on the prism and the light. But mostly I'm a reader. Give me Agatha Christie for an hour and I'm happy as a clam. The house in Celigny some day will cave in under its own weight from the books. I hope I'm there when it does. One hundred and six years old. Investigating the newest thriller from John le Carré or a new play from Tennessee Williams."Richard Walter Jenkins, better known as Richard Burton (November 10, 1925 – August 5, 1984) was a Welsh actor. He was nominated for seven Academy Awards, but never won, making him one of the biggest losers in Oscar history (His old drinking buddy Peter O'Toole takes the gold with eight nominations). On stage, he played Arthur in the original production of Camelot.Burton was also famous for his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor. They met on the set of Cleopatra and engaged in an affair, which resulted him in leaving his first wife Sybil Williams, for Taylor. They married in 1964, divorced in 1974, remarried in 1975, and divorced again in 1976. After his marriage to Taylor ended twice, he later married twice more, to Suzy Hunt (1976-1982) and Sally Hay (1983-1984).His daughter Kate Burton is also an actress.In addition to his movie roles, he's also known for providing the voice for The Journalist in Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War of the WorldsOn August 5, 1984, after years of alcoholism, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 58.He ended at #96 in One Hundred Greatest Britons.
— Richard Burton
His film roles included:
- Marcellus Gallio in The Robe (1953)
- Jimmy Porter in Look Back In Anger (1959)
- Richard Campbell in The Longest Day (1962)
- Mark Antony in Cleopatra (1963)
- Thomas Becket in Becket (1964)
- Narrator in Zulu (1964)
- Alec Leamas in The Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1965)
- George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
- Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
- Maj. Jonathan Smith in Where Eagles Dare (1968)
- Henry VIII in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)
- Father Philip Lamont in Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
- Dr. Martin Dysart in Equus (1977)
- Col. Allen Faulkner in The Wild Geese (1978)
- O'Brien in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
- The Alcoholic
- Bookworm: As evidenced by the page quote, Burton was an utterly voracious reader; as well as having a whole library at home, he carried volumes of literature with him wherever he went and was able to recite huge chunks of Shakespeare purely from memory. This came in handy when playing historical characters: even for something like The Assassination of Trotsky, he spent over a year researching his character's life and background.
- The Casanova: Especially during his younger days.
- Large Ham
- Money, Dear Boy: The seven-time Oscar nominee, and most acclaimed Shakespearean actor of his era, also starred in the following movies: The Sand Pipers, Boom!, Staircase, Hammersmith is Out, The Assassination of Trotsky, Where Eagles Dare, Bluebeard, Exorcist II: The Heretic. Presumably money had something to do with his choice of films. On the other hand, Burton had a tendency to take even bad films seriously, with decidedly Narmy results.Burton: If you're going to make rubbish, be the best rubbish in it.
- Shakespearian Actors: Quite an accomplished one, though almost exclusively on stage. He only made two Shakespeare films: Hamlet (1964), essentially a recording of his Broadway performance in that role, and The Taming of the Shrew (1967) opposite Elizabeth Taylor.