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The boy from Pontrydyfen
Written by: Yuchtar
Published: WED - Unofficial homepage
Date: Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Born 10 November 1925, in Pontrydyfen, Wales; he was the twelfth of 13 children born to Edith and Richard Walter Jenkins. Richard Walter Jenkins, Jr. was adopted by his teacher Philip Burton actually, as Philip Burton was 20 days short of being 21 years older than the boy he wanted to adopt, a full adoption was not legally possible, but Burton was made his ward and Richard's surname was legally changed.

As a RAF cadet, he gained admission to Exeter College, Oxford to take the "University Short Course" for six months before commissioning in the RAF. He left Oxford in 1944 - as one of 12 prize winning cadets - and was commissioned as a navigator - his inadequate eyesight having disqualified him from being a pilot.

His first professional acting job was with Welsh playwright Emlyn Williams (on stage just before going to Oxford and into the RAF - and in Williams' film version of The Last Days of Dolwyn after the war.) Everyone who knew him - at school as a youngster, at Oxford, in the RAF - all agree that there was something "bigger than life" about Richard Burton. When that aura came across on stage or on film, it could be electrifying.

He was nominated for seven Academy Awards, which may still be the record for the most nominations without a single win. Those nominations were for Best Supporting Actor for My Cousin Rachel (1952); and Best Actor for The Robe (1953), Beckett (1964), The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), Anne of the Thousand Days (1970), and Equus (1977). His scandalous affairs and his devil-may-care, independent attitude toward life caused his genuinely brilliant performances to be snubbed by the Academy. (In 1969, John Wayne came knocking on Burton's door - thrusting his Oscar for True Grit out, he told Burton "You should have this, not me.").

He died in 1984 from a brain hemorrhage in Switzerland (where he and his wife Sally made their home) just shortly after filming 1984, his last film.

Where Eagles Dare
Richard Burton felt his box office draw wasn,t what it could be, so, in an effort to boost his career - and influenced by the hugely successful film The Guns of Navarone, Burton asked Alistair MacLean, author of The Guns of Navarone, to write a WWII action adventure screenplay specifically for him. Six weeks later, the script for Where Eagles Dare was presented to Richard Burton. The film was a huge success in 1968, due partly to Burton,s ability to play the soldier (something he always carried off with great aplomb), and partly to the movie,s co-star, Clint Eastwood, who was America,s hottest new star at the time. And if this web site is any indication, the film remains a huge success today.

User Comments:

Peter Tattersall (2002-12-09)
My favourite fim by far. This website does the film the credit it deserves. I cant imagine how many times i have watched the film and still enjoy every single scen. Action, suspense and a great plot. Well done to all. Do you know of any Where Eagles Dare merchandise that can be purchased. Signed photos etc or memrobilia
Phil Cole (2004-06-01)
I have seen on ebay recently signed Ingrid Pitt photos, nothing else though
Schaffer (2006-11-23)
What a hero, hats off Richard Burton!
Our Top Agent (2008-03-05)
Coincidentally, Richard Burton and Alistair Maclean are both buried in the same small Swiss village, Celigny on Lake Geneva.
Darren (2009-06-02)
I have seen richard burton in two war movies raid on Rommell and wed and heard his voiceovers he has done, to me he is one of the best i would like to say this is a great website , and rip richard burton
Our Top Agent (2012-03-19)
Amazing! The Swiss even put a picture of Richard Burton on there 20 CHF (Swiss Franc) notes! Look carefully.
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