A Star for Dick

He dominated fan magazines for most of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, appeared in over 70 films, received seven Oscar nominations and, along with his famous off and on screen partner Elizabeth Taylor, was part of an unforgettable Hollywood romance. Richard Burton was both as a public figure, stage and movie actor a great icon.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor

Finally, after his death almost thirty years ago he will be honoured with one of Tinseltown’s biggest prizes, a star on ‘Hollywood’s Walk of Fame’. It is a success for Welsh newspaper, Western Mail, which fronted the campaign for the often undervalued actor to receive the star; to be located at 6,336 Hollywood Boulevard. It will be the 2,491 star on the famous Los Angeles strip.

The ceremony will be held on March 1 to coincide with the feast day of St David, known as the patron saint of Wales where Burton was born on November 10, 1925. Burton, although he left his homeland when he turned 18, in his early years lived in a traditional Welsh-speaking family as the twelfth of thirteen children. His acting career began in Britain in the 1940’s in mostly stage roles. At school and among other actors he became known for his love of Shakespeare and his ability to recite passages from any of the poet’s works.

After a short stint in the Royal Air Force during World War II, Burton began receiving film parts with his first movie being “The Last Days of Dolwyn” (1947). He continued appearing in several London stage productions and low-budget British films to good reviews until, in 1952, he decided to find fame and fortune in the movie hub of the world, Hollywood. The next decade brought several Academy Award nominations, countless films successes, including starring in “The Robe” (1953), “The V.I.P’s” (1963) and “Anne of a Thousand Days” (1969) and even more stage hits.

His latest achievement also acknowledges the famous, tumultuous and passion relationship he had with fellow actor, Elizabeth Taylor. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce made the decision to place the star next to the actor with whom Burton married twice, the first from 1964 to 1974 and secondly from 1975 to 1976. The year, 2013, is also significant as it is the 50th anniversary of the pair’s first film together, ‘Cleopatra’ (1963). The film is often accredited with bringing the couple together while both were married to other people, Taylor to actor Eddie Fisher and Burton to actor Sybil Williams. The pair appeared in over ten more productions together including the famous, ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ (1966) and the lively Shakespeare classic, ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ (1967).

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in 'The Taming of the Shrew' (1967)
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ (1967)

Also, the famous couples tempestuous appearance in Noel Coward’s society play, ‘Private Lives’ on the Boston Shubert theatre in April 1983 will be dramatised in a new production by the BBC. It is set to star Helena Bonham Carter as Taylor and Dominic West as Burton as they navigate their way through the problematic production filled with arguments, alcohol and mountains of tension.

The ceremony unveiling the star will be streamed on the ‘Walk of Fame’ website at 11:30am with Burton’s daughters, Kate and Maria Burton, accepting the honour and will be hosted by President of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Leron Gubler.

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  1. Taylor Ramsey

    Another winner, Emma! I have never given Burton much though before now. Of course I will have to now go back and watch some of the films, dammit! 🙂

  2. Great news for the friends and family of Mr. Burton and may his legacy stay with us.

  3. Sven Kilian

    Not too familiar with Burton’s movies, thanks for the read and a great addition to the walk!

  4. It is all about “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”…

  5. Burton and Taylor were married twice.

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