Moda Entertainment - Richard Burton Interview with daughter Kate Burton in June
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Uploaded on Apr 20, 2008
Moda Entertainment Presents Icons Radio Hour
Listen to the interview on www.iconsradio.com
Hosted by John Mulholland .
Probably more frequently remembered for his turbulent personal life and multiple marriages, however Richard Burton was truly one of the great UK actors of the post WW2 period. The young Richard Jenkins was the son of a Welsh coal miner, and he received a scholarship to Oxford University to study acting and made his first stage appearance in the early 1940s.
His first film appearances were in non-descript movies such as _Last Days Of Dolwyn, The (1949)_, Waterfront (1950) and _Green Grow the Rushes (1950)_. Then he started to get noticed by producers and audiences with his lead in My Cousin Rachel (1952) _Robe, The (1953) and _Alexander The Great (1956)_, added to this he was also spending considerable time in stage productions, both in the UK and USA, often to splendid reviews.
The late 1950s was an exciting & inventive time in UK cinema, often referred to as the "British New Wave", and Burton was right in the thick of things, and showcased a sensational performance in _Look Back In Anger (1959)_. He also appeared with a cavalcade of international stars in the WW2 magnum opus The Longest Day (1962), and then onto arguably his most "notorious" role as that of "Marc Antony" opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the hugely expensive Cleopatra (1963). This was, of course, the film that kick started their fiery and passionate romance (plus two marriages), and the two of them appeared in several productions over the next few years including _V.I.P.'s, The (1963)_, The Sandpiper (1965), the dynamic _Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)_ and The Taming of the Shrew (1967). However, Burton was often better when he was off on his own giving higher caliber performances, such as those in Becket (1964), the brilliant thriller _Spy Who Came In from the Cold, The (1965)_ and alongside Clint Eastwood in the actioner Where Eagles Dare (1968).
His audience appeal began to decline somewhat during the early 1970s as fans turned to younger, more virile male stars, however Burton was superb in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), he put on a reasonable show in Raid on Rommel (1971), was over the top in Bluebeard (1972), and wildly miscast in the ludicrous The Assassination of Trotsky (1972).
By 1975, quality male lead roles were definitely going to other stars, and Burton found himself appearing in some movies of dubious quality, just to pay the bills, including The Klansman (1974), Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) and The Medusa Touch (1977). However in 1978, he appeared with fellow UK acting icons Richard Harris and Roger Moore in The Wild Geese (1978) about mercenaries in South Africa, and whilst the film had a modest initial run, over the past twenty five years it has picked up quite a cult following!
His two last great performances were as the sinister "O'Brien" in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), and in the TV mini series _"Ellis Island" (1984)_. He passed away on August 5th, 1984 in Celigny, Switzerland from a cerebral hemorrhage.
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