: [on Elizabeth Taylor] The most astonishingly self-contained, pulchritudinous, remote, removed, inaccessible woman I had ever seen.
Probably best-remembered for his turbulent personal life with Elizabeth Taylor (whom he married twice), Richard Burton was nonetheless also regarded as an often brilliant British actor of the post-WWII period.
Burton was born Richard Walter Jenkins into a Welsh speaking family. His father was a coal miner. The twelfth of thirteen children, his mother died while he was a toddler and his father later abandoned the family, leaving him to be raised by an elder sister, Cecilia.
An avid fan of Shakespeare, poetry and reading, he once said "home is where the books are". He received a scholarship to Oxford University to study acting and made his first stage appearance in 1944.
The late 1950s was an exciting and 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.
He also appeared with a cavalcade of international stars in the World War II magnum opus The Longest Day, and then onto arguably his most "notorious" role as that of Marc Antony opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the hugely expensive Cleopatra. 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