Richard Burton and Adoption

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Studio publicity photo of Richard Burton for the film The Robe (1953).



Also known as Richard Walter Jenkins, Jr.

Welsh-American actor

Burton was born the 12th or youngest of 13 children in a poor mining family in South Wales. His mother died when he was quite young and he was then raised by his sister. Later he was fostered by his teacher, Philip Burton, who, although too close in age to the boy by a few days to adopt him, became his legal guardian and gave him his surname.

He grew up to become one of the most famous stage and film actors of the 20th century, but his life was saddened by several failed marriages (including two to Elizabeth Taylor) and drink problems. His films included My Cousin Rachel, The Robe, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Taming of the Shrew, Look Back in Anger, Night of the Iguana, Where Eagles Dare, Anthony and Cleopatra, Beckett, Anne of the Thousand Days, 1984 and Equus.


Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 Cottrell, John, and Cashin, Fergus. Richard Burton: Very Close Up. (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1972) Bragg, Melvin. Richard Burton: A Life. (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1988) Alpert, Hollis. Burton. (PaperJacks, 1986) Jenkins, Graham. Richard Burton, My Brother. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988) Who Was Who, 1981-1990 Macmillan International Film Encyclopedia. New edition, edited by Ephraim Katz. (London: Macmillan, 1994) Annunziata, Dianne. "Richard Burton: The Boy from Pontrhydyfen." [Includes portraits]. Available at: