He’s as famous for his turbulent personal life as he is for his acting skills – a Hollywood icon who lives hard, drinks heavily and makes headlines.
But a much softer and more complete picture of Richard Burton is found in a great exhibition of his life that opens Cardiff National Museum on Saturday.
Becoming Richard Burton tells the remarkable story of how a boy of modest origin in South Wales became an international star of theater and screen.
Seeks to delve into the man behind the headlines. He was a world celebrity, but also a family man, a bibliophile who, despite his jet-set lifestyle, always felt part of Wales.
Sally Burton, the actor’s widow, said the “shorthand way” to remember her late husband was through his two marriages to Elizabeth Taylor and “his excesses.”
She accepted that visitors to the exhibition They are sure to be drawn to spectacular objects like the costumes he and Taylor wore in the 1963 epic Cleopatra.
The jacket he wore when he played Major Smith in the 1968 film Where Eagles Dare, which featured one of his most famous lines, “Broadsword calling Danny Boy,” is also on display.
But Burton said he hoped people would take the time to inspect the objects, many of which are seen in public for the first time, that tell the moving story of his childhood, especially his formative years in the Taibach area of Port. Talbot as a miner. son Richard Jenkins.
Burton’s childhood diary, for example, takes a look at a young man who spent playing rugby and Monopoly, and visiting the cinema, library, and chapel during World War II.
The newspaper is open on February 6, 1940 – “I started making a wooden tray … I had a good afternoon especially with Burton who spoke about Astronomy.”
“Burton” is Philip Burton, a talented English teacher who discovered young Richard’s acting talents and became his legal guardian. The wooden tray the teenager made that day was given to his beloved sister Cis.
Sally Burton said: “One of the interesting things about Richard is that he left Wales, rebuilding and recreating himself as the country rebuilt and recreated after the war.
“People were drawn to him. Sometimes he would say, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ I think this exhibition will allow us to explore some of those intriguing responses. “
The free exhibition is a partnership between National Museum of Wales Y Swansea University. Many of the items have been loaned to the museum by the Richard Burton Archives at Swansea University and for his widow.
To coincide with the physical spectacle, people unable to visit, and the coronavirus may make things difficult in the coming months, there will also be a digital exhibition on the museum’s website.
Amgueddfa Cymru CEO David Anderson said: “Richard Burton was and continues to be a national icon. This is the first exhibition to examine his life in its entirety and tell the story of how a young man from humble beginnings in South Wales became the most famous Welshman of our time, and serves as inspiration for how this wonderful country surpasses its weight. “
The expo was supposed to open earlier this year, but was postponed due to the coronavirus. It will run until April 11, 2021.
Anderson added: “Museums and galleries play a vital role in ensuring the well-being of our nation and I am proud that Amgueddfa Cymru was able to host this exhibition in the difficult circumstances that the pandemic continues to present to us.”
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