Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 29 January 2015

Hollywood star for Richard Burton

The late Richard Burton is honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
The late Richard Burton is honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hollywood legend Richard Burton has been given a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, almost three decades after his death.

The Welsh actor's posthumous star was placed on the famous road on Friday - Wales' national St David's Day celebration - next to that of Elizabeth Taylor, the movie siren he married twice.

The ceremony was held as part of celebrations to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the epic film Cleopatra, in which the two stars shared the screen for the first time.

The unveiling was attended by the couple's adopted daughter Maria Burton and fellow Welsh actor Michael Sheen, who recalled his feelings when the glamorous couple visited the village where he grew up.

"The same beach that I built my boyhood sand castles and learned to flailingly swim, it was that same beach, that one legendary day, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor descended from the heavens, like gods from Olympus, in a helicopter ... and landed on those sands," Sheen told the BBC.

Speaking after the unveiling, Ms Burton said: "I am very proud and very touched by this. I look at the plaque and it brings tears to my eyes."

The unveiling of the star - the 2,491st plaque on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame - followed a campaign by the Western Mail, the national newspaper of Wales, led by Welsh business academic Professor Dylan Jones-Evans to secure recognition for the film great.

The relationship between Taylor and Burton began as they worked on Cleopatra, by which point Oxford-educated, coal miner's son Burton was best known as a distinguished Shakespearean stage actor.

They went on to become one of the world's most celebrated couples, starring together in nine further films, including The Taming Of The Shrew and Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?. Their first ten-year marriage ended in divorce in 1974, but they tied the knot once more the following year in Botswana but it lasted only until the following summer.

Burton died in 1984 aged 58, while Taylor died in 2011.

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