Wales Celebrates Its Favorite Son: “The Richard Burton Diaries” Published by Yale University Press Available In Bookstores and Online
NEW YORK, Oct. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Welsh screen icon Richard Burton would have turned 87 on November 10(th). It’s hard to imagine that vital, carousing, temperamental soul in mellow old age. Harder still to imagine the world-acclaimed actor as a family man worrying about his daughter’s wounded heart, as a thoughtful and voracious reader of all manner of subjects, and as an insecure man with ‘self-esteem issues,’ who, nonetheless, could paint vividly mocking pictures of several hallowed contemporary thespians whose work he found wanting. But “The Richard Burton Dairies,” soon-to-be published by the Yale University Press (www.yalebooks.com), reveal that and much more about the man behind the legend.
Liz Smith calls them “Fun, fascinating and sad.” Publishers Weekly named the book an “Indie Sleeper.”
Welsh historian Chris Williams, took on the 2-year editing project alongside his responsibilities as a professor of Welsh history at Swansea University in South Wales. Williams says, “…many readers will be surprised how interested he was in books and in scholarship. … current and world affairs which extended to the question of the environment.” “… he had an enormous appetite for learning – a restlessness almost.”
Burton was known later in life for being an Oscar-nominated actor, as notorious for his marriages to the dazzling Elizabeth Taylor as for his acting talent, rugged good looks and mellifluous speaking voice. These diaries echo with details of their tempestuous, torturous and yet tender relationship.
He hobnobbed with artists, politicos and the Hollywood elite, but Burton’s beginnings were far humbler. He was a miner’s son, born Richard Jenkins, in the tiny village of Pontrhydyfen in Wales on November 10, 1925. This twelve-pound bouncing baby boy was born in the same modest home as his father and shared it with his eleven siblings and their parents for the first 2 years of his life.
His keen mind and acting potential were recognized by his teacher Phillip Burton who became young Richard’s mentor, friend, surrogate father and, ultimately, his guardian. The legal guardianship took effect in December 1943 … and so Richard Burton was born.
Complementing the Yale University Press publication of ‘The Richard Burton Diaries’ is the airing, on November 25, of the Lifetime TV movie, “Liz and Dick,” starring Lindsay Lohan and Grant Bowler, scripted by Welsh director Chris Monger.
In addition, Burton has been honored by a Wales-based initiative: the 3-mile Richard Burton Trail surrounded by the serene Welsh beauty of the Afan Forest Park, highlights the area in which he was born; a second trail is due to open in nearby Port Talbot, where he was raised, in November 2012. The official website, www.visitnpt.co.uk/richardburton features interviews with his friends and family who share their memories of Burton, as well as a downloadable Trail map and guide.
The Welsh Government is the devolved administration responsible for governing Wales in the UK. The Welsh Government’s US office is in New York where a small but dedicated team is raising the profile of Wales in the USA in order to stimulate trade and investment, tourism, and academic and cultural links between Wales and America.
Notes to Editors:
1) Neath Port Talbot – www.npt.gov.uk/
a. There must be something in the water! In addition to Burton, actors Anthony Hopkins, Michael Sheen and Richard Griffiths all have roots in this tiny place of about 46,000.
b. Neath Port Talbot has been chosen as the location for the new TV series, Da Vinci’s Demons, beating out Canada, New Zealand and Ireland to host the project. Its iconic Margam Castle will be transformed into the “Medici Palace.” Script writer David S. Goyer (of “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Blade” fame) says that “America does not have castles period. Swansea Bay has them everywhere.” …
c. … In fact Wales has 641 … more castles per capita than any other country.
2) Swansea University – www.swansea.ac.uk
a. Boasts the Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Wales, an interdisciplinary research forum. It is part of the Research Institute for the Arts and Humanities, which also features work on the Swansea poet, Dylan Thomas;
b. Houses Richard Burton’s personal papers (which were given to Swansea U. by his widow, Sally) in the Richard Burton Archive, which was opened in April 2010;
c. Has just secured £60 million funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) towards an expansion program for its Welsh campus. The development will include the construction of a new Science and Innovation Campus and the regeneration of the University’s Singleton Park Campus. The development is expected to act as a catalyst for what is expected to be the largest knowledge economy project in the UK and one of the top five in Europe.
3) Richard Burton Theatre – www.rwcmd.ac.uk/other/news/headlines/greatest_welsh_actor.aspx
Located at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Wales’s capital city, Cardiff, is a most fitting memorial to one of Wales’s most famous acting sons. The 160-seat theatre opened with a tribute to Burton in June 2011.
Media Contact: Bob Titley
The Robert Titley Consultancy
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SOURCE Welsh Government