DEAD: Richard Burton

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Richard Burton (aged 58)
Welsh actor

Richard Burton, (born Richard Walter Jenkins Jr.; 10 November 1925 – 5 August 1984) was a Welsh actor. Noted for his mellifluous baritone voice, Burton established himself as a formidable Shakespearean actor in the 1950s, and he gave a memorable performance of Hamlet in 1964. He was called “the natural successor to Olivier” by critic and dramaturge Kenneth Tynan. An alcoholic, Burton’s failure to live up to those expectations disappointed critics and colleagues and fuelled his legend as a great thespian wastrel.

DEATH: Burton died at age 58 from a brain haemorrhage on 5 August 1984 at his home in Céligny, Geneva, Switzerland, where he was later buried. Although his death was sudden, his health had been declining for several years, and he suffered from constant and severe neck pain. As early as March 1970, he had been warned that his liver was enlarged, and he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and kidney disease in April 1981. Burton was buried with a copy of Dylan Thomas’ poems. He and Taylor had discussed being buried together; his widow Sally purchased the plot next to Burton’s and erected a large headstone across both, presumably to prevent Taylor from being buried there. Burton left an estate worth US$4.58 million. The bulk of his estate consisted of real estate, investments in three countries and works of art. The bulk of his estate was bequeathed to his widow.

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