South West Wales

Richard Burton memorial call for Port Talbot

Richard Burton
Image caption The miner's son from Pontrhydyfen was the 12th of 13 children and at one time Britain's highest-paid actor

There are calls for a permanent memorial to the film legend Richard Burton to be located in Port Talbot.

Burton, who died in 1984 and was married five times - including twice to Elizabeth Taylor - was born in Pontrhydyfen in the Afan Valley.

South Wales West AM Peter Black said it was time the area became a destination that commemorated the Hollywood star's legacy.

It follows the launch of a new biography, And God Created Burton.

Liberal Democrat AM Mr Black said: "Burton's birthplace is Pontrhydyfen in the Afan Valley, a beautiful part of south Wales.

"It is already a tourist attraction and I believe a permanent exhibition either in Pontrydyfen or in Port Talbot itself would be a great attraction to Burton fans."

He said Swansea boasts a permanent exhibition on Thomas in the Dylan Thomas Centre, as well as a tourist destination at his home and there is also a museum in the boathouse in Laugharne, while Burton's birthplace does not even display an official blue plaque.

Permanent memorial

There is, however, a Welsh-language plaque close to his parents' grave at Pontrhydyfen, which calls him "seren Cymru a'r byd," or "star of Wales and the world".

His family has previously criticised the lack of recognition in Wales for the actor, who died in 1984.

"This needs to be rectified as soon as possible," said Mr Black.

"I have been told that the Burton family has a great deal of material that could be housed in a permanent museum or other memorial dedicated to him.

"The Burton memorial could be linked to a wider trail of memorials for other famous South Walians, Dylan Thomas included."

Mr Black says he will be lobbying Neath Port Talbot council and the new Welsh Government minister for heritage.

The new book is an 896-page biography by Tom Rubython, which runs to more than 300,000 words and is billed as the most detailed account yet of Burton's life.

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