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Richard Burton exhibition: Star's journey from Port Talbot to Hollywood

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image copyrightNational Museum Wales
image captionBurton had "something quite extraordinary", said his widow Sally

The story of stage and screen icon Richard Burton is being told through a new exhibition in Cardiff.

Becoming Richard Burton follows the journey of Richard Jenkins from his humble beginnings in Port Talbot to a life of international stardom.

The free exhibition at the National Museum of Wales features Burton's diaries, papers and personal objects on public display for the first time.

The items were loaned by the Richard Burton Archives at Swansea University.

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The exhibition on Burton's life reveals the man behind the headlines - as a husband, father, reader, writer and passionate Welshman.

image copyrightNational Museum Wales
image captionBurton and Taylor had a famously tempestuous relationship

It also displays the costumes worn by Burton on stage in the Shakespearean performances that launched his career and later as a Hollywood star in Cleopatra, the film that sparked his tempestuous romance with co-star Elizabeth Taylor.

The actor's widow Sally Burton donated many of the objects to Swansea University in 2005, creating the Richard Burton Archive.

She said there was "something quite extraordinary" about her husband from an early age.

image copyrightNational Museum Wales
image captionFamily photographs give insight into the actor's personal life

"I think everyone who met him felt it. People were drawn to him. It was a magical quality which he also knew he had but he didn't quite know what it was," she said.

"One thing he did know was that he had to pursue it, knocking down barriers as he went.

"Sometimes he would say 'what is it about me?'.

"I believe this exhibition, and here I must thank everyone involved, will enable us to explore some of those intriguing answers."

image copyrightNational Museum Wales
image captionThe exhibition includes costumes worn by Burton in his Shakespearean performances

To coincide with the physical exhibition, there will also be a digital exhibition on the museum's website from mid-December.

Produced by Focus Group, a design and creative agency based in Cardiff and Edinburgh, the digital exhibition will be updated with key stories and items on a regular basis.

image copyrightNational Museum Wales
image captionThe exhibition includes objects donated by Sally Burton

Related Topics

  • Swansea University
  • Wales arts and media
  • Port Talbot
  • Cardiff

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