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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 August, 2004, 06:16 GMT 07:16 UK
Burton tribute may tour UK
Richard Burton (Photo courtesy St David's Hall, Cardiff)
The black and white stills of Burton have rarely been shown in public
The widow of late Welsh screen legend Richard Burton is hoping a tribute marking the 20th anniversary of his death will tour Britain.

A new generation of fans, many too young to have seen him on stage or at the cinema, have flocked to view an exhibition on show in Cardiff.

Sally Burton is moved and surprised by the interest it has created.

Now she hopes other cities will host the tribute to her late husband who died on 5 August, 1984, aged 58.

The cheap shot is that he sold out and went to Hollywood, but when you see the exhibition you realise just how much work he did, particularly in the early years
Sally Burton

She is also discussing plans to release many of his private papers into the care of an institution in Wales.

A rare collection of black and white stills of Burton, both informal and at rehearsals, are currently on show at the Foyer Galleries at St David's Hall in Cardiff.

Mrs Burton told BBC News Online the interest in the exhibition was "extremely surprising".

And, she added: "It should not surprise me, but it always does.

"I think it is absolutely wonderful. It's an endorsement of his life and his talent.

"There is a new generation discovering him and he has a new fan base.

"I think because of the explosion with satellite and cable television and DVDs, there are people discovering his work all the time.

"The cheap shot is that he sold out and went to Hollywood, but when you see the exhibition you realise just how much work he did, particularly in the early years."

The photographs have been loaned to the gallery by avid art collectors Gerard and Benjamin Knowles.

Sally Burton
Sally Burton backs the idea of the exhibition touring the UK

They include shots from sets of some of Burton's most famous films including Cleopatra, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Where Eagles Dare, and Night of the Iguana.

Gallery curator Gaynor Hill has supplemented them with movie posters, press clippings and references to his stage work that took her nine months to compile.

Ms Hill said the tribute, which runs until 14 August, had proved extremely popular, particularly with younger fans of the actor.

"People love Richard Burton. He was a superstar and because he was Welsh everyone was very proud of him," she explained.

"Whenever he could he came back to Wales. There were many Welsh charities he tried to help, although you don't tend to hear about that side of him.

"He was a Welsh hero in the true sense of the word."

Ms Hill said she was now hopeful that the tribute would tour other venues.

And that is something Sally Burton is very keen to see happen.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor
Burton was twice married to Elizabeth Taylor

"Because of the interest I hope that's more of a possibility now," she said.

"If it should go to other sites hopefully it will go around Wales and even around Britain."

She and his actress daughter Kate have recently talked about donating the bulk of his private papers to an institution in Wales.

These are likely to include his diaries, which run to over 400,000 words, chronicling his tempestuous relationship with Elizabeth Taylor, who he twice married and divorced in the 1960s and 70s.

"Kate and I have come to the decision that these papers belong in Wales," she added.

Exactly where they will end up, she said, will be decided later in the year.

Should a Welshman play Burton?
20 May 04  |  South West Wales
Burton's watch returns to Wales
26 Jun 02  |  Wales
Burton diary returned to BBC
03 Dec 01  |  Wales


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