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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Burton papers given to university
Sally Burton, making the announcement
Sally Burton said her husband would have approved of her decision
Letters, diaries and papers belonging to the late screen legend Richard Burton have been handed over to Swansea University by his widow.

Sally Burton said she hoped they would help "teach and inspire" a new generation of talent in south Wales.

There will be a permanent exhibition to the Hollywood actor, who was born in Pontrhydyfen and died in 1984.

Other personal effects include gramophone records, scripts and his old book bag that he often carried around.

The collection also includes some of his diaries, which he started keeping from the age of 12 and in which he recorded his rise to international stardom.

It is also believed to include letters from friends, including fellow actors Sir John Gielgud, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

Swansea University only had sight of them this week but each item will be carefully recorded and researched.

Richard Burton (Photo courtesy of St David's Hall, Cardiff)
Richard Burton's old letters, diaries and scripts will be made public

Announcing her decision on Wednesday, Ms Burton said her husband, who starred in film classics such as Cleopatra, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and Night of the Iguana, would have approved.

"This idea is something that sits very well with Richard's personality," she said.

"He was an avid reader and loved absorbing facts.

"It is wonderful that members of the public will be able to come into the campus at Swansea to use the facilities at the centre for their own continuing education.

Youth theatre

"I'm confident that it will be used to teach and inspire in a way which will be an on-going tribute to Richard's memory and beliefs."

Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the actor's death in Switzerland.

Some members of his family believe Wales has been slow in honouring Burton, who at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor, was one of the biggest names in Hollywood.

University vice-chancellor Richard B Davies said the papers would be cared for a professionally-qualified archivist.

As well as creating the Richard Burton Centre he said the university would also help to develop a youth theatre, carrying his name.

"The centre will celebrate the inspirational qualities of a great Welshman and will allow his achievements to inspire future generations, not just students and researchers but young people throughout the region," he said.

Liz Taylor backs Burton theatre
22 Feb 05 |  South East Wales
Picture tribute to actor Burton
21 Feb 05 |  In Pictures
Wales 'slow' in honouring Burton
13 Dec 04 |  South West Wales
Burton tribute may tour UK
04 Aug 04 |  South West Wales


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