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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 16:41 GMT
Village tribute to Richard Burton
Richard Burton plaque

A Welsh-language memorial to screen legend Richard Burton has been put up in the village where he was born.

The plaque close to his parents' grave at Pontrhydyfen, near Port Talbot, calls him "seren Cymru a'r byd," or "star of Wales and the world".

His family has criticised the lack of recognition in Wales for the actor, who died in 1984 and twice married superstar Elizabeth Taylor.

The plaque was unveiled on what would have been Burton's 81st birthday.

A lot of tourists come to this area and they want to see the place where he was born
Richard Burton's niece, Sian Owen

His niece, Sian Owen, said the plaque had "taken a long time coming".

A ceremony in Jerusalem chapel in the village was marking the dedication of the black marble memorial with gold leaf lettering.

He was born Richard Walter Jenkins on 10 November 1925, the 12th of 13 children in a Welsh-speaking family.

He took the stage name Burton in honour of one of his teachers - Phillip Burton - who helped him win a scholarship to Oxford at the age of 16.

Richard Burton's family
The actor's family gathered to pay tribute in Pontrhydyfen

Burton, whose film career included Cleopatra and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - both co-starring Elizabeth Taylor - The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and Night of the Iguana, died in 1984.

He was nominated for an Oscar seven times but never won.

His stage career included Shakespeare seasons at the Old Vic in London as well as playing King Arthur in Camelot on Broadway.

Equally well known for his speaking voice, he was also the narrator in the original production of Dylan Thomas' radio play Under Milk Wood, and took the same part in the later film of the play.

He married Taylor at the height of her fame and became one of the biggest names in Hollywood in his own right, at one time being its highest-paid star.

He is buried in Switzerland, where he lived at the end of his life.

Richard Burton
Richard Burton was proud of his upbringing, says niece Sian Owen
His niece, Sian Owen, said: "It's lovely to have a tribute in the village. It looks absolutely beautiful.

"It is nice because a lot of tourists come to this area and they want to see the place where he was born.

"They've been going up to see my grandparents' grave - which I have to say was starting to look a little shabby now - so it's nice to have a stone there which commemorates them as his parents."

Ms Owen said her uncle never forgot his roots.

"The family were all invited to the big parties and what have you. He was very proud of his upbringing," she said.

In pictures: Burton plaque unveiled
10 Nov 06 |  In Pictures
Burton 'joins Worlds stage cast'
04 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
Burton papers given to university
18 May 05 |  South West Wales
Picture tribute to actor Burton
21 Feb 05 |  In Pictures
Liz Taylor backs Burton theatre
22 Feb 05 |  South East Wales
Wales 'slow' in honouring Burton
13 Dec 04 |  South West Wales


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