Checkered Life

Richard Burton Electrified Audiences and Lit Up the Tabloids (Photos)

Despite a multitude of leading roles on stage and screen, Richard Burton never ceased to doubt himself as an actor, and the profession as a whole. He often expressed these concerns to his counterpart Elizabeth Taylor, saying once in a letter, ‘I have never quite got over the fact that I thought, and I’m afraid I still do think, that “acting” for a man—a really proper man—is sissified and faintly ridiculous.’ Irreverent, impulsive, and with an addiction to alcohol and women, Burton was also a loving husband, a patient father, and a loyal friend. From his early days on stage with Claire Bloom to the heights of Hollywood royalty, here’s a look back at one of Hollywood’s most beloved—and troubled—leading men.