[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he late, great Richard Burton will at long last have his name immortalised on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on St David’s Day this year.
His star will be placed next to Elizabeth Taylor’s, his co-star in Cleopatra, to whom he was twice married.
Although a fitting tribute to the Welsh screen legend, who died in 1984 aged 58, there will be many who assumed that the actor had already been credited with a coveted star, plus some who will be wondering why it has taken so long. With seven Oscar nominations to his name it is something of a travesty, but better late than never as they say.
It took a fundraising campaign by the Western Mail to get the show on the road, which eventually reached the required $30,000 target. This was achieved with the help of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, who are also releasing a special 50thanniversary Blu-ray edition of Cleopatra later this year.
Burton’s daughters, Kate and Marie, will both be in attendance at the ceremony, along with a whole host of big names. One who will no doubt do all he can to be there is the most famous Welsh actor of the present day, Sir Anthony Hopkins. The Hannibal stalwart has often cited Burton as his idol, whilst his first encounter with the man himself came when Hopkins was a naïve seventeen year-old about to embark on an acting scholarship.
He fondly recalls being quizzed by Burton about an upcoming Welsh rugby international when making the journey to his hero’s house in Port Talbot for an autograph: ‘“Who’s playing?” I asked. “What do you mean who’s playing? You’re not a true Welshman if you don’t know who’s playing.”’
Burton is well-remembered for once saying that he would rather play a game for Wales in Cardiff than appear in Hamlet at the Old Vic. Perhaps a willingness to shun the trappings of fame for more traditional comforts is a reason why his name has been conspicuous by its absence from Hollywood Boulevard.
The event takes place at 11.30am (7.30pm GMT), March 1st, and will be streamed live at www.walkoffame.com.