MP co-hosts launch of Richard Burton diaries

26 October 2012

ABERAVON MP Hywel Francis was co-hosting the launch of the Richard Burton Diaries at Dyffryn school, Port Talbot, today (Friday, October 26).

Dr Francis said: “I am very pleased to co-host with Martin Grimes, head of Dyffryn school, the Port Talbot launch of Professor Chris Williams’s Richard Burton Diaries, published by Yale University Press.

“Ever since I was elected to Parliament in 2001, I have felt that the great screen and stage actor, Richard Burton, needed to be properly recognised in his home town and the wider locality.

“I was greatly encouraged by his widow Sally and by my friend Graham Jenkins, Richard’s brother.”

Burton (1925 to 1984), who was born in Pontrhydyfen, was a talented writer who kept a diary in the late 1960s and early 1970s when he and his then wife, the actress Elizabeth Taylor, were at the height of their fame.

The diaries detail the couple’s at times stormy relationship, and Burton writes that his pet names for his wife included Lumpy, Booby, Old Fatty, Shumdit, Cantank, Old Snapshot and The Baby.

Dr Francis added: “We already have the Richard Burton Portrait Bench at Cwmavon, the Richard Burton Trail – soon to be extended to Taibach – the Richard Burton Annual Lecture and the Richard Burton Archives and Research Centre at Swansea University.

“Much of this has been achieved as a result of the growing co-operation between Neath Port Talbot Council and Swansea University, and, most importantly, the support from Richard Burton’s family.

“We now have the publication of Richard’s diaries and their launch in Port Talbot in his old school, now called Dyffryn Lower School.

“It will be very special occasion with family and school-friends present, and there will be readings from his diaries by present-day pupils.”

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