Coronavirus: Richard Burton script auctioned to raise PPE funds

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The Pontrhydyfen-born actor was one of the most famous stars of the 20th Century

A script once belonging to the late actor Richard Burton is being auctioned, with the proceeds used to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and care workers.

Long before he was a star, a 19-year-old Burton was cast in the 1945 radio version of the play The Corn is Green.

His script was discovered by writer Richard King during the clearance of his parents’ home in Newport.

It is being auctioned on eBay with bids starting at 99p.

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Tarian Cymru

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The Corn Is Green was originally broadcast in January 1945 on the BBC’s Home Service

Mr King believes the script, discovered with notes and annotations thought to have been pencilled by Burton himself, came to be in the family home through a relative.

He said: “I’m aware of a relation, possibly a great-great aunt, who worked at the BBC during the war and assume that it was through her that the script came into my family’s possession.

“My parents were also very active in amateur dramatics in the late 1950s at places such as Oxford House in Risca, so a local drama society that had used the radio adaptation script may also be a source.”

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Hulton Archive

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Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were married twice

Proceeds will go to Tarian Cymru (Shield of Wales), a campaign set up to fund and distribute PPE to health and care workers in Wales.

Its co-organiser Carl Morris said they were “overjoyed to be given this amazing and fascinating script, which is of tremendous importance to the history of the dramatic arts, and of course Richard Burton fans”.

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Burton in his role as a priest in Absolution in 1978

Born in Pontrhydyfen, Neath Port Talbot, in 1925, Burton went on to become a seven times Academy Award nominee and one of the most famous actors of the 20th Century.

Married five times – including twice to Elizabeth Taylor – he is remembered as much for his colourful life as the performances he brought to productions such as Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, the Hollywood blockbuster Cleopatra and his Shakespearean stage roles.

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Burton began life in the Afan Valley before finding international stardom