New chapter of acting legend's diaries on cards
A SEQUEL to The Richard Burton Diaries could be on the cards.
Swansea University professor Chris Williams spent four years editing 450,000 of Burton's words.
The resulting volume was published in the UK last month and Professor Williams, along with university vice-chancellor Richard B Davies, is in the USA this week to launch it in New York and Los Angeles.
Professor Williams is professor of Welsh history and director of the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH), which is home to The Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Wales.
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The handwritten diaries, which Richard Burton (born Richard Jenkins in 1925) began in 1939 and ended just before his death in 1984, were donated to Swansea University by his widow Sally Burton in 2005.
The diaries and other personal papers, known as The Richard Burton Collection, form a central part of the £1.2 million Richard Burton Archives facility at the university's library, which was formally opened in April 2010.
Professor Williams revealed the possibility of publishing a second volume, this one a collection of Richard Burton's correspondence.
"He received letters from and wrote letters to many famous people, from US presidents to people in Aberavon and all stages in between over many years," the professor explained.
"Some of them were written during years not covered by the diaries, including one from the 1950s, so there is the potential to exploit that original material."
Professor Williams described many of the letters as absolutely fascinating, including some written when Burton created a furore by making derogatory remarks about Winston Churchill.
He said bringing together a volume of correspondence was worth looking at.
But he added: "I suspect we will not be able to make a decision about that until the new year."
Tomorrow night will see the launch of the Richard Burton Diaries at the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts in Manhattan. The event will feature actor Matthew Rhys, singer Iris Williams and a harpist.
There will be a similar launch at the British Consulate-General in Los Angeles on Thursday, this one featuring Welsh actors Ioan Grufudd and Andrew Howard.
"Richard's daughter Kate will be there," said Professor Williams. "It will be great to see her again as she has been very helpful and supportive of the project all the way through."
Burton, born in Pontrhydyfen in the Afan Valley, died of natural causes at his Swiss home. His last film was an adaptation of George Orwell's 1984.