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At 18, Burton joined the Royal Air Force and was sent to Canada for training as an air navigator. Back in London, he joined a production company that paid him a week for a year.
His first film was in 1949, "The Last Days of Dolwyn." He made his Broadway debut in Christopher Fry's "The Lady's Not for Burning." One of the extras in his first film was Sybil Williams, who became his first wife.
While on the party circuit a day in 1952, one of the gorgeous women whom he met was a 20-year-old named Elizabeth Taylor, sitting on the other side of a swimming pool and meeting his gaze.
Philip, to whom he referred as his foster father, was an actor and professor of literature who taught Richard to speak, overcoming his incomprehensible Welsh accent.
Welsh actor, brilliant and famed first for Shakespeare, then for international films in a meteoric career, a blazing rise across the heavens before an early death of a stroke at 58.
He was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his roles in a half dozen magnificent films.
He was casting about when, as he said later, "lightning struck." His agent informed that 20th Century Fox wanted to star him in "My Cousin Rachel." The financial draw seemed a fortune to the young couple.
Sybil stayed in London while Richard found Hollywood with all its glitter and all its access. He became a drinking buddy with Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart.