Walter Jenkins

Walter Jenkins

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Walter Wilson Jenkins, the son of John and Enna Jenkins, was born in Jolly, Texas, on 23rd March, 1918. Jenkins did well at school and went on to study at the University of Texas.

In 1939 Lyndon B. Johnson approached the dean and asked him to recommend a student to work for him in Congress. The dean suggested Jenkins and he began work for Johnson soon afterwards. As he later recalled, at his first his main role was "answering mail and filling constituents' requests for farming pamphlets". Johnson was impressed with Jenkins and by 1941 he was involved in dealing with leading figures in the government such as Harold Ickes. This included information that was "too sensitive to be broached over the telephone."

Jenkins also played an important role in collecting money from Washington lobbyists for Johnson's election campaigns. On one occasion he was given $15,000 in small bills. He later recalled "I went down to Texas carrying this money in bills stuffed into every pocket." He also dealt with members of the Suite 8F Group such as George Brown and Herman Brown (Brown & Root), Jesse H. Jones (Reconstruction Finance Corporation), Gus Wortham (American General Insurance Company) and James Abercrombie (Cameron Iron Works).

In his book Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate, Robert A. Caro claims that cash was collected by Jenkins, Bobby Baker, Edward A. Clark or Clifford Carter in Texas and then brought to Johnson in Washington. Caro quotes Clark as saying that Johnson always wanted contributions given outside the office.

Lyndon B. Johnson also used Jenkins to obtain political information. He told Jenkins that it was very important to "read" politicians. He constantly told him: "Watch their hands, watch their eyes. Read eyes. No matter what a man is saying to you, it's not important as what you can read in his eyes. The most important thing a man has to tell you is what he's not telling you. The most important thing he has to say is what he's trying not to say." Bobby Baker was another one who got this advice. He later recalled: "He seemed to sense each man's individual price and the commodity he preferred as coin."

Jenkins was also responsible for collecting advertising money for the KTBC. This was a radio and television station in Austin, that was officially owned by Lady Bird Johnson. This became a great source of income for the Johnson family after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had granted KTBC 24 hour a day monopoly broadcasting rights.

It was because of his work with KTBC that Jenkins became involved in the Don B. Reynolds scandal. Reynolds was a friend of Bobby Baker, who was at this time working for Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1957 Reynolds was asked to arrange Johnson's life insurance policy.

In 1963 Senator John Williams of Delaware began investigating the activities of Baker. As a result of his work, Baker resigned as the secretary to Lyndon B. Johnson on 9th October, 1963. During his investigations Williams met Reynolds and persuaded him to appear before a secret session of the Senate Rules Committee.

Don B. Reynolds told B. Everett Jordan and his committee on 22nd November, 1963, that Johnson had demanded that he provided kickbacks in return for him agreeing to this life insurance policy. This included a $585 Magnavox stereo. Reynolds was also told by Jenkins that he had to pay for $1,200 worth of advertising on KTBC, Johnson's television station in Austin. Reynolds had paperwork for this transaction including a delivery note that indicated the stereo had been sent to the home of Johnson.

Reynolds also told of seeing a suitcase full of money which Bobby Baker described as a "$100,000 payoff to Johnson for his role in securing the Fort Worth TFX contract". His testimony came to an end when news arrived that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.

Throughout these hearings, the Republican members of the repeatedly tried to have Walter Jenkins called as a witness. As Carl Curtis pointed out: "Jenkins had been employed by Johnson for years. It was well established that he had handled many of Johnson's business concerns. The information given to the Committee by Reynolds clearly conflicted with the memorandum to which Jenkins had subscribed... Why did these six prominent Democratic senators, several of them leaders of their party, vote against hearing and cross-examining Jenkins?"

The historian, Rick Perlstein argued in Before the Storm: "In late January (of 1964) when Republicans tried to get Walter Jenkins, Johnson's most intimate aide, to testify before a Senate subcommittee investigation, Johnson put in the fix. Two psychiatrists appeared to testify that an appearance would - literally - kill him. Carl Curtis moved to call Jenkins to the stand anyway. He lost 6-3 in a party line vote.... Curtis lost again when he moved to make the record of the session public."

Abe Fortas, a lawyer who represented both Lyndon B. Johnson and Bobby Baker, worked behind the scenes in an effort to keep this information from the public. Johnson made threats against Carl Curtis, John Williams and Hugh Scott, who were all calling for Johnson to be fully investigated for corruption. In a telephone conversation with George Smathers on 10th January, 1964, Johnson told him that there was a tape that showed that Williams and Scott were involved in some sort of corrupt activity. Johnson also asks Smathers to arrange for Richard Russell and Everett Dirksen to deal with Curtis.

Lyndon B. Johnson also arranged for a smear campaign to be organized against Don B. Reynolds. To help him do this J. Edgar Hoover passed to Johnson the FBI file on Reynolds. Johnson then leaked this information to Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson. On 5th February, 1964, the Washington Post reported that Reynolds had lied about his academic success at West Point. The article also claimed that Reynolds had been a supporter of Joseph McCarthy and had accused business rivals of being secret members of the American Communist Party. It was also revealed that Reynolds had made anti-Semitic remarks while in Berlin in 1953.

A few weeks later the New York Times reported that Lyndon B. Johnson had used information from secret government documents to smear Don B. It also reported that Johnson's officials had been applying pressure on the editors of newspapers not to print information that had been disclosed by Reynolds in front of the Committee on Rules and Administration.

Don B. Reynolds also testified before the Rules Committee on 9th January, 1964. This time Reynolds provided little damaging evidence against Johnson. As Reynolds told John Williams after the assassination: "My God! There's a difference between testifying against a President of the United States and a Vice President. If I had known he was President, I might not have gone through with it." Maybe there were other reasons for this change of approach.

Jenkins had been saved from exposure. However, on 7th October, 1964, Jenkins went to cocktail party at the Washington offices of Newsweek. On his way home he visited the YMCA toilet. While there he was arrested by the police after being found having sex with a retired soldier. A local newspaper reporter working for the Washington Star, found out about this incident. He also discovered that Jenkins had been arrested on a similar charge in 1959. The offence had taken place in the same YMCA toilet.

Lyndon B. Johnson applied considerable pressure on the newspaper not to print the story. Johnson pointed out that Jenkins was happily married with six children and that the incident was a result of Jenkins having too much to drink at the party. Johnson recruited his personal lawyer, Abe Fortas, to deal with the newspaper editor. However, the story eventually appeared in the Washington Star and Jenkins was forced to resign.

When he heard the news about Jenkins, J. Edgar Hoover sent Jenkins a bouquet of flowers and expressed his regret that he had lost his job. As Anthony Summers points out in his book, Official and Confidential: "J. Edgar Hoover's public attitude on homosexuality was normally at least condemnatory, often cruel. On this occasion, however, he visited Jenkins in the hospital and sent him flowers."

Members of Congress called for the FBI to carry out an investigation into the Jenkins case. Several were concerned that the FBI had been unaware of Jenkins previous offence in the same Washington toilet six years earlier. It also emerged that Jenkins, a colonel in the Air Force Reserve, had tried to use his influence to reinstate a fellow officer dismissed for sex offences.

When the FBI report was eventually published it stated that Jenkins had only "limited association with some individuals who are alleged to be, or who admittedly are, sex, deviates... but there was no information that Jenkins had ever engaged in improper acts with them". The report concluded that Jenkins "had never compromised national security".

After leaving Washington, Jenkins worked as a management consultant and ran a construction company in Austin, Texas. He remained close to the Lyndon B. Johnson family for the rest of his life.

Walter Wilson Jenkins died on 23rd November, 1985.

Only after he (Walter Jenkins) had passed screening by these four Johnson aides (John Connally, Willard Deason, Jesse Kellem and Ray Lee) was the true purpose of the interviews revealed. "I got a call from John Connally, and he said, "Would you like to drive out to Johnson City tonight and meet Lyndon Johnson?" I said, "Who's Lyndon Johnson?" I was from Wichita Falls and had never heard of him." Jenkins had dinner with Johnson at the Casparis' Cafe, and after hours of answering questions, the young student was asked, "Would you like to work for me?"

Jenkins wrote Warren Woodward on January 11, "Ed Clark tells me that he has received some assistance from H. E. Butt. I wonder if you could go by and pick it up and put it with the other (we) put away before I left Texas Clark says that Brown's money was for the presidential run for which Johnson was gearing up that January, and that Butt's was for Johnson to contribute to the campaigns of other senators, but that often he and the other men providing Johnson with funds weren't even sure which of these two purposes the funding were for. "How could you know?" Ed Clark was to say. "If Johnson wanted to give some senator money for some campaign, Johnson would pass the word to give money to me or Jesse Kellam or Cliff Carter, and it would find its way into Johnson's hands. And it would be the same if he wanted money for his own campaign. And a lot of the money that was given to Johnson both for other candidates and for himself was in cash." "All we knew was that Lyndon asked for it, and we gave it," Tommy Corcoran was to say.

This atmosphere would pervade Lyndon Johnson's fundraising all during his years in the Senate. He would "pass the word" - often by telephoning, sometimes by having Jenkins telephone - to Brown or dark or Connally, and the cash would be collected down in Texas and flown to Washington, or, a Johnson was in Austin, would be delivered to him there. When word was received that some was available, John Connally recalls, he would board a plane in Fort Worth or Dallas, and "I'd go get it. Or Walter would get it. Woody would go get it. We had a lot of people who would go get it, and deliver it. The idea that Walter or Woody or Wilton Woods would skim some is ridiculous. We had couriers." Or, dark says, "If George or me were going up anyway, we'd take it ourselves." And Tommy Corcoran was often bringing Johnson cash from New York unions, mostly as contributions to liberal senators whom the unions wanted to support. Asked how he knew that the money "found its way" into Johnson's hands, Clark laughed and said, "Because sometimes I gave it to him. It would be in an envelope." Both Clark and Wild said that Johnson wanted the contributions given, outside the office, to either Jenkins or Bobby Baker, or to another Johnson aide. Cliff Carter, but neither Wild nor Clark trusted either Baker or Carter.

Walter Jenkins: "I've got considerably more detail on Reynold's love life."

Lyndon Johnson: "Well, get it all typed up for me."

Did Walter Jenkins know of any arrangements whereby Don B. Reynolds, a business sidekick of Bobby Baker's, bought $1,208 in advertising on Lady Bird Johnson's Austin TV station in return for selling two $100,000 insurance policies on Lyndon Johnson's life?

The answer, in a sworn affidavit, was a flat no - but that was back on Dec. 16, 1963, when Jenkins was a top White House aide. Last week Jenkins answered again - and this time his no was a lot less than flat. He had meant on that other occasion that he had not known "of the specifics for the purchase of advertising." But "I did know Mr. Reynolds planned to purchase advertising time, and I have never asserted the contrary."

"No Secret." As before, Jenkins did not appear in person before the Senate Rules Committee, which is investigating the Bobby Baker case. He left the White House last October, after being arrested on a morals charge, and his lawyer and two psychiatrists testified that his appearance before the committee would cause such a strain as to endanger his health. Instead, Jenkins replied on paper, but under oath, to 40 written questions from the committee.

In late 1956 or early 1957, Jenkins recalled, he was treasurer of the LBJ Co., which owned the television station, and "I was seeking an insurance company from which insurance on the life of the then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson might be purchased. I made no secret of this search, and I'm confident that Robert G. Baker knew of it, either from me or indirectly. Mr. Baker told me that he knew Don Reynolds, who represented a company which was beginning to specialize in insurance for former heart attack patients. Baker did not tell me that he had any interest in Mr. Reynolds' business."

Baker arranged a meeting between Jenkins and Reynolds, and Jenkins later talked to Baker several times about the proposed insurance. But then Jenkins "received word from the LBJ Co. that it would not be necessary to pursue the matter further because a local agent in Austin had become interested in selling the policies and that he not only had been an advertiser on the radio and television stations for many years, but also had always related the amount of his advertising to the amount of his business done with the station." This local agent, it turned out, was Huff Baines, a cousin of Lyndon Johnson's.

Meeting the Competition. Jenkins "communicated this information to Mr. Reynolds," and presumably was pleased to hear "that Mr. Reynolds wished very much to sell the policies and would also like to purchase advertising time in the event he sold them." Jenkins studied Reynolds' "offer to meet the competition," and "it was decided to accept the Reynolds offer."

Jenkins insisted that at no time did he "pressure" Reynolds to buy the television time. But in any event, he certainly got the idea across.

In late January (of 1964) when Republicans tried to get Walter Jenkins, Johnson's most intimate aide, to testify before a Senate subcommittee investigation, Johnson put in the fix. Curtis lost again when he moved to make the record of the session public. The investigation closed without a single Administration witness being called.

Jenkins, Walter Wilson, 3704 Huntington St., NW. Born 3-23-18, Jolly, Texas. Occupation: clerk, married. Male. Collateral: $25. Mother Enna Morgan, father John B., charge disorderly conduct (pervert).

J. On this occasion, however, he visited Jenkins in the hospital and sent him flowers.

Tag: Walter Jenkins

In the hit broadway play Hamilton, George Washington sings about his need for a right hand man. Washington has a point–presidencies can either thrive or wilt depending on who the president choses to include in his inner circle.

Often the focus is on the chief of staff–Chris Whipple wrote an excellent book detailing the make-or-break relationships presidents have had with their COS. This includes Bob Haldeman, who knew better than other aides when to listen to Nixon, and when to ignore his commands as venting.

Yet the president can draw strength on people other than their chiefs of staff–a relatively new position, anyway. We take a look at members of presidential political circles who–through their absence–proved their importance to the presidency.

Grant entered the White House as war hero after the Civil War. Grant was a military genius in his own right, creating and executing battle plans that eventually defeated the Confederacy. Upon hearing suggestion that his victory was due only to the overwhelming manpower he possessed in comparison to the South, Grant objected–after all, generals before him had had just as many men, and yet failed.

Rawlins, left, and Grant, center

Grant owed some of his success to his aide, John A. Rawlins. As the war slogged on, Grant wrote that Rawlins “comes the nearest to being indispensable to me of any officer in the service.” Rawlins, writes Grant biographer Ron Chernow, “could confront [Grant] with uncomfortable truths and fiercely contest his judgement…with his thoroughgoing skepticism and mistrust of people, he was the ideal foil to Grant’s excessively trusting nature.”

Rawlins, along with Grant’s wife, Julia, also largely succeeded in suppressing Grant’s alcoholism during the war. Rawlins had Grant pledge he would not drink at all until the war ended, and he himself took a pledge to remain sober. Rawlins also organized Grant’s affairs, and helped him to maintain a positive relationship with politicians in Washington D.C. Rawlins kept Grant sober with mixed success–he always reacted with disappointment and alarm when he learned that his friend had gone on a bender. When Grant drank, he got drunk. But thanks to Rawlin’s watchful eye, he drank rarely during the war.

When Grant became president in 1869, Rawlins was one of many loyal army friends who followed Grant to the White House. But the war had worn heavily on Rawlins, and he had suffered with health problems for years. At the age of thirty-eight, he died of tuberculosis.

Grant possessed battle savvy but little business acumen, and he was more trusting of men than his late friend. Rawlins’ loss was devastating to the Grant Administration. Chernow writes: “Rawlins would have warned the president against predatory, designing figures who encircled him in Washington. He would have detected wrongdoers and been a stalwart voice against corruption…with Rawlins gone, Grant lacked that one trusted adviser…”

Grant and his administration would be plagued by charges of corruption, as the easily trusting Grant let people into his inner circle that Rawlins would have likely barred.

When Truman unexpectedly became president in 1945, he reached out to his old high school friend, Charlie Ross, to be his press secretary. Ross accompanied the president all over the world, even playing poker with Truman and Winston Churchill. David McCullough details their close relationship in his biography of Truman.

Truman, Ross, and Eisenhower

Aside from his duties as press secretary, Ross was a friend and a shoulder for the president to lean on. When Truman started talking walks on doctor’s orders, he confided in Ross that it helped him sleep better. On Ross’ counsel, Truman learned to better respond to “smarty questions” at press conferences, answering “No comment”, “your guess is as good as mine”, or, “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.” Ross also played a crucial role in cooling down the president, especially as an editor. When railroad workers threatened to strike, Truman was furious. He wrote a seven page speech, which he gave to Ross to read. Ross told him he needed to rework it, so they did, with the help of several other aides.

In a letter Ross wrote to Truman in 1947, he said:

“There is nothing in life, I think, more satisfying than friendship, and to have yours is a rare satisfaction indeed…the greatest inspiration, Mr. President, has been the character of you–you as a President, you as a human being. Perhaps I can say best what is in my heart by telling you that my admiration for you, and my deep affection, have grown steadily since the day you honored me with your trust.”

When Ross died unexpectedly of a coronary occlusion in 1950, Truman was devastated by his loss. He wrote a tribute describing Ross as “the friend of my youth…a tower of strength…patriotism and integrity, honor and honesty, lofty ideals and nobility of intent were his guides…” Truman could not bring himself to give the statement to the press without breaking down. “Aw hell,” he said to a group of reporters. “I can’t read this thing. You fellows know how I feel, anyway…”

That night, Truman’s daughter sang at Constitution Hall, prompting a journalist named Paul Hume to write a scathing review. Truman responded the next day, calling Hume a “frustrated old man”, the review “lousy”, and suggested that he’d like to beat Hume up.

The country, reeling under an increasingly bloody and unpopular war in Korea, reacted with fury. Telegrams to the White House were 2:1 against Truman. One such telegram read:

“How can you put your trivial personal affairs before those of one hundred and sixty million people. Our boys while your infantile mind was on your daughter’s review. Inadvertently you showed the whole world what you are. Nothing but a little selfish pipsqueak.”

George Elsey, a Truman speechwriter, noted sadly that “Charlie Ross would never have let the Paul Hume letter get out…Charlie was…a calming fine influence on Truman, a tempering influence…much more than a press secretary.”

Jenkins (far left), LBJ, and Lady Bird

Walter Jenkins had long been an LBJ loyalist, joining his staff in 1939 while Johnson was still in Congress. He was close with both LBJ and his wife, Lady Bird, and had been a political aide of Johnson’s through good times and bad. One of Jenkins’ children was named “Lyndon.” In her book on Lady Bird and the Johnson marriage, Betty Boyd Caroli writes that the Johnsons loved Jenkins “like a blood relative.” By 1964, he had worked for LBJ for 25 years, “[working] eighteen hour days, [canceling] critical medical appointments, and doggedly [tackling] all of LBJ’s assignments, even those delivered in such condescending, abusive terms that Jenkin’s face flushed red,” writes Caroli.

So it came as a shock to Lyndon and Lady Bird when they received a call that Jenkins–a married father of six–had been arrested on a “morals charge.” Jenkins had been caught in a homosexual encounter in a public restroom.

The subsequent conversation between LBJ and Lady Bird was recorded–known only to the president–and captures a fascinating moment in their marriage. Lady Bird wanted to help Jenkins–if he could no longer work at the White House, she wanted to offer him a job with one of the family’s television stations in Texas. LBJ refused.

“I don’t think that’s right,” Lady Bird said. “When questioned, and I will be questioned, I’m going to say that this is incredible for a man that I have known all these years, a devout Catholic, a father of six children, a happily married husband.”

Lady Bird told the president he should make some gesture of support to his longtime aide. LBJ refused.

“We just can’t win this,” the president said. “The average farmer just can’t understand your knowing it and approving it or condoning it.”

Because Johnson refused to issue a statement of support, Lady Bird wrote one herself, which she gave to The Washington Post.

(Their full conversation is available online, and is a look at the dynamics of their marriage.)

Aides to Johnson later speculated that Jenkins’ absence was detrimental to LBJ and his presidency. Johnson’s Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, thought that Jenkins’ “counsel on Vietnam might have been extremely helpful.” Johnson’s press secretary, George Reedy, agreed, later saying, “All of history might have been different if it hadn’t been for that episode.”

When it comes to a presidency, those in the inner circle can make a real difference on the president’s success. But often their impact is not felt until they’ve vanished.


Walter D. Jenkins, Sr. began the legacy on the race track in 1949. Walter was an experienced tool and die maker and also a huge racing enthusiast both on and off the track. Combining the two, he found great success by machining precision parts for the racing industry in Allentown, PA. With the help of his wife, Stephania, Jenkins Machine was founded!

In 1955, Jenkins Machine moved from Walter’s garage to a building in Whitehall, PA and began working with two well-known companies – Western Electric and Bell Labs. In 1962, the first satellite capable of trans-ocean communications, Telstar 1, was launched and contained parts made by Jenkins Machine!

Walter’s son joined the business in 1963 and in 1973, Walter D. Jenkins, Jr. became the second President of Jenkins Machine. Within a few years, the need for more space was apparent and the company moved to their current facility in Bethlehem, PA. Embracing new methods and technologies, Walt led the company through the transition from conventional to CNC machining. His passion for solving challenging problems led to involvement with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the Ben Franklin Advanced Technology Center at Lehigh University. This involvement not only helped Jenkins Machine advance forward, but also the manufacturing industry as a whole.

Since 1993, Michael J. Jenkins, Sr. has led Jenkins Machine as the 3rd President. Mike’s passion for helping people, building lasting relationships and improving efficiency has enabled the company to expand in many ways since 1993. With the addition of high speed machining, contour milling and other new capabilities, Jenkins Machine grew from 4 CNC’s to their current facilities list and the space required has doubled. They have focused on building a strong team of high quality, talented people and are always looking for new members that share in their vision and values. The team enjoys working together and contributing to the community through various activities.

By building on tradition and core company values, Jenkins Machine continues to be a valued manufacturing partner and a great place to work!


Great pricing, short lead-times, outstanding service and excellent communication. Jenkins Machine has consistently been our go-to machine shop since 2007.

Richard Walter Burton (Jenkins)

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About Richard Burton

Richard Burton, CBE (10 November 1925 – 5 August 1984) was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role (without ever winning), and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid actor in Hollywood. He remains closely associated in the public consciousness with his second wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor the couple's turbulent relationship was rarely out of the news.

Born Richard Walter Jenkins Jr. to a Welsh miner, he never forgot his roots. He gained a reputation as one of the world's finest actors, and then was criticized for placing fame and money above art and dedication to his craft. Through the help of his schoolmaster, Philip Burton, young Richard Jenkins received a scholarship to Oxford University (later taking Burton's name as his own), and studied acting along the way he developed a distinctive and beautiful speaking voice. He made his first stage appearance in 1943, but his career did not begin in earnest until after he left the British Navy in 1947.

The Last Days of Dolwyn (1948) provided young Burton his film debut, and he made a striking impression in a stage revival of "The Lady's Not for Burning" in 1949. When Burton came with the play to Broadway the following year, he registered solidly with American producers, and was chosen to play the male lead in My Cousin Rachel (1952), a Daphne du Maurier mystery. His success in that film led to a flurry of Hollywood activity in such pictures as The Robe (1953), The Rains of Ranchipur and Prince of Players (both 1955), but he did not set the box office on fire and subsequently spent much of his time on the stage both in Britain and in the U.S.

Burton starred in several respectable British films in the late 1950s, including Look Back in Anger (1959), but his elevation to superstardom began with his casting as King Arthur in the Broadway musical "Camelot" in 1960 (which won him a Tony Award), and his role as Marc Antony in the 1963 film version of Cleopatra A star-crossed production, it was begun and halted several times in several different countries with several different directors. During the making of the film, Burton and his costar Elizabeth Taylor carried on an affair, which led both to divorce their current mates-and become headline fodder around the world.

The Burton-Taylor team became hot box office, and although he played "Hamlet" on stage (which was also photographed for showing in movie theaters) and Becket in the movies (both 1964), he commanded the most audience attention in slick entertainments with his wife, such as The V.I.P.s (1963) and The Sandpiper (1965). Art and commerce found a common ground in the couple's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and The Taming of the Shrew (1967), but audiences grew restive with both his on-again, off-again relationship with Taylor, and the later films they did together:The Comedians (1967), Dr. Faustus, Boom! (both 1968), Hammersmith Is Out (1972), and the TV movie Divorce His-Divorce Hers (1973).

In fact, Burton became notorious for appearing in films-always for the money, which he never denied-that wasted his considerable talents, including Bluebeard (1972), The Voyage (1973), The Klansman (1974), Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), The Medusa Touch (1978), Lovespell (1979), Absolution (1981, filmed in 1978), and Wagner (1983). Burton was honored seven times with Oscar nominations, as Best Supporting Actor for My Cousin Rachel (odd, since he was the male lead) and as best actor for The Robe, Becket, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), and Equus (1977), but he never won the gold statue.

His final work was in a well-received 1984 miniseries, "Ellis Island" (which featured his daughter, actress Kate Burton) and the impressive remake of1984 (1984). He wrote of his relationship with Taylor in the slim but charming volume "Meeting Mrs. Jenkins" (1966).

OTHER FILMS INCLUDE: 1951:Green Grow the Rushes 1956:Alexander the Great 1959:Bitter Victory 1962:The Longest Day 1964:The Night of the Iguana 1968:Candy 1969: Where Eagles Dare 1971:Raid on Rommel 1973:Massacre in Rome 1978:The Wild Geese 1980:Circle of Two

He was married five times:

Died of cerebral hemorrhage shortly after the filming of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) was completed, on the 5th August 1984 in Céligny, Geneva, Switzerland.

Burton died less than a week before he was due to begin shooting Wild Geese II, a sequel to his successful mercenary thriller The Wild Geese, made in 1978. He was the only actor returning for the film and, as Colonel Allen Faulkner, would have led a team of crack mercenaries to spring aged Nazi Rudolf Hess from Spandau Prison in Berlin. Burton's death caused huge problems for producer Euan Lloyd, the man behind the original Wild Geese and its follow-up. With the rest of the cast - Scott Glenn, Barbara Carrera and Laurence Olivier, playing Hess - in place, Lloyd had just a handful of days to find a replacement for Burton. He selected British actor Edward Fox, who joined the cast as Alex Faulkner, Burton's brother. Burton's no-show in the film was explained by one character telling Fox that they'd heard his famous warrior brother had died. The film was dedicated to Burton's memory.

Richard Burton was at one time the highest-paid actor in Hollywood. He remains closely associated in the public consciousness with his second wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor the couple's turbulent relationship was rarely out of the news

Richard Burton, CBE (10 November 1925 – 5 August 1984) was a Welsh actor.

Хронология Richard Burton

Mr Richard Burton, CBE, who has died at the age of 58, was an actor
who began his career as a performer of fine promise on the classical
stage and progressed to become an international star, the details of
whose private life came, alas, to command almost more attention than
his very great gifts.

Richard Burton was born in Ponrhydfen, a mining village in South
Wales, on November 10, 1925. He was educated at Port Talbot Secondary
School and Exeter College, Oxford, but he spent a year between the end
of his school life and the beginning of his brief university career on
the stage.

He first acted in public in November, 1943, as Glan in Emlyn
Williams's "The Druid's Rest" at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool
and then, in January, 1944, at the St. Martin's Theatre, in London.
After three months of the play's London run, he relinquished his part
to go up to Oxford, where his stay was cut short by National Service,
which occupied him until 1947.

He found time while at University to achieve an impressive performance
as Angelo in "Measure for Measure", the OUDS production of 1944.

In less than ten years after his return to the stage he had built up
not only a great reputation but also a power and authority which made
it seem that he was destined for the commanding heights of his
profession in spite of occasional forays into the cinema.

In February, 1948, he appeared as Mr Hicks in "Castle Anna", but moved
from that into his first film, "The Last Days of Dolwen". During 1949
and 1950 he was seen in the then excitingly original plays of
Christopher Fry, as Richard in "The Lady's Not for Burning", Cuthmen
in "The Boy with a Cart" and Tegeus in a "Phoenix too Frequent". "The
Lady's Not for Burning" took him to his first appearance in New York,
when its run ended he stayed there to play in "Legend of Lovers". Back
in London in 1952, he played the title role in "Montserrat" at the
Lyric, Hammersmith, and then joined the Old Vic Company for the season
of 1953 and 1954 in what can perhaps justly be remembered as the last
of the Old Vic golden ages before the creation of the National Theatre

With John Neville, an actor of equal force and intelligence but
entirely different in temperament, he alternated the roles of Othello
and Iago. In London and at the Edinburgh Festival he was seen as
Hamlet, incisively intelligent, richly emotional though hardly
irresolute. The bastard Philip Faulconbridge in "King John" was a role
which he fitted exactly, and his Coriolanus was acting of violence and
authority if hardly of patrician disdain. Sir Toby Belch offered him a
rare opportunity to show his gifts of humour, and his Caliban was both
ferocious and pathetic. His acting compared to John Neville's as a
sabre to a rapier the two exactly complemented each other and won the
devotion of Old Vic audiences, particularly of a vociferously
appreciative gallery audience of young enthusiasts. Tempted to
Hollywood to be the Antony to Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra in the
spectacular film epic of "Cleopatra" (it seemed to his admirers that
Shakespeare's Antony could give him far more than a very luscious film
had to offer), he began to concentrate on film roles, working in the
theatre only intermittently.

In New York he was the King Arthur of the original production of
Lerner and Loew's "Camelot" in 1960, and in 1964 he played Hamlet in
Sir John Gielgud's controversial production of the play. The
production and Burton's acting both received a great deal of
attention, commentary and analysis both were, the commentators
suggest, tensely exciting and moving, but both, apparently, were
visibly flawed.

Two years later, as an act of homage to Oxford, and the OUDS, both
Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, his second wife, played there in
Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus". His subsequent film of the play, based on
the Oxford production, failed altogether to do him justice,
sacrificing both his own performance and the play itself to visual
cliches of almost ineffable bad taste. The breakdown of Burton's first
marrriage, to Sybil Williams, and his subsequent marriage to Elizabeth
Taylor, had given the press of Great Britain and the United States a
modern romance of which the press made as much as it could, and the
luxury of their later life - the fruits of the success in the cinema,
was widely reported they never for long managed to escape the public
eye. For all that, Burton kept a certain natural simplicity, an
obvious love of his native country and the people in the mining
village in which he had grown up. The partnership with Miss Taylor,
however, bore fruit in several films in which he discovered how to
project the force of his stage personality through the lens of a
camera, and if "Doctor Faustus" was a disaster and "The Taming of the
Shrew", directed by Franco Zefirelli, a colourful romp in which
neither Burton nor his wife was ideally cast, so that the best was not
made of Shakespeare's play, in the film of Edward Albee's "Who's
Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" the Burton-Taylor duet was powerful in
purely cinematic terms, sourly-comic in a way new to Burton's acting,
finely drawn and moving.

Without Taylor, Burton played the title role of "Becket" opposite
Peter O'Toole, was an unfrocked priest in "The Night of the Iguana"
and an intelligence agent in John Le Carre's "The Spy Who Came in from
the Cold". There were also film records of his by nnow rare stage
appearances, such as "Hamlet" directed by John Gielgud.

During the 1970s Burton seemed, professionally, to lose his way. He
was no longer able to hold out for huge salaries in the cinema and his
work was less distinguished. He settled for mainly routine adventure
films with, now and then something more challenging, such as playing
Trotsky for Joseph Losey or repeating his stage role as the
psychiatrist in Peter Shaffer's "Equus". There was sadness that his
talent was being under-used, not only in films but in the theatre,
where apart from "Equus" his only venture in more than ten years was
the musical, "Camelot".

Plans to play "King Lear" came to nothing. In 1977 he narrated a
26-part BBC radio series about British monarchs, produced to mark the
Queen's Silver Jubilee. His private life continued to fill the gossip
columns. His marriage to Elizabeth Taylor ended in separation and
divorce they briefly remarried and divorced finally in 1976. IN the
same year he married his fourth wife, Mrs Susan Hunt, former wife of
the racing driver James Hunt, a marriage which also ended in divorce.

From the mid 1970s, his career was, threatened by a serious - and
admitted - drinking problem. He married fifthly in 1983, Sally Hay.
For all that, and for his appearance in many films where, without Miss
Taylor, he played no less effectively than he did in the duet which
seems to be the high-point of his art as a film actor, it is not
possible to think of Richard Burton except as a bitter loss which the
theatre sustained when it could ill-afford to lose an actor of
presence, personality and controlled energy. At a time when he was
still developing unusual natural gifts, he all but abandoned the
stage. Like Olivier an extrovert actor, brilliant in technique and
with an apparently infallible instinct for theatrical effect, he never
reached the summit of what promised to be a great stage career.

Like many highly intelligent actors, he had a rooted distrust as well
as love of the stage, and by the 1950s he was ready from time to time
to discuss in public the possibility of a future career in which
acting played no part in 1969, for example, he talked of settling for
some time to teach in Oxford with a temporary fellowship. But for all
that he will be remembered as a stage actor physically and
temperamentally built for great heroic and tragic roles, with the
vocal range and colour (as a number of gramophone records testify)
such roles demand. Together with these went a swift stage
intelligence. What he achieved was both moving and powerful it
promised an unachieved greatness which must always be lamented.

Rethinking history with Keith Jenkins (Pt. 1).

Recently I finished Keith Jenkins’ book Re-Thinking History (Routledge, 1991). Jenkins is a professor of history at the University of Chichester who is known for his advocating of a postmodern historiography. What characterizes a “postmodern” historiography? Well, oddly enough this statement by the philosopher Voltaire works quite well: “There is no history, only fictions of varying degrees of plausibility.”

In other words, when someone writes a “history” they take data available to them (archaeological, botanical, paleontological, papyrological, etc) and they reconstruct a narrative from that data. It could be argued that many events given a cause-and-effect relationship in say a book on Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon are the complete invention of the author. Sure, we find that this or that happened, but do we know that this or that caused Caesar to move toward Rome? How do we know?

Some historians seek to do history as scientists do science. They want testable hypothesis that result in some form of “objective” knowledge. Others say that this is not possible, so the best analogy for the work of a historian is that of an artist taking various materials to paint a picture for his/her audience.

In Jenkins’ book he advocates a very subjective, almost relativistic understanding of history. I think there is a lot to learn from what he says, though I have my contentions. Over three parts I will interact with Jenkins as an amateur in historiography. I hope to come away a better thinker on how to do historical studies.

History is Histories there isn’t one “history”.

Jenkins is a Lyotard of historiography in that his first attack is upon the idea that there is one “history” that is all encompassing. Rather, Jenkins argues that there are many, many “histories” (plural) that tell many, many stories from many, many angles. (p. 3) These histories are discourses on various subjects. (p. 5) History and “the past” are not one and the same since the past has happened, but history is a present interpretation of some of the events of the past. (pp. 6-7)

When the historian seeks to bridge the past to the present s/he does so with presuppositions involved. S/he has “epistemological fragility” as Jenkins dubs it. He states, “…no historian can cover and thus re-cover the totality of past events because their ‘content’ is virtually limitless. What he wants the reader to note is that even a modern historian writing on say the election of President Barack Obama must chose to include and exclude details and there are thousands of details that the historian cannot know. “Second, no account can re-cover the past as it was because the past was not an account but events, situations, etc.” (p. 11)

In addition to the chasm of time we have the chasm of experience. Jenkins notes that “…history relies on someone else’s eyes and voice”. (p. 12) Often we aren’t the primary source of our historical work. We rely upon the accounts of others. We receive the events through their subjective lens.

So how do historians make their work secure? Often it comes down to a discussion of methodology. Jenkins thinks this falls short since historians use many different methodologies and often do not agree on how to do the task at hand. (pp. 15-16)

Even if a historian thinks they have a well-developed methodology there are many more factors to consider: the guild and it’s influence, epistemological presuppositions, particular “routines and procedures”, the influence of the work of other historians, the process of writing a history (including the work of editors, limited word counts, sell-ability), and finally, to move to the reader, their own subjective understanding of what you wrote. (pp. 20-24)

What Jenkins accomplishes in his first chapter “What is History?” is the deconstruction of the reader’s confidence in objective historiography. He humbles the reader’s epistemological self-understanding. He challenges the whole guild of historians who feel that their club has discovered the “rules of engagement” for doing good historical work that allows us to say with confidence that this happened, this did not, and this is why this happened.

So you may ask what Jenkins offers once he has torn down the common understanding of historiography. This is his definition of “history”:

History is a shifting, problematic discourse, ostensibly about an aspect of the world, the past, that is produced by a group of present-minded workers (overwhelmingly in our culture salaried historians) who go about their work in mutually recognizable ways that are epistemologically, methodologically, ideologically and practically positioned and whose products, once in circulation, are subject to a series of uses and abuses that are logically infinite but which in actuality generally correspond to a range of power bases that exist at any given moment and which structures and distributes the meanings of histories along a dominant-marginal spectrum.” (p. 26)

If Jenkins is correct in his understanding of “history” then we should abandon any idea that we can be “objective” in our historical work or that we are recovering the “bare facts”. No, we are reconstructing a narrative from the available data. That said, it seems that Jenkins departs from epistemological arrogrance to epistemological nihilism. Does it have to be “all-or-nothing” or can we reframe the discussion around “degree” of “plausibility” instead?

Jenkins Surname Meaning, History & Origin

The surname Jenkins comes from the personal name Jenkin, which contains the elements Jen , a pet name for John, and -kin , a diminutive suffix. Thus Jenkin might describe the younger John, the son of John, or little John. John, meaning “God has granted me with a son,” was introduced by returning Crusaders from the Holy Land in the 12th century.

Resources on

Jenkins Ancestry

Wales . Jenkins in one of those “-kins” surnames, like Hopkins and Watkins, that established itself in Wales. According to H. Harrison’s Surnames of the United Kingdom, the Jenkins name might have been brought to Wales by Flemish immigrants who were settled in Pembrokeshire in the 12th century.

There were increasing references to Jenkin as a personal name from the 13th century, mainly in south Wales. It was pronounced and sometimes spelt as “Siencyn.” The old Welsh patronymic style was still in place in the 16th century (thus Richard Roberts of that time was the son of Robert Jenkin). But it was beginning to be displaced by English-style surnames. In this process, Jenkin became Jenkins with the suffix adoption of “s” as “son of.”

Judge David Jenkins, the son of Jenkin Richard, was born in Hensol House in the vale of Glamorgan in 1582 (the house was said to have been built by the judge’s great grandfather). He himself was a fervent Royalist who narrowly survived the Civil War. Another Royalist, born nearby, was Sir Leoline Jenkins. He made his mark as the Principal for Jesus College in Oxford.

A Jenkins who also went to Jesus College was the cleric and antiquary John Jenkins – from the Jenkins family of Llangoedmor in Cardiganshire. In 1807 he was appointed the vicar of Kerry in Montgomeryshire. There he adopted the name Ifor Ceri and began to promote Welsh singing and bardic skills through local eisteddfods.

By the late 19th century, the Jenkins population in Wales had become fairly heavily concentrated in Glamorgan, in particular in the industrial belt of west Glamorgan around Port Talbot and Neath. From this working class area came the coal miner’s son Richard Jenkins who became the actor Richard Burton and the trade union leader Clive Jenkins:

“His family had a small terraced house with an outside toilet and ‘no carpet, just coconut matting.’ They bathed once a week in front of the fire in an old zinc tub, sharing the same water.”

The mezzo-soprano opera singer Katherine Jenkins grew up in a council house in Neath.

England. The Jenkin name began in England in its southwest corner, in Cornwall. There were some early suggestions that the Cornish were of short stature, hence the “little Johns.” Jenkin has persisted in Cornwall without the “s” suffix.

Cornwall One Jenkin family has been traced to St. Stephen in Brannel in the 1600’s. They moved to St. Austell in the early 1800’s to work in the tin mines but then emigrated when the work there stopped.

“James Jenkin went to Australia to meet his brother Edward but by the time he had arrived Edward had already left for the US. So the two never met. James was killed in a mine accident in Australia, leaving a wife and nine children.”

Jenkins were also to be found in Magdon north of Penzance from the 1650’s. They were for many generations village blacksmiths. The family emigrated to South Africa in 1911. Other Jenkins in Cornwall stayed, notably the historian Kenneth Hamilton and the politician Richard, both very much committed to the Cornish cause.

Devon There were Jenkins in the neighboring county of Devon. The Jenkins of Hartland near Bideford in Devon in fact date back to the 1550’s.

Scilly Isles The first Jenkins came to the Scilly Isles in the 1730’s. John Jenkins, born in 1723, was one of the early arrivals. His grand-daughter was named Elizabeth and there is a photograph of her that still remains, taken in her old age sometime in the 1860’s. Over the years the Jenkins numbers grew and the Jenkins today in the Scillies represent a significant proportion of the population of the Tresco and Bryher islands.

Kent Kent has been a Jenkins outpost. The Jenkins of Kent date from the time that William Jenkin was mayor of Folkestone in the 1550’s. Their most illustrious family member was probably the Victorian inventor Fleeming Jenkin who came up with the idea of the aerial tramway. Descendants have been the politicians Patrick and Bernard Jenkin.

America. John Jenkins, who arrived from England in the 1660’s, was one of the earliest settlers in North Carolina. He served as governor of the colony at various times during the 1670’s. William Jenkins, born in Virginia in 1675, was the forebear of the plantation-owning Jenkins family of Cabell county in what is now West Virginia. Another Jenkins Virginia family settled in Gaston county, North Carolina.

Three well-documented Jenkins families began with immigrants from Wales in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s:

  • William Jenkins came to Maryland and his descendants were to be found in Baltimore county for many generations. They later moved to South Carolina and then onto Georgia and Texas.
  • David Jenkins settled in Chester county, Pennsylvania. The
    old Jenkins homestead at Churchtown there remained with the family in succeeding generations. The family history has been traced in Robert Jenkins’ 1904 book The Jenkins Family Book .
  • the Quaker John Jenkins came around 1730 and settled in the Welsh community of Gwynedd, Pennsylvania. A 19th century descendant Howard Jenkins was a local newspaper publisher.

Another Jenkins family from Maryland included a Captain Thomas Jenkins who owned a number of sea-going vessels. He transported arms, at considerable peril to himself, to the patriots during the Revolutionary War. His line was traced in Edward F. Jenkins’ 1985 book Thomas Jenkins of Maryland.

Lewis Jenkins fought in the War and received bounty land in North Carolina. In the 1820’s he moved his family to Georgia. Charles J. Jenkins left South Carolina for Georgia a little later. He served as Governor of the state during Reconstruction. Jenkins county in Georgia is named in his honor.

These and other Jenkins appear in the Jenkins’ version of Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Canada. Nicholas Henckel from Hesse in Germany took the name of Jenkins from his English first wife. He and his family arrived in the maritime province of Prince Edward Island in 1783, describing the place then as “a wilderness.” He has had a large number of descendants, many apparently in the Little Pond area. Doug MacDonald’s 2009 book A Genealogy of the Jenkins Families of Prince Edward Island has traced this genealogy.

In 1820 the Rev. Louis Jenkins, bound for Quebec, was driven by contrary winds to Charlottetown in PEI where he assumed the rectorship of St. Paul’s. His descendants ran the Upton farm near Charlottetown. Dr. Jack Jenkins was a cattle breeder and farmer in the 1920’s and his wife Louise one of the first female pilots in Canada.

South America . There are Jenkins in Argentina. Aaron Jenkins and his family were part of a group of Welsh colonists who came to Patagonia in 1865 to settle and farm. Sadly he was murdered in 1879. Alfred Jenkins was an orphan from Bristol who arrived in Argentina in 1907 as a Christian missionary. He married there but died young in his forties.

Australia and New Zealand. Jenkins have come from Wales, Cornwall, England and even from Ireland and America. John Jenkins from Kent had arrived in NSW as a convict in 1821. His initial years were harsh. But his wife and children joined him in 1827 and he received his Ticket of Leave two years later. They later settled in Berrima, NSW where John died in 1886 at the ripe old age of 97.

Among later Jenkins arrivals were:

  • Robert Jenkins, who arrived in Tasmania from Worcestershire in 1835. One of his sons PW Jenkins was a pioneer grazier at Nimmitabel in the Monaro region of NSW. He lived until 1954 on his Clifton farm
  • William Jenkins known as “Bill the Steward,” who came to Kapiti island in New Zealand from Kent in 1836. He was a whaler but later settled down to farm and run an accommodation house at Te Uruhi.
  • John Jenkins, who came to Victoria from Cornwall during the gold rush times of the 1850’s
  • and Joseph Jenkins, a tenant farmer from mid-Wales who in 1868 suddenly abandoned his home and family to seek his fortune in Australia. He didn’t find this fortune. But he left behind a series of diaries which, after his death, have been published and acclaimed.

Kay Jenkins’ 2002 book From the Mountains of Wales: Jenkins Family History traced a Jenkins family from Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire to Australia.

Jenkins Miscellany

Jenkins and Other “-kins” Names. The suffix “-kins” is generally attached to a personal name as a pet name, usually denoting “the little one.” The suffix was apparently a Flemish import which for some reason became popular in England.

Various “-kins” surnames also became popular in Wales, most notably Jenkins. The table below shows the main “kins” names and their degree of penetration into Wales (the numbers here are taken from the 1891 census):

Name Pet form of: Numbers (000’s) Share in Wales (%) Found in England
Atkins Adam 10 4 spread
Dawkins David 2 4 Southwest
Dickens Dick 3 3 West
Hopkins Hobb (from Robert) 19 23 spread
Jenkins John 35 56 Southwest
Perkins Peter 14 8 spread
Watkins Walter 16 38 West Midlands
Wilkins William 13 7 West Midlands

Many of these surnames added a “-son” suffix in the north. Thus Atkins became Atkinson.

Judge David Jenkins. Judge Jenkins was a man of great force of character, nicknamed “Heart of Oak” and “Pillar of the Law.” Being a staunch Royalist he took an active part against the Parliamentarians during the Civil War, condemning many to death for activities deemed treasonable. Then he was captured in 1645 and sent to the Tower of London. He was impeached for high treason but survived. After the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II he was liberated in 1656 and returned to his estates in Glamorgan.

The Jenkins of Kent. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a memoir of his friend Fleeming Jenkin in which he had this to say about his family ancestry:

“In the reign of Henry VIII, a family of the name of Jenkin were to be found settled in the county of Kent. It may suffice that these Kentish Jenkins must have undoubtedly derived from Wales and, being a stock of some efficiency, they struck root and grew to wealth and consequence in their new home.

William Jenkin was mayor of Folkestone in 1555 and, no less than twenty three times in the succeeding century and a half, a Jenkin – William, Thomas, Henry or Robert – sat in the same place of humble honor. Of their wealth we know that in the reign of Charles I Thomas Jenkin of Eythorne was more than once in the market buying land and notably in 1633 he acquired the manor of Stowting Court near Folkestone.

Stowting Court became the anchor of the Jenkin family in Kent. Though passed on from brother to brother, held in shares between uncle and nephew, burdened by debt and jointures, and at least once sold and bought back again, it has remained to this day in the hands of the direct line.”

Leading Welsh Counties with Jenkins. The table below shows the leading Welsh counties with Jenkins in the 1881 census.

County Numbers
1. Glamorgan 8,973
2. Monmouthshire 2,694
3. Cardiganshire 2,226
4. Carmarthenshire 1,892
5. Pembrokeshire 1,594

The War of Jenkins’ Ear. England and Spain went to war in 1739 over what came ot be called “the war of Jenkins’ ear.”

Returning home from the West Indies in command of the brig Rebecca in 1731, Jenkins’ ship was stopped and boarded by the Spanish. The Spanish commander had Jenkins bound to a mast and he sliced off one of his ears with his sword. He was said to have told him to say to his King: “The same will happen to him if caught doing the same.”

When Captain Robert Jenkins returned to England, he spoke of
his affront but it received little attention. However, the story was
printed in The Gentleman’s Magazine and in 1738 he repeated his story before a committee of the House of Commons. In a bellicose atmosphere the House decided to initiate maritime reprisals against Spain. A naval war formally started the next year.

The Jenkins Plantation House in West Virginia. Built by slaves in the 1830’s for Captain William Jenkins, the Jenkins Plantation House was also the home of Confederate Brigadier General Albert Gallatin Jenkins. At the height of their prosperity this family was one of the largest landowners in what is now West Virginia, owning more than 4,000 acres.

The story of the Jenkins plantation is also the story of more than
fifty slaves who worked and lived at Green Bottom, within yards of potential freedom. Their years of hard labor, death, confinement and possible poor treatment on the plantation could have left an ineffaceable mark on the environment of the home and land.

Over the years there have been numerous reports of “paranormal activity” at the Jenkins plantation. Most commonly, people report seeing the apparitions of two young children playing in the front yard. People have seen men in Civil War clothing standing and sitting around in the yard. People have also seen a man, believed to be Colonel Jenkins, riding a misty gray horse. And there have been other apparitions at the plantation house and at the hollow where the slave shacks are thought to have been.

The plantation house has survived and has recently been restored.

The Jenkins Battle Hymn of the Republic

  • “The ancient plan of Jenkins raised their standard to the sky:
  • They held her name in honor and their aims were ever high:
  • They always did their duty and were not afraid to die.
  • Virile, worthy, brave and loyal! Let us sing “
  • Pergesed Cau-te!” The clan goes marching on!
  • “Mae-narch, Richard, John and Seth for fathers of our clan
  • Posterity of David and Benjamin never ran.
  • Joseph was quite virile, Thomas was a sturdy man.
  • The clan goes marching on!
  • Our fathers dwelt in England, Scotland, Ireland and in Wales
  • Where English tongue is spoken now the Jenkins name prevails.
  • How could the nations but advance when Jenkins never fails!
  • The clan goes marching on!
  • “Richard was in Parliament – he was among the peers
  • Thomas was High Sheriff – of his foes he had no fears
  • Henry Jenkins lived a hundred-nine-and-sixty years.
  • The clan goes marching on!
  • John was a guide to Washington and with him at Yorktown
  • With famous man of Georgia, Charlie’s name is written down
  • Albert was in Congress and, in Dixie of renown.
  • The clan goes marching on!
  • The Jenkins Clan is mighty with a hundred thousand strong
  • In Seventy-six, four-hundred Jenkins fought to right a wrong.
  • Seven towns bear Jenkins name. Sure, let us sing that song,
  • The clan goes marching on!
  • When danger threatened country for a battle to be won,
  • Our righteous causes need defenders or work to be done,
  • Brave Jenkins were right there, and never did a Jenkins run.
  • The clan goes marching on!
  • The Jenkins sons have courage any task or foe to face
  • The Jenkins girls are lovely with their beauty, charm and grace
  • The Jenkins leaven is a blessing to the human race.
  • The clan goes marching on!”

Aaron Jenkins in Argentina. Aaron Jenkins and his family were from Mountain Ash in mi-Glamorgan and they arrived with 152 other Welsh settlers on June 28 1865 to what is today the city of Puerto Madryn. The sea journey took two months.

The first few years were the hardest since the majority of settlers
weren’t farmers and the desert made the wheat crops fail. It was
Aaron’s wife Rachel who worked out a form of irrigation, diverting water from the Chubut river. In March 1868 the first crop of wheat was successfully grown.

In 1879 Aaron, who was one of the most popular of the colonists, was murdered. The Welsh decided to take the law into their own hands and caught and killed the murderer. Since that time, it was said, they were never bothered by “the mixed race Indian-Argentines that frightened the area.” Aaron Jenkins was buried in the cemetery in Gaiman.

How Richard Jenkins Became Richard Burton. Richard Burton was born Richard Jenkins in the village of Pontrhydyfen
near Port Talbot in Wales. He grew up in a working class, Welsh-speaking household, the twelfth of thirteen children. His father was a short, robust coal miner, a “twelve-pints a-day man” who sometimes went off on drinking and gambling sprees for weeks. Richard later said:

“He looked very much like me. That is, he was pockmarked, devious, and smiled a great deal when he was in trouble. He was also a man of extraordinary eloquence, tremendous passion, and great violence.”

Richard Jenkins was less than two years old in 1927 when his mother died after giving birth to her 13th child. His sister Cecilia and her husband Elfed took him into their Presbyterian mining family in nearby Port Talbot. He said later that his sister became “more mother to me than any mother could have ever been.” His father rarely visited.

Richard showed a talent for literature at grammar school and, inspired by his schoolmaster, Philip Burton, he excelled in school play productions. At the age of sixteen, he left school for
full-time work. But when he joined the Port Talbot squadron of
the Air Training Corps as a cadet, he re-encountered Philip Burton.

This time Burton, recognizing Richard’s talent, adopted him as his ward and Richard returned to school. Philip Burton tutored his charge intensely in school subjects and also worked at developing the youth’s acting voice. In 1943, at the age of eighteen, Richard Burton, who had by now taken his teacher’s surname, was allowed into Exeter College, Oxford for a special term of six months study.

Paul and Ruth Jenkins’ Farm in the Scillies. Paul and Ruth Jenkins will be pleased to welcome you to their farm. Paul was born on Bryher and his family history goes back several generations in 1735.

Their farm is a working farm in the center of Bryher. In spring and summer they sell vegetables, salad crops, soft fruit, cut flowers, and free range eggs from their roadside stall. All produce is fresh and available to guests and islanders to purchase.

Jenkins Names
  • David Jenkins was a Royalist judge in Glamorgan who survived the upheavals of the Civil War.
  • Fleeming Jenkin was the Victorian inventor who came up with the idea of the aerial tramway.
  • Richard Jenkins was the given name of the actor Richard Burton.
  • Roy Jenkins was the Labor politician from Monmouthshire who served as British Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 1960’s and 1970’s and later defected to start the Social Democrat party.
  • Katherine Jenkins is a Welsh mezzo-soprano singer, popular for her crossover music.
Jenkins Numbers Today
  • 58,000 in the UK (most numerous in Merthyr Tydfil)
  • 74,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 33,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia).
Jenkins and Like Surnames

Hereditary surnames in Wales were a post-16th century development. Prior to that time the prototype for the Welsh name was the patronymic, such as “Madog ap Jevan ap Jerwerth” (Madoc, son of Evan, son of Yorwerth). The system worked well in what was still mainly an oral culture.

However, English rule decreed English-style surnames and the English patronymic “-s” for “son of” began first in the English border counties and then in Wales. Welsh “P” surnames came from the “ap” roots, such as Price from “ap Rhys.”



Burton was born Richard Walter Jenkins Jr. on 10 November 1925 in a house at 2 Dan-y-bont in Pontrhydyfen, Glamorgan, Wales. [10] [11] He was the twelfth of thirteen children born into the Welsh-speaking family of Richard Walter Jenkins Sr. (1876–1957), and Edith Maude Jenkins (née Thomas 1883–1927). [12] Jenkins Sr., called Daddy Ni by the family, was a coal miner, while his mother worked as a barmaid at a pub called the Miner's Arms, which was also the place where she met and married her husband. [13] According to biographer Melvyn Bragg, Richard is quoted saying that Daddy Ni was a "twelve-pints-a-day man" who sometimes went off on drinking and gambling sprees for weeks, and that "he looked very much like me". [14] He remembered his mother to be "a very strong woman" and "a religious soul with fair hair and a beautiful face". [15]

Richard was barely two years old when his mother died on 31 October, six days after the birth of Graham, the family's thirteenth child. [11] Edith's death was a result of postpartum infections Richard believed it occurred due to "hygiene neglect". [16] According to biographer Michael Munn, Edith "was fastidiously clean", but that her exposure to the dust from the coal mines resulted in her death. [17] Following Edith's death, Richard's elder sister Cecilia, whom he affectionately addressed as "Cis", and her husband Elfed James, also a miner, took him under their care. Richard lived with Cis, Elfed and their two daughters, Marian and Rhianon, in their three bedroom terraced cottage on 73 Caradoc Street, Taibach, a suburban district in Port Talbot, which Bragg describes as "a tough steel town, English-speaking, grind and grime". [18] [19]

Richard remained forever grateful and loving to Cis throughout his life, later going on to say: "When my mother died she, my sister, had become my mother, and more mother to me than any mother could ever have been . I was immensely proud of her . she felt all tragedies except her own". Daddy Ni would occasionally visit the homes of his grown daughters but was otherwise absent. [20] Another important figure in Richard's early life was Ifor, his brother, 19 years his senior. A miner and rugby union player, Ifor "ruled the household with the proverbial firm hand". He was also responsible for nurturing a passion for rugby in young Richard. [21] Although Richard also played cricket, tennis, and table tennis, biographer Bragg notes rugby union football to be his greatest interest. On rugby, Richard said he "would rather have played for Wales at Cardiff Arms Park than Hamlet at The Old Vic". [22] The Welsh rugby union centre, Bleddyn Williams believed Richard "had distinct possibilities as a player". [23]

From the age of five to eight, Richard was educated at the Eastern Primary School while he attended the Boys' segment of the same school from eight to twelve years old. [24] [25] He took a scholarship exam for admission into Port Talbot Secondary School in March 1937 and passed it. [26] Biographer Hollis Alpert notes that both Daddy Ni and Ifor considered Richard's education to be "of paramount importance" and planned to send him to the University of Oxford. [27] Richard became the first member of his family to go to secondary school. [28] He displayed an excellent speaking and singing voice since childhood, even winning an eisteddfod prize as a boy soprano. [24] During his tenure at Port Talbot Secondary School, [a] Richard also showed immense interest in reading poetry as well as English and Welsh literature. [25] [29] He earned pocket money by running messages, hauling horse manure, and delivering newspapers. [30]

Philip Burton years

Richard was bolstered by winning the Eisteddfod Prize and wanted to repeat his success. He chose to sing Sir Arthur Sullivan's "Orpheus with his Lute" (1866), which biographer Alpert thought "a difficult composition". He requested the help of his schoolmaster, Philip Burton, [b] but his voice cracked during their practice sessions. This incident marked the beginning of his association with Philip. [32] Philip later recalled, "His voice was tough to begin with but with constant practice it became memorably beautiful." [33] Richard made his first foray into theatre with a minor role in his school's production of the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw's The Apple Cart. He decided to leave school by the end of 1941 and work as a miner as Elfed was not fit due to illness. He worked for the local wartime Co-operative committee, handing out supplies in exchange for coupons. He also simultaneously considered other professions for his future, including boxing, religion and singing. It was also during this period that Richard took up smoking and drinking despite being underage. [34]

Philip Burton in his 1992 autobiography Richard & Philip: The Burtons : a Book of Memories. [35]

When he joined the Port Talbot Squadron 499 of the Air Training Corps section of the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a cadet, he re-encountered Philip, who was the squadron commander. He also joined the Taibach Youth Center, a youth drama group founded by Meredith Jones [c] and led by Leo Lloyd, a steel worker and avid amateur thespian, who taught him the fundamentals of acting. Richard played the role of an escaped convict in Lloyd's play, The Bishop's Candlesticks, an adaptation of a section of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. The entire play did not have any dialogues, but Alpert noted that Richard "mimed his role". [36] Philip gave him a part in a radio documentary/adaptation of his play for BBC Radio, Youth at the Helm (1942). [37] [38] Seeing the talent Richard possessed, both Jones and Philip re-admitted him to school on 5 October 1942. [39] [d] Philip tutored his charge intensely in school subjects, and also worked at developing the youth's acting voice, including outdoor voice drills which improved his projection. [41] Richard called the experience "the most hardworking and painful period" in his life. [42] Philip called Richard "my son to all intents and purposes. I was committed to him", [40] while Burton later wrote of Philip, "I owe him everything". [38]

In autumn of 1943, Philip planned to adopt Richard, but was not able to do so as he was 20 days too young to be 21 years older than his ward, a legal requirement. As a result, Richard became Philip's legal ward and changed his surname to "Richard Burton", after Philip's own surname, by means of deed poll, which Richard's father accepted. [38] [43] It was also in 1943 that Richard qualified for admission into a University after excelling in the School Certificate Examination. Philip requested Richard to study at Exeter College, Oxford as a part of a six-month scholarship program offered by the RAF for qualified cadets prior to active service. [44]

Early career and service in the RAF (1943–1947)

In 1943, Burton played Professor Henry Higgins in a school production of another Shaw play directed by Philip, Pygmalion. The role won him favourable reviews and caught the attention of the dramatist, Emlyn Williams, who offered Burton a small role of the lead character's elder brother, Glan, in his play The Druid's Rest. [45] The play debuted at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool on 22 November 1943, and later premiered in St Martin's Theatre, London in January 1944. Burton thought the role was "a nothing part" and that he "hardly spoke at all". He was paid ten pounds a week for playing the role (equivalent to £444 in 2019), which was "three times what the miners got". [46] Alpert states that the play garnered mixed critical reviews, but James Redfern of the New Statesman took notice of Burton's performance and wrote: "In a wretched part, Richard Burton showed exceptional ability." Burton noted that single sentence from Redfern changed his life. [47]

During his tenure at Exeter College, Burton featured as "the complicated sex-driven puritan" Angelo in the Oxford University Dramatic Society's 1944 production of William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. [e] The play was directed by Burton's English literature professor, Nevill Coghill, and was performed at the college in the presence of additional contributors to West End theatre including John Gielgud, Terence Rattigan and Binkie Beaumont. On Burton's performance, fellow actor and friend, Robert Hardy recalled, "There were moments when he totally commanded the audience by this stillness. And the voice which would sing like a violin and with a bass that could shake the floor." Gielgud appreciated Burton's performance and Beaumont, who knew about Burton's work in The Druid's Rest, suggested that he "look him up" after completing his service in the RAF if he still wanted to pursue acting as a profession. [49]

In late 1944, Burton successfully completed his six-month scholarship at Exeter College, Oxford, and went to the RAF classification examinations held in Torquay to train as a pilot. He was disqualified for pilot training due to his eyesight being below par, and was classified as a navigator trainee. [50] He served the RAF as navigator for three years, [51] during which he performed an assignment as Aircraftman 1st Class in a Wiltshire-based RAF Hospital [52] and was posted to the RAF base in Carberry, Manitoba, Canada to work as in instructor. [53] Burton's habits of drinking and smoking increased during this period he was involved in a brief casual affair with actress Eleanor Summerfield. [54] [f] Burton was cast in an uncredited and unnamed role of a bombing officer by BBC Third Programme in a 1946 radio adaptation of In Parenthesis, an epic poem of the First World War by David Jones. [55] [57] [g] Burton was discharged from the RAF on 16 December 1947. [51]

Rise through the ranks and film debut (1948–1951)

In 1948, Burton moved to London to make contact with H. M. Tennent Ltd., where he again met Beaumont, who put him under a contract of £500 per year (£10 a week). [61] Daphne Rye, the casting director for H. M. Tennent Ltd., offered Burton rooms on the top floor of her house in Pelham Crescent, London as a place for him to stay. [62] [63] Rye cast Burton in a minor role as a young officer, Mr. Hicks, in Castle Anna (1948), a drama set in Ireland. [64]

While touring with the cast and crew members of Wynyard Browne's Dark Summer, Burton was called by Emlyn Williams for a screen test for his film, The Last Days of Dolwyn (1949). [65] Burton performed the screen test for the role of Gareth, which Williams wrote especially for him, and was subsequently selected when Williams sent him a telegram that quoted a line from The Corn Is Green — "You have won the scholarship." This led to Burton making his mainstream film debut. [65] Filming took place during the summer and early autumn months of 1948. It was on the sets of this film that Burton was introduced by Williams to Sybil Williams, whom he married on 5 February 1949 at a register office in Kensington. [66] The Last Days of Dolwyn opened to generally positive critical reviews. Burton was praised for his "acting fire, manly bearing and good looks" [67] and film critic Philip French of The Guardian called it an "impressive movie debut". [68] After marrying Sybil, Burton moved to his new address at 6 Lyndhurst Road, Hampstead NW3, where he lived from 1949 to 1956. [69]

Pleased with the feedback Burton received for his performance in The Last Days of Dolwyn, the film's co-producer Alexander Korda offered him a contract at a stipend of £100 a week (equivalent to £3,559 in 2019), which he signed. The contract enabled Korda to lend Burton to films produced by other companies. [70] Throughout the late 1940s and early 50s, Burton acted in small parts in various British films such as Now Barabbas (1949) with Richard Greene and Kathleen Harrison, The Woman with No Name (1950) opposite Phyllis Calvert, Waterfront (1950) with Harrison he had a bigger part as Robert Hammond, a spy for a newspaper editor in Green Grow the Rushes (1951) alongside Honor Blackman. [71] His performance in Now Barabbas received positive feedback from critics. C. A. Lejeune of The Observer believed Burton had "all the qualities of a leading man that the British film industry badly needs at this juncture: youth, good looks, a photogenic face, obviously alert intelligence and a trick of getting the maximum effort with the minimum of fuss". [72] For The Woman With No Name, a critic from The New York Times thought Burton "merely adequate" in his role of the Norwegian aviator, Nick Chamerd. [71] [73] Biographer Bragg states the reviews for Burton's performance in Waterfront were "not bad", and that Green Grow the Rushes was a box office bomb. [72]

Gielgud on Burton's acting. [74]

Rye recommended Richard to director Peter Glenville for the part of Hephaestion in Rattigan's play about Alexander the Great, Adventure Story, in 1949. The play was directed by Glenville and starred the then up-and-coming actor Paul Scofield as the titular character. Glenville, however, rejected him as he felt that Burton was too short compared to Scofield. [75] [h] Rye came to the rescue again by sending Burton to audition for a role in The Lady's Not for Burning, a play by Christopher Fry and directed by Gielgud. The lead roles were played by Gielgud himself, and Pamela Brown, while Burton played a supporting role as Richard alongside the then-relatively unknown actress Claire Bloom. [76] [77] Gielgud was initially uncertain about selecting Burton and asked him to come back the following day to repeat his audition. Burton got the part the second time he auditioned for the role. He was paid £15 a week for the part, which was five more than what Beaumont was paying him. [78] [i] After getting the part, he pushed for a raise in his salary from £10 to £30 a week with Williams' assistance, in addition to the £100 Korda paid him Beaumont accepted it after much persuasion. [80] Bloom was impressed with Burton's natural way of acting, noting that "he just was" and went further by saying "He was recognisably a star, a fact he didn't question." [81]

The play opened at the Globe Theatre in May 1949 and had a successful run in London for a year. [82] Writer and journalist Samantha Ellis of The Guardian, in her overview of the play, thought critics found Burton to be "most authentic" for his role. [83] Gielgud took the play to Broadway in the United States, where it opened at the Royale Theatre on 8 November 1950. Theatre critic Brooks Atkinson appreciated the performances and praised the play's "hard glitter of wit and skepticism", while describing Fry as precocious with "a touch of genius". [84] [85] The play ran on Broadway until 17 March 1951, and received the New York Drama Critics' Circle award for the Best Foreign Play of 1951. [86] Burton received the Theatre World Award for his performance, his first major award. [77] [87]

Burton went on to feature in two more plays by Fry — The Boy With A Cart and A Phoenix Too Frequent. The former opened at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in February 1950, while the latter premiered at the Dolphin Theatre, Brighton the following month. [88] Gielgud, who also directed The Boy With A Cart, said that Burton's role in the play "was one of the most beautiful performances" he had ever seen. [89] During its month-long run, Anthony Quayle, who was on the lookout for a young actor to star as Prince Hal in his adaptations of Henry IV, Part I and Henry IV, Part 2 as a part of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre season for the Festival of Britain, came to see the play and as soon as he beheld Burton, he found his man and got his agreement to play the parts. [90] Both plays opened in 1951 at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon to mixed reviews, but Burton received acclaim for his role as Prince Hal, with many critics dubbing him "the next Laurence Olivier". [91] Theatre critic and dramaturg Kenneth Tynan said of his performance, "His playing of Prince Hal turned interested speculation to awe almost as soon as he started to speak in the first intermission local critics stood agape in the lobbies." [92] He was also praised by Humphrey Bogart and his wife Lauren Bacall after both saw the play. Bacall later said of him: "He was just marvellous [. ] Bogie loved him. We all did." [92] Burton celebrated his success by buying his first car, a Standard Flying Fourteen, and enjoyed a drink with Bogart at a pub called The Dirty Duck. [93] Philip too was happy with the progress his ward made and that he felt "proud, humble, and awed by god's mysterious ways". [94]

Burton went on to perform in Henry V as the titular character, and played Ferdinand in The Tempest as a part of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre season as well. Neither role was overwhelmingly received by the critics, with a reviewer saying "he lacked inches" as Henry V. Olivier defended Burton by retaliating that he too received the same kind of review by the same critic for the same role. [95] His last play in 1951 was as a musician named Orphée in Jean Anouilh's Eurydice opposite Dorothy McGuire and fellow Welsh actor Hugh Griffith. The play, retitled as Legend of Lovers, opened in the Plymouth Theatre, New York City and ran for only a week, but critics were kind to Burton, with Bob Francis of Billboard magazine finding him "excellent as the self-tortured young accordionist". [96] [97]

Hollywood and The Old Vic (1952–1954)

Burton began 1952 by starring alongside Noel Willman in the title role of Emmanuel Roblès adventure Montserrat, which opened on 8 April at the Lyric Hammersmith. The play only ran for six weeks but Burton once again won praises from critics. According to Bragg, some of the critics who watched the performance considered it to be Burton's "most convincing role" till then. [98] Tynan lauded Burton's role of Captain Montserrat, noting that he played it "with a variousness which is amazing when you consider that it is really little more than a protracted exposition of smouldering dismay". [99]

Burton successfully made the transition to Hollywood on the recommendation of film director George Cukor [j] when he was given the lead role in the Gothic romance film, My Cousin Rachel (1952) opposite Olivia de Havilland. Darryl F. Zanuck, co-founder of 20th Century Fox, negotiated a deal with Korda to loan Burton to the company for three films as well as pay Burton a total of $150,000 ($50,000 per film). [102] De Havilland did not get along well with Burton during filming, calling him "a coarse-grained man with a coarse-grained charm and a talent not completely developed, and a coarse-grained behavior [sic] which makes him not like anyone else". One of Burton's friends opined it may have been due to Burton making remarks at her that she did not find to be in good taste. [103] [k] While shooting the film, Burton was offered the role of Mark Antony in Julius Caesar (1953) by the production company, Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), but Burton refused it to avoid schedule conflicts. [104] The role subsequently went to Marlon Brando for which he earned a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. [104] [105] [106] Based on the 1951 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier, My Cousin Rachel is about a man who suspects his rich cousin was murdered by his wife in order to inherit his wealth, but ends up falling in love with her, despite his suspicions. [107] Upon release, the film was a decent grosser at the box office, [108] and Burton's performance received mostly excellent reviews. [100] Bosley Crowther, writing for The New York Times, appreciated Burton's emotional performance, describing it as "most fetching" he called him "the perfect hero of Miss du Maurier's tale". [109] The Los Angeles Daily News reviewer stated "young Burton registers with an intense performance that stamps him as an actor of great potential". Conversely, a critic from the Los Angeles Examiner labelled Burton as "terribly, terribly tweedy". [100] The film earned Burton the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor and his first Academy Award nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category. [110] [111]

The year 1953 marked an important turning point in Burton's career. [112] He arrived in Hollywood at a time when the studio system was struggling. The rise of television was drawing viewers away and the studios looked to new stars and film technologies to tempt viewers back to cinemas. [113] He first appeared in the war film The Desert Rats with James Mason, playing an English captain in the North African campaign during World War II who takes charge of a hopelessly out-numbered Australian unit against the indomitable German field marshal, Erwin Rommel, who was portrayed by Mason. The film received generally good reviews from critics in London, although they complained the British contribution to the campaign had been minimised. [114] The critic from Variety magazine thought Burton was "excellent" while The New York Times reviewer noted his "electric portrayal of the hero" made the film look "more than a plain, cavalier apology". [115] [116] Burton and Sybil became good friends with Mason and his wife Pamela Mason, and stayed at their residence until Burton returned home to the UK in June 1953 in order to play Prince Hamlet as a part of The Old Vic 1953–54 season. [117] This was to be the first time in his career he took up the role. [88]

Burton's second and final film of the year was in the Biblical epic historical drama, The Robe, notable for being the first ever motion picture to be made in CinemaScope. [118] [l] He replaced Tyrone Power, who was originally cast in the role of Marcellus Gallio, a noble but decadent Roman military tribune in command of the detachment of Roman soldiers that were involved in crucifying Jesus Christ. Haunted by nightmares of the crucifixion, he is eventually led to his own conversion. Marcellus' Greek slave Demetrius (played by Victor Mature) guides him as a spiritual teacher, and his wife Diana (played by Jean Simmons) follows his lead. The film set a trend for Biblical epics such as Ben-Hur (1959). [112] Based on Lloyd C. Douglas' 1942 historical novel of the same name, The Robe was well received at the time of its release, but contemporary reviews have been less favourable. [120] [121] Variety magazine termed the performances of the lead cast "effective" and complemented the fight sequences between Burton and Jeff Morrow. [122] Crowther believed that Burton was "stalwart, spirited and stern" as Marcellus. [123] Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader called The Robe "pious claptrap". [124] The film was a commercial success, grossing $17 million against a $5 million budget, and Burton received his second Best Actor nomination at the 26th Academy Awards. [106] [125]

— Burton's first impression of Elizabeth Taylor. [126]

Bolstered by The Robe ' s box office collections, Zanuck offered Burton a seven-year, seven-picture $1 million contract (equivalent to $9,745,614 in 2020), but he politely turned it down as he was planning to head home to portray Hamlet at The Old Vic. Zanuck threatened to force Burton into cutting the deal, but the duo managed to come to a compromise when Burton agreed to a less binding contract, also for seven years and seven films at $1 million, that would begin only after he returned from his stint at The Old Vic's 1953–54 season. [127] [m] The incident spread like wildfire and his decision to walk out on a million dollar contract for a stipend of £150 a week at The Old Vic was met with both appreciation and surprise. [129] Bragg believed Burton defied the studio system with this act when it would have been tantamount to unemployment for him. [130] Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper considered Burton's success in his first three films in Hollywood to be "the most exciting success story since Gregory Peck's contracts of ten years back". [104] [130]

At a party held at Simmons' residence in Bel Air, Los Angeles to celebrate the success of The Robe, Burton met Elizabeth Taylor for the first time. Taylor, who at the time was married to actor Michael Wilding and was pregnant with their first child, recalled her first impression of Burton being "rather full of himself. I seem to remember that he never stopped talking, and I had given him the cold fish eye." [131] Hamlet was a challenge that both terrified and attracted him, as it was a role many of his peers in the British theatre had undertaken, including Gielgud and Olivier. [132] He shared his anxiety with de Havilland whilst coming to terms with her. Bogart too, didn't make it easy for him when he retorted: "I never knew a man who played Hamlet who didn't die broke." [133]

Notwithstanding, Burton began his thirty-nine-week tenure at The Old Vic by rehearsing for Hamlet in July 1953, with Philip providing expert coaching on how to make Hamlet's character match Burton's dynamic acting style. [134] Burton reunited with Bloom, who played Ophelia. [135] Hamlet opened at the Assembly Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland in September 1953 as part of The Old Vic season during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. [136] The play and Burton's Hamlet were, on the whole, well received, with critics describing his interpretation of the character as "moody, virile and baleful" and that he had "dash, attack and verve". [137] Burton's Hamlet was quite popular with the young audience, who came to watch the play in numbers as they were quite taken with the aggressiveness with which he portrayed the role. Burton also received appreciation from Winston Churchill. [138] Gielgud was not too happy with Burton's Hamlet and asked him while both were backstage: "Shall I go ahead and wait until you're better. ah, I mean ready?" Burton picked up the hint and infused some of Gielgud's traits to his own in later performances as Hamlet. [139] [n] A greater success followed in the form of the Roman General Gaius Marcius Coriolanus in Coriolanus. At first, Burton refused to play Coriolanus as he didn't like the character's initial disdain for the poor and the downtrodden. Michael Benthall, who was renowned for his association with Tyrone Guthrie in a 1944 production of Hamlet, sought Philip's help to entice Burton into accepting it. Philip convinced Burton by making him realise that it was Coriolanus' "lack of ambivalence" which made him an admirable character. [141] Burton received even better reviews for Coriolanus than Hamlet. Hardy thought Burton's Hamlet was "too strong" but that "His Coriolanus is quite easily the best I've ever seen." Olivier too agreed it was the greatest Coriolanus he had ever seen till then. [142]

Burton's other roles for the season were Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, Caliban in The Tempest and Philip of Cognac in King John. [143] All five of Burton's plays were directed by Benthall three of those plays featured Bloom. [88] While Belch was considered "disappointing" due to Burton not putting on the proper make-up for the part, his reviews for Caliban and Philip of Cognac were positive. [144] Alpert believed Burton's presence made the 1953–54 season of The Old Vic a commercial success. [138] Burton was an ardent admirer of poet Dylan Thomas since his boyhood days. On the poet's death on 9 November 1953, he wrote an essay about him and took the time to do a 1954 BBC Radio play on one of his final works, Under Milk Wood, where he voiced the First Voice in an all-Welsh cast. [145] [146] The entire cast of the radio play, including Burton, did their roles free of charge. [145] Burton reprised his role in the play's 1972 film adaptation with Taylor. [71] [146] Burton was also involved in narrating Lindsay Anderson's short documentary film about The Royal School for the Deaf in Margate, Thursday's Children (1954). [147]

Setback in films and on-stage fame (1955–1959)

After The Old Vic season ended, Burton's contract with Fox required him to do three more films. The first was Prince of Players (1955), where he was cast as the 19th-century Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth, who was John Wilkes Booth's brother. Maggie McNamara played Edwin's wife, Mary Devlin Booth. [148] Philip thought the script was "a disgrace" to Burton's name. [149] The film's director Philip Dunne observed, "He hadn't mastered yet the tricks of the great movie stars, such as Gary Cooper, who knew them all. The personal magnetism Richard had on the sound stage didn't come through the camera." [150] This was one aspect that troubled Richard throughout his career on celluloid. The film flopped at the box office and has since been described as "the first flop in CinemaScope". [151] Crowther, however, lauded Burton's scenes where he performed Shakespeare plays such as Richard III. [152]

Shortly after the release of Prince of Players, Burton met director Robert Rossen, who was well known at the time for his Academy Award-winning film, All the King's Men (1949). Rossen planned to cast Burton in Alexander the Great (1956) as the eponymous character. Burton accepted Rossen's offer after the director reassured him he had been studying the Macedonian king for two years to make sure the film was historically accurate. Burton was loaned by Fox to the film's production company United Artists, which paid him a fee of $100,000 (equivalent to $951,897 in 2020). Alexander the Great was made mostly in Spain during February 1955 and July 1955 on a budget of $6 million. The film reunited Burton with Bloom and it was also the first film he made with her. Bloom played the role of Barsine, the daughter of Artabazos II of Phrygia, and one of Alexander's three wives. Fredric March, Danielle Darrieux, Stanley Baker, Michael Hordern and William Squire were respectively cast as Philip II of Macedon, Olympias, Attalus, Demosthenes and Aeschines. [153]

After the completion of Alexander the Great, Burton had high hopes for a favourable reception of the "intelligent epic", and went back to complete his next assignment for Fox, Jean Negulesco's The Rains of Ranchipur (1955). In this remake of Fox's own 1939 film The Rains Came, Burton played a Hindu doctor, Rama Safti, who falls in love with Lady Edwina Esketh (Lana Turner), an invitee of the Maharani of the fictional town of Ranchipur. [154] Burton faced the same troubles with playing character roles as before with Belch. [155] The Rains of Ranchipur released on 16 December 1955, three months before Alexander the Great rolled out on 28 March 1956. [156] [157] Contrary to Burton's expectations, both the films were critical and commercial failures, and he rued his decision to act in them. [154] [158] Time magazine critic derided The Rains of Ranchipur and even went as far as to say Richard was hardly noticeable in the film. [159] A. H. Weiler of The New York Times, however, called Burton's rendering of Alexander "serious and impassioned". [160]

Burton returned to The Old Vic to perform Henry V for a second time. The Benthall-directed production opened in December 1955 to glowing reviews and was a much-needed triumph for Burton. [161] Tynan made it official by famously saying Burton was now "the next successor to Olivier". [162] The reviewer from The Times began by pointing out the deficiencies in Burton's previous rendition of the character in 1951 before stating:

Mr. Burton's progress as an actor is such that already he is able to make good all the lacks of a few short years ago . what was greatly metallic has been transformed into a steely strength which becomes the martial ring and hard brilliance of the patriotic verse. There now appears a romantic sense of a high kingly mission and the clear cognisance of the capacity to fulfil it . the whole performance — a mostly satisfying one — is firmly under the control of the imagination. [163]

In January 1956, the London Evening Standard honoured Burton by presenting to him its Theatre Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Henry V. [164] His success in and as Henry V led him to be called the "Welsh Wizard". [165] Henry V was followed by Benthall's adaptation of Othello in February 1956, where he alternated on successive openings between the roles of Othello and Iago with John Neville. As Othello, Burton received both praise for his dynamism and criticism with being less poetical with his dialogues, while he was acclaimed as Iago. [166]

Burton's stay at The Old Vic was cut short when he was approached by the Italian neorealist director Roberto Rossellini for Fox's Sea Wife (1957), a drama set in World War II about a nun and three men marooned on an island after the ship they travel on is torpedoed by a U-boat. Joan Collins, who played the nun, was his co-star. Burton's role was that of an RAF officer who develops romantic feelings for the nun. [159] Rossellini was informed by Zanuck not to have any kissing scenes between Burton and Collins, which Rossellini found unnatural this led to him walking out of the film and being replaced by Bob McNaught, one of the executive producers. [167] [168] According to Collins, Burton had a "take-the-money-and-run attitude" toward the film. [169] Sea Wife was not a successful venture, with biographer Munn observing that his salary was the only positive feature that came from the film. [170] Philip saw it and said he was "ashamed" that it added another insult to injury in Burton's career. [171]

After Sea Wife, Burton next appeared as the British Army Captain Jim Leith in Nicholas Ray's Bitter Victory (1957). [172] Burton admired Ray's Rebel Without A Cause (1955) and was excited about working with him, [173] but unfortunately despite positive feedback, Bitter Victory tanked as well. [174] [175] By mid-1957, Burton had no further offers in his kitty. He could not return to the UK because of his self-imposed exile from taxation, and his fortunes in film were dwindling. [173] It was then that film producer and screenwriter Milton Sperling offered Burton to star alongside Helen Hayes and Susan Strasberg in Patricia Moyes' adaptation of Jean Anouilh's play, Time Remembered (Léocadia in the original French version). [176] Sensing an opportunity for a career resurgence, Burton readily agreed to do the role of Prince Albert, who falls in love with a milliner named Amanda (Strasberg). [173] It was on 10 September 1957, a day before he left for New York, that Sybil gave birth to their first child, Kate Burton. [172] Time Remembered was well received on its opening nights at Broadway's Morosco Theatre and also at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. [177] [178] The play went on to have a good run of 248 performances for six months. Burton received his first Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play nomination while Hayes won her second Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her role as Burton's mother, The Duchess of Pont-Au-Bronc. [179]

In 1958, Burton appeared with Yvonne Furneaux in DuPont Show of the Month's 90-minute television adaptation of Emily Brontë's classic novel Wuthering Heights as Heathcliff. [180] The film, directed by Daniel Petrie, [181] aired on 9 May 1958 on CBS with Burton garnering plaudits from both the critics and Philip, who thought he was "magnificent" in it. [182] [183]

Burton next featured as Jimmy Porter, "an angry young man" role, in the film version of John Osborne's play Look Back in Anger (1959), a gritty drama about middle-class life in the British Midlands, directed by Tony Richardson, again with Claire Bloom as co-star. Biographer Bragg observed that Look Back in Anger "had defined a generation, provided a watershed in Britain's view of itself and brought [Osborne] into the public prints as a controversial, dangerous figure". [184] Burton was able to identify himself with Porter, finding it "fascinating to find a man who came presumably from my sort of class, who actually could talk the way I would like to talk". [185] The film, and Burton's performance, received mixed reviews upon release. [186] Biographer Alpert noted that though reviews in the UK were favourable, those in the United States were more negative. [187] Crowther wrote of Burton: "His tirades are eloquent but tiring, his breast beatings are dramatic but dull and his occasional lapses into sadness are pathetic but endurable." [188] Geoff Andrew of Time Out magazine felt Burton was too old for the part, [189] and the Variety reviewer thought "the role gives him little opportunity for variety". [190] Contemporary reviews of the film have been better and it has a rating of 89% on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. [191] Look Back in Anger is now considered one of the defining films of the British New Wave cinema, a movement from the late 1950s to the late 1960s in which working-class characters became the focus of the film and conflict of social classes a central theme. [192] Jimmy Porter is also considered as one of Burton's best on-screen roles [193] he was nominated in the Best Actor categories at the BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards but lost to Peter Sellers for I'm All Right Jack (1959) and Anthony Franciosa for Career (1959) respectively. [194] [195] Though it didn't do well commercially, Burton was proud of the effort and wrote to Philip, "I promise you that there isn't a shred of self-pity in my performance. I am for the first time ever looking forward to seeing a film in which I play." [196] While filming Look Back in Anger, Burton did another play for BBC Radio, participating in two versions, one in Welsh and another in English, of Welsh poet Saunders Lewis' Brad, which was about the 20 July plot. Burton voiced one of the conspirators, Caesar von Hofacker. [197]

Broadway, Hamlet and films with Elizabeth Taylor (1960–1969)

In 1960, Burton appeared in two films for Warner Bros., neither of which were successful: The Bramble Bush which reunited him with his Wuthering Heights director Petrie, and Vincent Sherman's adaptation of Edna Ferber's Ice Palace. [198] Burton called the latter a "piece of shit". [187] He received a fee of $125,000 for both films. [198] Burton's next appearance was as the stammering secularist, George Holyoake in BBC's documentary-style television adaptation of John Osborne's A Subject of Scandal and Concern. [199] [200] According to Osborne's biographer Luc Gilleman, the film garnered little attention. [201] Burton returned to the United States for the filming of John Frankenheimer's television adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's The Fifth Column. He also provided narration for 26 episodes of The Valiant Years, an American Broadcasting Company (ABC) series based on Winston Churchill's memoirs. [202]

Burton made a triumphant return to the stage with Moss Hart's 1960 Broadway production of Camelot as King Arthur. [203] The play, written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, had Julie Andrews fresh from her triumph in My Fair Lady playing Guinevere, and Robert Goulet as Lancelot completing the love triangle. [204] Roddy McDowall played the villainous Mordred. [205] Hart first came up with the proposal to Burton after learning from Lerner about his ability to sing. Burton consulted Olivier on whether he should take the role, which came with a stipend of $4,000 a week. Olivier pointed out this salary was good and that he should accept the offer. [187] The production was troubled, with both Loewe and Hart falling ill and the pressure was building due to great expectations and huge advance sales. The show's running time was nearly five hours. Burton's intense preparation and competitive desire to succeed served him well. [206] He immediately drafted Philip, who revised the musical's script and cut its running time to three hours while also incorporating three new songs. [207] Burton was generous and supportive to everyone throughout the production and coached the understudies himself. According to Lerner, "he kept the boat from rocking, and Camelot might never have reached New York if it hadn't been for him". [206] Burton's reviews were excellent, with the critic from Time magazine observing that Richard "gives Arthur the skillful and vastly appealing performance that might be expected from one of England's finest young actors". [208] Broadway theatre reviewer Walter Kerr noted Richard's syllables, "sing, the account of his wrestling the stone from the sword becomes a bravura passage of house-hushing brilliance" and complemented his duets with Andrews, finding Burton's rendition to possess "a sly and fretful and mocking accent to take care of the humor [sic] without destroying the man". [208]

However, on the whole the play initially received mixed reviews on its opening at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway and was slow to earn money. [208] Advance sales managed to keep Camelot running for three months until a twenty-minute extract was broadcast on The Ed Sullivan Show [o] which helped Camelot achieve great success, and an unprecedented three-year run overall from 1960 to 1963. [209] Its success led to Burton being called "The King of Broadway", and he went on to receive the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. [209] [210] The original soundtrack of the musical topped the Billboard charts throughout 1961 after its release at the end of 1960. [211] John F. Kennedy, who was then the President of the United States, reportedly enjoyed the play and invited Burton to the White House for a visit. [212] In 1962, Burton appeared as Officer David Campbell, an RAF fighter pilot in The Longest Day, which included a large ensemble cast featuring: McDowall, George Segal, Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Mel Ferrer, Robert Mitchum, Rod Steiger and Sean Connery. [213] [214] The same year he provided narration for the Jack Howells documentary Dylan Thomas. The short won the Best Documentary Short Subject at the 35th Academy Awards ceremony. [215] [216]

After performing Camelot for six months, in July 1961, Burton met producer Walter Wanger who asked him to replace Stephen Boyd as Mark Antony in director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's magnum opus Cleopatra. [217] Burton was paid $250,000 for four months work in the film (equivalent to $2,113,315 in 2020). The gigantic scale of the film's troubled production, Taylor's bouts of illness and fluctuating weight, Burton's off-screen relationship with the actress, (which he gave the sardonic nickname "Le Scandale") all generated enormous publicity [218] [p] Life magazine proclaimed it the "Most Talked About Movie Ever Made". [224] Fox's future appeared to hinge on what became the most expensive movie ever made until then, with costs reaching almost $40 million. [217] During filming, Burton met and fell in love with Elizabeth Taylor, who was then married to Eddie Fisher. According to Alpert, at their first meeting on the set while posing for their publicity photographs, Burton said, "Has anyone ever told you that you're a very pretty girl?" Taylor later recalled, "I said to myself, Oy gevalt, here's the great lover, the great wit, the great intellectual of Wales, and he comes out with a line like that." [225] Bragg contradicts Alpert by pointing out that Burton could not stand Taylor at first, calling her "Miss Tits" and opined to Mankiewicz, "I expect she shaves" he saw her simply as another celebrity with no acting talent. All that changed when, in their first scene together, Burton was shaky and forgot his lines, and she soothed and helped him it was at this instance, according to Taylor, that she fell for him. [226] Soon the affair began in earnest both Fisher and Sybil were unable to bear it. While Fisher fled the sets for Gstaad, Sybil went first to Céligny and then headed off to London. [227] Olivier, shocked by Burton's affair with Taylor, cabled him: "Make up your mind, dear heart. Do you want to be a great actor or a household word?". Burton replied "Both". [228] [229]

Cleopatra was finally released on 11 June 1963 with a run time of 243 minutes, to polarising reviews. [222] [230] [q] The Time magazine critic found the film, "riddled with flaws, [lacking] style both in image and in action" and that Burton "staggers around looking ghastly and spouting irrelevance". [222] [232] In a contradictory review, Crowther termed the film "generally brilliant, moving, and satisfying" and thought Burton was "exciting as the arrogant Antony". [233] Richard Brody of The New Yorker commented positively on the chemistry between Burton and Taylor, describing it as "entrancing in the movie’s drama as it was in life". [234] Cleopatra grossed over $26 million (equivalent to $219,784,783 in 2020), becoming one of the highest-grossing films of 1963. [222] It was not enough to prevent Fox from entering bankruptcy. The studio sued Burton and Taylor for allegedly damaging the film's prospects at the box office with their behaviour, but it proved unsuccessful. [235] Cleopatra was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning for Best Production Design, Best Costume Design and Best Visual Effects. [236]

The film marked the beginning of a series of collaborations with Taylor, in addition to making Burton one of the Top 10 box office draws until 1967. [237] Burton played her tycoon husband Paul Andros in Anthony Asquith's The V.I.P.s (1963), an ensemble cast film described by Alpert as a "kind of Grand Hotel story" that was set in the VIP lounge of London Heathrow Airport [238] it proved to be a box-office hit despite mixed reviews. [239] It was after The V.I.P.s that Burton became considerably more selective about his roles he credited Taylor for this as he simply acted in films "to get rich" and she "made me see what kind of rubbish I was doing". [240] Burton divorced Sybil in April 1963 after completing The V.I.P.s while Taylor was granted divorce from Fisher on 6 March 1964. [3] [241] Taylor then took a two-year hiatus from films until her next venture with Burton, The Sandpiper (1965). [3] [242] The supercouple, dubbed "Liz and Dick" by the press, continued starring together in films in the mid-1960s, earning a combined $88 million over the next decade and spending $65 million. [243] Regarding their earnings, in a 1976 interview with Lester David and Jhan Robbins of The Ledger, Burton stated that "they say we generate more business activity than one of the smaller African nations" and that the couple "often outspent" the Greek business tycoon Aristotle Onassis. [244]

In 1964, Burton portrayed Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury who was martyred by Henry II of England, in the film adaptation of Jean Anouilh's historical play Becket. Both Alpert and historian Alex von Tunzelmann noted Burton gave an effective, restrained performance, contrasting with co-actor and friend Peter O'Toole's manic portrayal of Henry. [245] [246] Burton asked the film's director, Peter Glenville, not to oust him from the project like he had done for Adventure Story before accepting the role of Becket. [246] [247] Writing for The Christian Science Monitor, Peter Rainer labelled Burton as "extraordinary". [248] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times appreciated Burton's on-screen chemistry with O'Toole and thought his portrayal of Becket served as "a reminder of how fine an actor Burton was". [249] The film received twelve Oscar nominations, including Best Actor for both Burton and O'Toole they lost to Harrison for My Fair Lady (1964). [250] Burton and O'Toole also received nominations for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama at the 22nd Golden Globe Awards, with O'Toole emerging victorious. [251] Burton's triumph at the box office continued with his next appearance as the defrocked clergyman Dr. T. Lawrence Shannon in Tennessee Williams' The Night of the Iguana (1964) directed by John Huston the film was also critically well received. [252] [253] Alpert believed Burton's success was due to how well he varied his acting with the three female characters, each of whom he tries to seduce differently: Ava Gardner (the randy hotel owner), Sue Lyon (the nubile American tourist), and Deborah Kerr (the poor, repressed artist). [212] The success of Becket and The Night of the Iguana led Time magazine to term him "the new Mr. Box Office". [254]

During the production of Becket, Burton went to watch Gielgud perform in the 1963 stage adaptation of Thornton Wilder's 1948 novel, The Ides of March. There he was confronted by Gielgud who asked what Burton planned to do as a part of the celebration of Shakespeare's quatercentenary. Burton told him he was approached by theatrical producer Alexander H. Cohen to do Hamlet in New York City. Burton had accepted Cohen's offer under the condition that Gielgud would direct it, which he convened to him. Gielgud agreed and soon production began in January 1964 after Burton had completed his work in Becket and The Night of the Iguana. [255] [r] Taking into account Burton's dislike for wearing period clothing, as well as fellow actor Harley Granville-Barker’s notion that the play was best approached as a "permanent rehearsal", Gielgud decided for Hamlet to be performed in a 'rehearsal' version with an incomplete set with the actors performing wearing their own clothes. Unaccustomed to this freedom, the cast found it hard to select the appropriate clothes and wore different attire day by day. After the first performance in Toronto, Gielgud decreed that the actors must wear capes as he felt it "lacked colour". In addition to being the play's director, Gielgud appeared as the Ghost of Hamlet's father. [257] According to Gielgud's biographer Jonathan Croall, Burton's basic reading of Hamlet was "a much more vigorous, extrovert" version of Gielgud's own performance in 1936. [258] Burton varied his interpretations of the character in later performances he even tried a homosexual Hamlet. [259]

When the play debuted at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York City, Burton garnered good reviews for his portrayal of a "bold and virile" Hamlet. [260] Howard Taubman of The New York Times called it "a performance of electrical power and sweeping virility", noting that he had never known or seen "a Hamlet of such tempestuous manliness". [261] A critic from Time magazine said that Burton "put his passion into Hamlet's language rather than the character. His acting is a technician's marvel. His voice has gem-cutting precision." [262] Walter Kerr felt that though Burton carried "a certain lack of feeling" in his performance, he appreciated Burton's "reverberating" vocal projections. [262] The opening night party was a lavish affair, attended by six hundred celebrities. [263] The play ran for 137 performances, beating the previous record set by Gielgud himself in 1936. [s] The most successful aspect of the production, apart from Burton's performance, was generally considered to be Hume Cronyn's performance as Polonius, winning him the only Tony Award he would ever receive in a competitive category. Burton himself was nominated for his second Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play but lost to Alec Guinness for his portrayal of the poet Dylan Thomas. [264] [267] The performance was immortalised in a film that was created by recording three live performances on camera from 30 June 1964 to 1 July 1964 using a process called Electronovision [268] it played in US theatres for a week in 1964. [269] The play was also the subject of books written by cast members William Redfield and Richard L. Sterne. [270]

Alfred Drake, who played King Claudius, on how Burton made variations to the character of Hamlet. [271]

Burton helped Taylor make her stage debut in A Poetry Reading, a recitation of poems by the couple as well as anecdotes and quotes from the plays Burton had participated in thus far. The idea was conceived by Burton as a benefit performance for his mentor Philip, whose conservatory, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, had fallen short of funds. [272] A Poetry Reading opened at the Lunt-Fontanne on 21 June 1964 to a packed house [273] the couple received a standing ovation at the end of their performance. [274] Burton remarked on Taylor's performance, "I didn't know she was going to be this good." [272] [t]

After Hamlet came to a close in August 1964, Burton and Taylor continued making films together. The first film after their marriage, The Sandpiper, was poorly received but still became a commercially successful venture. [277] According to Bragg, the films they made during the mid-1960s contained a lot of innuendos that referred directly to their private lives. [278] Burton went on to star opposite Claire Bloom and Oskar Werner in The Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1965), a Cold War espionage story about a British Intelligence agent, Alec Leamas (Burton), who is sent to East Germany on a mission to find and expose a mole working within his organisation for an East German Intelligence officer, Hans-Dieter Mundt (Peter van Eyck). Martin Ritt, the film's director and producer, wanted Burton's character to exhibit more anonymity, which meant no display of eloquent speeches or intense emotional moments. [279] [280] Bragg believed this decision worried Burton, as he had generated his reputation as an actor with those exact traits, and wondered how the film's would turn out. [281] Ritt, a non-drinker, was displeased with Burton's drinking habits as he felt it "lacked a certain discipline" and expected the same level of commitment from him as everyone else during filming. [282] In spite of their differences, Alpert notes that the film transpired well. [283] Based on the 1963 novel of the same name by John le Carré, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold garnered positive reviews, [280] with Fernando F. Croce of Slant Magazine describing Burton's performance as more of "tragic patsy than swashbuckler" and believed his scenes with Werner "have sharp doses of suspicion, cynicism and sadness". [284] Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader called the film "Grim, monotonous, and rather facile", he found Burton's role had "some honest poignancy". [285] Variety thought Burton fitted "neatly into the role of the apparently burned out British agent". [286] Burton also made a brief appearance the same year in Clive Donner's comedy What's New Pussycat? as a man who meets the womaniser Michael James (O'Toole) in a bar. [287]

In 1966, Burton and Taylor enjoyed their greatest on-screen success in Mike Nichols's film version of Edward Albee's black comedy play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, [202] [288] in which a bitter erudite couple trade vicious barbs in front of their guests, Nick (George Segal) and Honey (Sandy Dennis). [289] Burton wanted Taylor for the character of Martha "to stop everyone else from playing it". [290] He didn't want anyone else to do it as he thought it could be for Elizabeth what Hamlet was for him. [291] Burton was not the first choice for the role of George. Jack Lemmon was offered the role initially, but when he turned it down, Warner Bros. president Jack L. Warner agreed on Burton and paid him $750,000. [292] Nichols was hired to helm the project at Taylor's request, despite having never directed a film. [293] Albee preferred Bette Davis and James Mason for Martha and George respectively, fearing that the Burtons' strong screen presence would dominate the film. Instead, it proved to be what Alpert described as "the summit of both Richard's and Elizabeth's careers". [294]

The film's script, adapted from Albee's play by Ernest Lehman, broke new ground for its raw language and harsh depiction of marriage. [295] So immersed had the Burtons become in the roles of George and Martha over the months of shooting that, after it was wrapped up, he and Taylor found it difficult not to be George and Martha, "I feel rather lost." [296] Later the couple would state that the film took its toll on their relationship, and that Taylor was "tired of playing Martha" in real life. [297] Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? garnered critical acclaim, with film critic Stanley Kauffmann of The New York Times calling it "one of the most scathingly honest American films ever made". Kaufman observed Burton to be "utterly convincing as a man with a great lake of nausea in him, on which he sails with regret and compulsive amusement", and Taylor "does the best work of her career, sustained and urgent". [298] In her review for The New York Daily News, Kate Cameron thought Taylor "nothing less than brilliant as the shrewish, slovenly. blasphemous, frustrated, slightly wacky, alcoholic wife" while noting that the film gave Burton "a chance to display his disciplined art in the role of the victim of a wife's vituperative tongue". [299] However, Andrew Sarris of The Village Voice criticised Taylor, believing her performance "lack[ed] genuine warmth" but his review of Burton was more favourable, noting that he gave "a performance of electrifying charm". [300] Although all four actors received Academy Award nominations for their roles in the film, which received a total of thirteen nominations, only Taylor and Dennis went on to win. [301] Both Burton and Taylor won their first BAFTA Awards for Best British Actor and Best British Actress respectively the former also for his role in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. [302]

Burton and Taylor next performed a 1966 Oxford Playhouse adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus the couple did the play to benefit the Oxford University Dramatic Society and as a token of Burton's gratitude to Nevill Coghill. [303] Burton starred as the titular character, Doctor Faustus while Taylor played her first stage role as Helen of Troy, a non-speaking part. [304] The play received negative reviews but Burton's and Taylor's performances were reviewed constructively. Irving Wardle of The Times called it "University drama at its worst" while the American newspaper columnist John Crosby, in his review for The Observer, lauded Burton's speech where he asks God to be merciful, stating that: "It takes a great actor to deliver that speech without wringing a strangled sob of laughter out of one. But Burton did it." [305] The play nevertheless made $22,000 dollars, which Coghill was happy with. [306] Doctor Faustus was adapted for the screen the following year by both Burton and Coghill, with Burton making his directorial debut. He also co-produced the film with Taylor and Coghill it was critically panned and was a box office failure. [307] The couple's next collaboration was Franco Zeffirelli's lively version of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew (1967). [308] [309] The film was a challenge for Burton, who had to chase Taylor on rooftops, noting that he was "permitted to do extreme physical things that wouldn't have been allowed with any other actress". Zeffirelli recalled that Taylor, who had no prior experience performing in a Shakespeare play, "gave the more interesting performance because she invented the part from scratch". Of Burton, the director felt he was, to an extent, "affected by his knowledge of the classics". [308] The Taming of the Shrew also became a notable critical and commercial success. [310] He had another quick collaboration with Zeffirelli narrating the documentary, Florence: Days of Destruction, which was about the 1966 flood of the Arno that devastated the city of Florence, Italy the film raised $20 million for the flood relief efforts. [311] By the end of 1967, the combined box office gross of films Burton and Taylor had acted in had reached $200 million. [312] According to biographers John Cottrell and Fergus Cashin, when Burton and Taylor contemplated taking a three-month break from acting, Hollywood "almost had a nervous breakdown" as nearly half the U.S. cinema industry's income for films in theatrical distribution came from pictures starring one or both of them. [313] Later collaborations from the Burtons like The Comedians (1967), which was based on Graham Greene's 1966 novel of the same name, and the Tennessee Williams adaptation Boom! (1968) were critical and commercial failures. [314]

In 1969, Burton enjoyed a commercial blockbuster with Clint Eastwood in the World War II action film Where Eagles Dare [312] he received a $1 million fee plus a share of the film's box office gross. [315] According to his daughter Kate Burton, “He did that one for us kids, because we kept asking him, 'Can you do a fun movie that we can go see? ' " [316] Eastwood thought the script "terrible" and was "all exposition and complications". [317] He asked the film's producer Elliott Kastner and its screenwriter Alistair MacLean to be given less dialogue, later remarking "I just stood around firing my machine gun while Burton handled the dialogue." [317] [318] Burton enjoyed working with Eastwood and said of the picture that he "did all the talking and [Eastwood] did all the killing". [318] Burton's last film of the decade, Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) for which he was paid $1.25 million, (equivalent to $8,821,461 in 2020) [319] was commercially successful but garnered mixed opinions from reviewers. [320] [321] Noted British film critic Tom Milne of Time Out magazine believed that Burton "plays throughout on a monotonous note of bluff ferocity". [322] Conversely, Vincent Canby of The New York Times appreciated Burton's portrayal of the English monarch, noting that he "is in excellent form and voice—funny, loutish and sometimes wise". [323] Anne of the Thousand Days received ten nominations at the 42nd Academy Awards, including one for Burton's performance as Henry VIII of England, which many thought to be largely the result of an expensive advertising campaign by Universal Studios. [324] [325] The same year, Staircase in which he and his "Cleopatra" co-star Rex Harrison appeared as a bickering homosexual couple, received negative reviews and was unsuccessful. [326] [327]

Later career and final years (1970–1984)

In 1970, on his 45th birthday, Burton was ceremonially honoured with a CBE at Buckingham Palace Taylor and Cis were present during the ceremony. He attributed not having a knighthood to changing his residence from London to Céligny to escape taxes. [328] From the 1970s, after his completion of Anne of the Thousand Days, Burton began to work in mediocre films, which hurt his career. [202] This was partly due to the Burtons' extravagant spending, his increasing addiction to alcohol, and his claim that he could not "find any worthy material that is pertinent to our times". [202] [328] He recognised his financial need to work, and understood in the New Hollywood era of cinema, neither he nor Taylor would be paid as well as at the height of their stardom. [329] Some of the films he made during this period include: Bluebeard (1972), Hammersmith Is Out (1972), Battle of Sutjeska (film) (1973), The Klansman (1974), and Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977). [71] His last film with Taylor was the two-part melodrama Divorce His, Divorce Hers (1973). [180] He did enjoy one major critical success in the 1970s with the film version of his stage hit Equus, [330] winning the Golden Globe Award as well as garnering an Academy Award nomination. [331] [332] Public sentiment towards his perennial frustration at not winning an Oscar made many pundits consider him the favourite to finally win the award, but he lost to Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl. [333]

In 1976, Burton received a Grammy Award in the category of Best Recording for Children for his narration of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. [334] His narration of Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds became such a necessary part of the concept album that a hologram of Burton was used to narrate the live stage show (touring in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010) of the musical. [335] In 2011, however, Liam Neeson was cast in the part for a "New Generation" re-recording, and replaced Burton as the hologram character in the stage show. [336]

Burton had an international box-office hit with The Wild Geese (1978), an adventure tale about mercenaries in Africa. The film was a success in Europe but had only limited distribution in the United States owing to the collapse of the studio that distributed it. [337] He returned to films with The Medusa Touch (1978), Circle of Two (1980), and the title role in Wagner (1983). [338] His last film performance as O'Brien in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) was critically acclaimed though he was not the first choice for the role. According to the film's director, Michael Radford, Paul Scofield was originally contracted to play the part, but had to withdraw due to a broken leg Sean Connery, Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger were all approached before Burton was cast. He had "heard stories" about Burton's heavy drinking, which had concerned the producers. [339]

At the time of his death, Burton was preparing to film Wild Geese II, the sequel to The Wild Geese, which was eventually released in 1985. Burton was to reprise the role of Colonel Faulkner, while Laurence Olivier was cast as Rudolf Hess. After his death, Burton was replaced by Edward Fox, and the character changed to Faulkner's younger brother. [340] [341]

Burton was married five times, twice consecutively to Taylor. [342] From 1949 until 1963, he was married to Sybil Williams, with whom he had two daughters, Kate (born 1957) and Jessica Burton (born 1959). [198]

Burton's marriages to Taylor lasted from 15 March 1964 to 26 June 1974 and from 10 October 1975 to 29 July 1976. Their first wedding was at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal. [343] Of their marriage, Taylor proclaimed, "I'm so happy you can't believe it. This marriage will last forever." [344] Their second wedding took place sixteen months after their divorce, in Chobe National Park in Botswana. Taylor and Eddie Fisher adopted a daughter from Germany, Maria Burton (born 1 August 1961), who was re-adopted by Burton after he and Taylor married. Burton also re-adopted Taylor and producer Mike Todd's daughter, Elizabeth Frances "Liza" Todd (born 6 August 1957), who had been first adopted by Fisher. [241] [345]

The relationship Burton and Taylor portrayed in the film Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was popularly likened to their real-life marriage. [ citation needed ] Burton disagreed with others about Taylor's famed beauty, saying that calling her "the most beautiful woman in the world is absolute nonsense. She has wonderful eyes, but she has a double chin and an overdeveloped chest, and she's rather short in the leg." [346] In August 1976, a month after his second divorce from Taylor, Burton married model Suzy Miller, the former wife of Formula 1 Champion James Hunt [347] the marriage ended in divorce in 1982. From 1983 until his death in 1984, Burton was married to makeup artist Sally Hay.

In 1974, between his divorce from and remarriage to Taylor, he was briefly engaged to Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia. [348]

In 1957, Burton had earned at total of £82,000 from Prince of Players, The Rains of Ranchipur and Alexander the Great, but only managed to keep £6,000 for personal expenses due to taxation regulations imposed by the then-ruling Conservative Party. As a result, he consulted with his lawyer, Aaron Frosch, who suggested he move to Switzerland where the tax payment was comparatively less. Burton acceded to Frosch's suggestion and moved with Sybil in January 1957 to Céligny, Switzerland where he purchased a villa. [349] In response to criticism from the British government, Burton remarked: "I believe that everyone should pay them — except actors." [173] Burton lived there until his death. [350] In 1968, Burton's elder brother, Ifor, slipped and fell, breaking his neck, after a lengthy drinking session with Burton in Céligny. The injury left him paralysed from the neck down. His younger brother Graham Jenkins opined it may have been guilt over this that caused Burton to start drinking very heavily, particularly after Ifor died in 1972. [351]

In a February 1975 interview with his friend David Lewin he said he "tried" homosexuality. He also suggested that perhaps all actors were latent homosexuals, and "we cover it up with drink". [352] In 2000, Ellis Amburn's biography of Elizabeth Taylor suggested that Burton had an affair with Olivier and tried to seduce Eddie Fisher, although this was strongly denied by Burton's younger brother Graham Jenkins. [353]

Burton was a heavy smoker. In a December 1977 interview with Sir Ludovic Kennedy, Burton admitted he was smoking 60–100 cigarettes per day. [354] According to his younger brother, as stated in Graham Jenkins's 1988 book Richard Burton: My Brother, he smoked at least a hundred cigarettes a day. [355] His father, also a heavy drinker, refused to acknowledge his son's talents, achievements and acclaim. [356] In turn, Burton declined to attend his father's funeral after the elder Burton died from a cerebral haemorrhage in January 1957 at age 81. [357]

In November 1974, Burton was banned permanently from BBC productions for writing two newspaper articles questioning the sanity of Winston Churchill and others in power during World War II – Burton reported hating them "virulently" for the alleged promise to wipe out all Japanese people on the planet. [358] The publication of these articles coincided with what would have been Churchill's centenary, and came after Burton had played him in a favourable light in A Walk with Destiny, with considerable help from the Churchill family. [ citation needed ] Politically Burton was a lifelong socialist, although he was never as heavily involved in politics as his close friend Stanley Baker. He admired Democratic Senator Robert F. Kennedy [ citation needed ] and once got into a sonnet-quoting contest with him. [359] In 1973, Burton agreed to play Josip Broz Tito in a film biography, since he admired the Yugoslav leader. While filming in Yugoslavia he publicly proclaimed that he was a communist, saying he felt no contradiction between earning vast sums of money for films and holding left-wing views since "unlike capitalists, I don't exploit other people". [360]

Burton courted further controversy in 1976 when he wrote an unsolicited article for The Observer about his friend and fellow Welsh thespian Stanley Baker, who had recently died from pneumonia at the age of 48 the article upset Baker's widow with its depiction of her late husband as an uncultured womaniser. [361]

Melvyn Bragg, in the notes of his Richard Burton: A Life, says that Burton told Laurence Olivier around 1970 of his (unfulfilled) plans to make his own film of Macbeth with Elizabeth Taylor, knowing that this would hurt Olivier because he had failed to gain funding for his own cherished film version more than a decade earlier.

On his religious views, Burton was an atheist, stating, "I wish I could believe in a God of some kind but I simply cannot." [362]

Burton admired and was inspired by the actor and dramatist Emlyn Williams. He employed his son, Brook Williams, as his personal assistant and adviser, and he was given small roles in some of the films in which Burton starred. [363]

Burton was an alcoholic most of his adult life who reportedly nearly died in 1974 from excessive drinking. According to biographer Robert Sellers, "At the height of his boozing in the mid-70s he was knocking back three to four bottles of hard liquor a day." [364]

After nearly drinking himself to death during the shooting of The Klansman (1974), Burton dried out at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Burton was allegedly inebriated while making the movie, and many of his scenes had to be filmed with him sitting or lying down due to his inability to stand upright. In some scenes, he appears to slur his words or speak incoherently. [365] Burton later said that he could not remember making the film. Co-star O. J. Simpson said "There would be times when he couldn’t move". [366]

According to his diaries, Burton used Antabuse to try to stop his excessive consumption of alcohol, which he blamed for wrecking his marriage to Taylor. Burton himself said of the time leading up to his near loss of life, "I was fairly sloshed for five years. I was up there with John Barrymore and Robert Newton. The ghosts of them were looking over my shoulder." [5] He said that he turned to the bottle for solace "to burn up the flatness, the stale, empty, dull deadness that one feels when one goes offstage". [364] The 1988 biography by Melvyn Bragg provides a detailed description of the many health issues that plagued Burton throughout his life. In his youth, Burton was a star athlete and well known for his athletic abilities and strength. [367]

By the age of 41, he had declined so far in health that by his own admission his arms were thin and weak. He suffered from bursitis, possibly aggravated by faulty treatment, arthritis, dermatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and kidney disease, as well as developing, by his mid-forties, a pronounced limp. How much of this was due to his intake of alcohol is impossible to ascertain, according to Bragg, because of Burton's reluctance to be treated for alcoholism. In 1974, Burton spent six weeks in a clinic to recuperate from a period during which he had drunk three bottles of vodka a day. He was also a chain smoker, with an intake of between three and five packs a day for most of his adult life. Health issues continued to plague him until his death at the age of 58.

Richard Burton died at age 58 from intracerebral hemorrhage on 5 August 1984 at his home in Céligny, Switzerland, where he was later buried. [3] Although his death was sudden, his health had been declining for several years, and he suffered from constant and severe neck pain. As early as March 1970, he had been warned that his liver was enlarged, and he was diagnosed with cirrhosis and kidney disease in April 1981.

Burton was buried at the Old Cemetery ("Vieux Cimetière") of Céligny with a copy of Dylan Thomas's poems. [368] He and Taylor had discussed being buried together his widow Sally purchased the plot next to Burton's and erected a large headstone across both, presumably to prevent Taylor from being buried there. [ citation needed ]

Burton left an estate worth US$4.58 million (equivalent to $11,408,924 in 2020). The bulk of his estate consisted of real estate, investments in three countries and works of art. Most of his estate was bequeathed to his widow. [369]

For his contributions to cinema, Burton was inducted posthumously into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013 with a motion pictures star located at 6336 Hollywood Boulevard. [370] For his contributions to theatre, Burton was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. [371]

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[Letter from Walter Jenkins to I. H. Kempner, March 4, 1957]

Letter from Walter Jenkins to I. H. Kempner discussing Fig gift packages.

Physical Description

Creation Information


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  • Main Title: [Letter from Walter Jenkins to I. H. Kempner, March 4, 1957]
  • Series Title:Personal Papers (MS 80-0002)


Letter from Walter Jenkins to I. H. Kempner discussing Fig gift packages.

Physical Description



Library of Congress Subject Headings

University of North Texas Libraries Browse Structure


Item Type


Unique identifying numbers for this letter in the Portal or other systems.

  • Accession or Local Control No: KEMPF_Box4-52-18-0008
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metapth1182721


This letter is part of the following collection of related materials.

Harris and Eliza Kempner

One of Galveston’s most iconic families, the Kempner family influenced the social and philanthropic landscape of Galveston, and its members created an expansive economic empire. This collection includes both personal papers and documentation of the family's involvement in business and industry.

Walter Jenkins - History

  • Father: Albert JENKINS: born in St Ebbe&rsquos, Oxford in 1841/2 died in Oxford in 1887
  • Mother: Esther Chapman WEBB born in St Ebbe&rsquos, Oxford in 1843/4 died Oxford in 1912

Walter&rsquos mother Esther, who was the illiterate daughter of a boatman, was first married to James Pulling, a baker. Their marriage took place at St Ebbe&rsquos Church on 14 July 1862: she was 20 years old and six months pregnant. The couple lived in Friar Street and had one child, whom Walter&rsquos father later brought up as his own:

  • Annie Pulling, later Jenkins, born in Oxford in 1862 (reg. third quarter) and baptised at St Ebbe&rsquos Church on 21 June 1863.

Esther&rsquos first husband James Pulling died in 1864 (death reg. fourth quarter as Pullin).

On 2 June 1868 at St Thomas's Church, Mrs Esther Chapman Pulling née Webb married her second husband, Walter&rsquos father Albert Jenkins. They had at least another eight children:

  • Esther Chapman Jenkins: born at Walton Street, Oxford in 1869 and baptised at St Paul&rsquos Church there on 25 April
  • Albert Jenkins: born at Walton Street, Oxford in 1870 and baptised at St Paul&rsquos Church there on 3 July
  • Rose Jenkins: born at New Street, St Ebbe&rsquos in 1871/2 and baptised at St Ebbe&rsquos Church on 25 February 1872
  • William Jenkins: born at Bridge Street, St Ebbe&rsquos in July/August 1873 and baptised at St Ebbe&rsquos Church on 31 August
  • Frank Jenkins: born in Holy Trinity parish, Oxford in 1876 (registered Oxford district third quarter)
  • Frederick Jenkins: born at 25 Friars Street, Oxford on 10 June 1878 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church in St Ebbe&rsquos on 7 July
  • Walter Jenkins: born in Jericho, Oxford on 25 January 1880 and baptised at St Barnabas&rsquos Church there on 28 March
  • Thomas Jenkins: born at 14 West Street in December 1881 and baptised at St Frideswide&rsquos Church on 3 February 1882
    died aged seven weeks, funeral at St Frideswide&rsquos Church on 15 February 1882.

Walter&rsquos parents evidently started off their married life at 111 Walton Street, where they can be seen in the 1871 census: Albert was 27 and working as a coachsmith and Esther was 29, and they had three children: Annie (8) by Esther&rsquos first husband, and Esther (2) and Albert (10 months) from her current marriage. They also had a lodger.

The family then moved to St Ebbe&rsquos parish (to New Street by 1872, Bridge Street by 1873, and Friars Street by 1878), and then on to Jericho by 1880. They had five more children before the next census: Rose, William, Frank, Frederick, and Walter himself.

Walter was born in Jericho, Oxford on 25 January 1880 and baptised at St Barnabas&rsquos Church there on 28 March. Soon after his birth the family moved 14 West Street in Osney, where they can be found in the 1881 census. Walter (aged one) appears for the first time his father was still a coachsmith and all seven of his older siblings were still at home. The house had six rooms (including the kitchen), so they also found room for a lodger (William Crowell, a clerk in holy orders). Walter&rsquos brother Albert (10) was already described as working as a coachsmith.

Walter&rsquos father Albert Jenkins died in the Radcliffe Infirmary on 3 March 1887 at the age of 43: he was suffering from a strangulated hernia, vomiting, and exhaustion. His funeral was on 9 March at St Frideswide&rsquos Church, and his address was given as 14 West Street

By the time of the 1891 census, Walter&rsquos mother (49) had moved to 38 Duke Street. Walter (11) was at school, and only two of his siblings were still at home: Frank (14), who was working as a general labourer, and Frederick (12), who was at school. His brother Albert and sister Rose had married in 1889 at the ages of 19 and 17 respectively.

On 15 July 1897 Walter (17 years and 11 months) joined the militia (Oxfordshire Light Infantry, 4th battalion), and his address was given as 5 Hayfield Road. His military documents show that he was just over 5&prime 7 &Prime tall, weighed 133 lb, had a chest size of 34&Prime&ndash36&Prime, and a fresh complexion, grey eyes, and light brown hair. He was working as a labourer when on 2 February 1898 (a week after his 18th birthday) he joined the Grenadier Guards. He served in the UK until 2 July 1898, and then in Gibraltar until 11 November 1899. He served in the UK again from 12 November 1899 to 11 February 1900, and was then sent to serve in the South African War from 12 February 1900 to 6 October 1902. He gave as his next of kin his mother Mrs E. C. Jenkins of 34 Hayfield Road, and also mentioned but did not name his three sisters and four brothers.

Thus at the time of the 1901 census Walter (21) was serving in South Africa His mother was meanwhile living with her son Frank and his family at 26 Hayfield Road. Walter&rsquos married brother Albert (30) was also living there.

Walter spent the last seven years of his military service, from 7 October 1902 to 31 January 1910, in the UK. At the time of the 1911 census he was lodging at 19 Holme Street Bedford with a family surnamed Gillett and working as a labourer in a cabinet works. His brother Frank and family were now at 67 Hayfield Road (a fourth number in the street, which may have undergone renumbering), but his mother, Esther Chapman Jenkins (69), was no longer with them: described as a former seamstress, she was in the Cowley Road workhouse. She died at the age of 70 in 1912 (registered second quarter in the Headington district, which included that workhouse).

At the time he enlisted Walter Jenkins was living in Chertsey, Surrey. Two people named Walter Jenkins were married in England between the 1911 census and the time of Walter&rsquos death in 1915, but as the registration districts (Worcester and Hunslett) seem unlikely.

In the First World War Walter Jenkins enlisted in London and served as a Private in the 5th Battalion of the Duke of Edinburgh&rsquos (Wiltshire Regiment) (Service No. 3/227) He was killed in action in Gallipoli at the age of 35 on 10 August 1915.

He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Helles Memorial in Turkey.

Walter was the uncle of Frank Jenkins, the man listed before him on the memorial


Walter Jenkins&rsquos siblings

  • Albert JENKINS (born 1870) became a carpenter. He was 19 and living at 6 Russell Street when on 24 February 1889 at St Frideswide&rsquos Church he married Ada Emma FIELD (20). At the time of the 1891 census they were living at 224 Marlborough Road with their son Albert Raymond Jenkins (born Oxford early in 1890). Albert was living at 6 Pensons Gardens when he signed up with the Oxfordshire Light Infantry on 19 January 1900, but he left in early 1901 after fighting in South Africa. In 1901 Albert, still described as married, was staying with his brother Albert at 26 Hayfield Road. In March 1905 his son Albert Raymond joined the militia at the age of 15, giving both his parents at 19 Kingston Road as his next of kin. In the last quarter of 1907 Albert Jenkins married his second wife, Elizabeth Alice PALMER in Witney, and at the time of the 1911 census he was a picture-frame maker living in Chertsey with his new wife and two more sons: Alfred James Jenkins (5) and Frederick William Jenkins (3). Their third child, Vera Jenkins, was born in Chertsey in 1914 (reg. fourth quarter). Meanwhile in 1911 his son by his first marriage, Albert Raymond Jenkins, who was a shoemaker by trade, was in the Grenadier Guards.
  • Rose JENKINS (born in 1871/2) was 17 when on 19 May 1889 at St Frideswide&rsquos Church she married George Fred DRURY (20), a railway engine fireman. They began their married life in Osney, and their first son died unbaptised at 63 West Street when a week old and his funeral was at St Frideswide&rsquos Church. Their first daughter Lily Mildred Drury was born at 31 East Street and baptised at St Frideswide&rsquos Church on 17 July 1892. They then moved to London, and their other three children were born in Hammersmith: Hilda May Drury (1895), George Frederick Drury (1897), and Rose Marion Drury (1898). Rose died back in Oxford at the age of 32 (death reg. first quarter of 1905), and in 1911 her youngest children George Drury (13) and Rose Drury (12) were boarding with Henry & Kate Goddins at 46 Mill Street.
  • William JENKINS (born 1873) became a milkman and later a milk dealer, and lived at the present 123 Botley Road (then numbered 111). On 26 January 1893 at St Frideswide&rsquos Church when he was 20 he married (Louisa) Jane HARBUD (21), and they had six children: William Jenkins (born near the end of 1895), Florence Hilda Jenkins (born on 16 June 1898), Mildred Edith Jenkins (born on 15 July 1900), Laura Alice Jenkins (born near the middle of 1902) Frederick Jenkins (born near the end of 1907) and Phoebe Ethel Jenkins (born in December 1910): all but the last were baptised at St Frideswide&rsquos. William&rsquos first wife Louisa Jane died at the age of 42 in 1913 (reg. third quarter) and he married his second wife, Emma Alberta MOLE, at St Frideswide&rsquos on 16 June 1919 and they had two children baptised at St Frideswide&rsquos: Mildred Edith Jenkins (born on 12 October 1922) and George Douglas Jenkins (born on 14 May 1924). William Jenkins is still listed as a dairyman at 123 Botley Road in Kelly&rsquos Directory for 1947.
  • Frank JENKINS (born in 1876) also became a milkman: see the details of his family in the biography of his son, Frank, who was also killed in the war.
  • Frederick Jenkins (born 1878) was living at 30 East Street in 1928.

War Memorials home Oxford History home

Watch the video: WALTER JENKINS - BACK IN MY LIFE (August 2022).

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