The Great Actor Who Hated Acting

Richard Burton’s diaries are not those of a man afraid to take a harsh look at himself: “How dumb and boring I must have been for the greater part of my life”; “I am, I think, sublimely selfish”; “I could have cut out my vile tongue with a blunt razor. From what twisted root did that bastard tree grow?”; “I do, of course, choose my moments well to shout at my wife, like after her father’s funeral.” He accuses himself of “savage ill humour,” “absolutely unstoppably filthy moods, insulting everybody left right and centre,” and “venomous malice.”

This article is available to subscribers only.
Please choose from one of the options below to access this article:

Print Subscription — $74.95

Purchase a print subscription (20 issues per year) and also receive online access to all articles published within the last five years.

Online Subscription — $69.00

Purchase an Online Edition subscription and receive full access to all articles published by the Review since 1963.

One-Week Access — $4.99

Purchase a trial Online Edition subscription and receive unlimited access for one week to all the content on

If you already have one of these subscriptions, please be sure you are logged in to your account. If you subscribe to the print edition, you may also need to link your web site account to your print subscription. Click here to link your account services.