Richard Burton

Born Nov. 10, 1925, in Pontrhydfen, Wales, distinctive-voiced thespian Richard Burton was the son of a coal miner. Inspired by a teacher to take up acting, Burton first appeared on stage in 1943; he caught Hollywood's attention with his performance in the 1950 Broadway production of "The Lady's Not for Burning."

Burton landed the lead in My Cousin Rachel (1952) and received the first of seven Oscar nods for his work. Burton turned in a knockout portrayal in 1958's Look Back in Anger, and in 1963 he starred in Cleopatra -- a part that launched him to superstardom thanks to his tumultuous off-screen romance with co-star Elizabeth Taylor. Subsequently married and divorced twice, the duo teamed on several films, most notably Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).

Oscar-nominated for Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) and Equus (1977), Burton died of a cerebral hemorrhage Aug. 5, 1984.