Philip Burton

Philip Burton, a stage actor and director who was the foster father of actor Richard Burton, died Feb. 4 in a nursing home in Davenport, Fla., following a stroke. He was 90.

When Burton was teaching Shakespeare in Wales, he discovered Richard Jenkins, a pupil, whom he informally adopted in 1943. Burton helped Jenkins, who officially changed his last name to that of his adoptive father’s at the age of 18, get his first stage role in London.

The elder Burton was born in Wales in 1904. He taught and freelanced as a writer for the BBC in his early years, later taking up stage directing and acting. He moved to New York City in the 1950s and made his directorial debut in Sean O’Casey’s “Purple Dust” and “Cock-a-Doodle-Dandy.”

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