Gabriel Byrne says Richard Burton told him he’d done ‘the most appalling s*** for money’

Byrne (left) in 2018 and Burton in 1953  (Getty)
Byrne (left) in 2018 and Burton in 1953 (Getty)

Gabriel Byrne has claimed that Richard Burton once told him he was “ashamed” to be an actor.

The Irish actor worked with Burton on the 1983 TV series Wagner, with the legendary stage and screen performer taking Byrne under his wing while filming in Venice.

In a new interview withThe Telegraph, Byrne recalled sharing a drink with Burton after a day’s filming, when Burton told him that he was “rather ashamed to be an actor sometimes”.

“I’ve done the most appalling s*** for money,” Burton apparently said. “Give it all you’ve got but never forget it’s just a bloody movie, that’s all it is. We’re not curing cancer.”

“Those words stayed with me,” Byrne said.

In 2020, he released his memoir Walking With Ghosts, about his life growing up on the outskirts of Dublin.

It was announced on Wednesday (18 May) that he would be bringing a live show of the same name to the West End in September, having performed it in Dublin earlier this year.

Byrne told WhatsOnStage: “The West End for me has always meant more to me (moreso than Broadway, even though I’ve worked there three or four times).

“It’s where I had my first experiences of theatre outside of Dublin – so it had a faraway magical allure. I’ve seen some great plays there – so being there has been a great ambition of mine.”

Walking With Ghosts will play at the Apollo Theatre from 6 to 17 September before transferring to New York.