Producer, Presenter, Other
( b. Mar 27, 1929 Tylorstown, SOUTH AFRICA - d. Mar 09, 2013 ) Female
Ms. Christopher founded the Bay Street Theatre with Emma Walton and Stephen Hamilton in Sag Harbor in 1991, after eyeing an old warehouse near the town pier that had once housed a discotheque and musing that it would make a nice theatre.
Sybil Williams' childhood was marked by a series of deaths, beginning with the passing of her six-year-old brother. She lost her mother when she was ten, and her father, a coal minuer, when she was 15. After that, she went to live with her older sister and her husband in the Midlands.
In Northhampton, she began to visit a small local theatre, at which she eventually began to act. Ms. Christopher later claimed that, from age 15 to 18, she saw 52 plays a year. Deciding to pursue acting professionally, she applied to the London Academy of Dramatic Arts and was accepted. Before her schooling was completed, she began winning jobs. She performed at Stratford in Henry IV, in Harvey in the West End and a radio production of Dylan Thomas' Under Milkwood.
While making what would become her only film, "The Last Days of Dolywyn," she met a young Welsh actor named Richard Burton. They were wed in 1948 and had two children, actress Kate Burton and Jessica, who suffered from autism. Soon after marrying, she withdrew from acting.
Ms. Christopher became a supporting actress in a worldwide tabloid drama when her husband and Elizabeth Taylor, then married to singer Eddie Fischer, began an affair while making the film "Cleopatra." The Burtons were granted a divorce in Mexico in 1963.
Following the media circus that was her break-up with Burton, Ms. Christopher turned to a completely different career, opening the Manhattan nightclub Arthur. (It was named after a quip uttered in "A Hard Day's Night," when George Harrison is asked what he calls his hair style.) She raised the cash to set up the club by selling shares to showbiz pals including Roddy McDowell, Julie Andrews, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. For the next several years, there was no hotter discotheque in the city, and its owner was transformed from a jilted Hollywood wife to a sophisticated New York nightlife celebrity, lauded for her fashion sense and signature silver hair.
In 1966, she married Jordan Christopher, ten years her junior, and the singer of the Arthur house band The Wild Ones. He died in 1996. They had one child.