She was born in Braintree, Essex, the daughter of journalist Jack Hay. Burton worked as a freelance production assistant on the set of the TV mini-series Wagner when Richard Burton met her. During a seven-month tour of the United States with Noël Coward's play Private Lives, in which Elizabeth Taylor was Richard Burton's co-star, Burton and Hay married on 3 July 1983 in Las Vegas; it was Burton's fifth marriage and her first. After the tour, they went to rest in Hawaii for several months before returning to their home in Céligny where Burton died on 5 August 1984; Sally Burton was then 36.
In 2005, Burton moved to Perth, Western Australia, where her brother and his family had lived for years. In 2009, she launched the Richard Burton Award for New Plays, in conjunction with Black Swan State Theatre Company offering a prize pool of A$30,000 for writers of unproduced scripts; this is Australia's richest prize for playwrights. The 2010 first prize of A$20,000 was awarded to Caleb Lewis; Hellie Turner was awarded the runner-up prize of A$10,000. The prize was not awarded in 2011 and new guidelines were drawn for 2012. The award was shared in 2012 by Ingle Knight and Tommy Murphy who would each receive a commission of $15,000 at the completion of a new play. No further awards have been announced and the award has ceased,
Burton is a supporter of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra; she was a board member of Agelink, a theatre company for older actors. Established in 2007 Burton presents the Sally Burton Awards, a prize pool of A$4,000, to the two most talented performers of Shakespeare texts at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
In 2009 she launched the independent production house Onward Production whose productions ran from 2009 - 2011. In October that year she produced the Australian première of the international touring anthology Seven Deadly Sins Four Deadly Sinners at the Playhouse Theatre in Perth and Noël Coward's Private Lives at Perth's Subiaco Arts Centre.
|Date||Review article||Work(s) reviewed|
|2011||Burton, Sally (September 2011). "When man created film". Australian Book Review. 334: 38–39.||Drazin, Charles (2011). The Faber book of French cinema. Faber.|
- Burton, Richard (1989). A Christmas Story. Introduction by Sally Burton. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-51246-3.
- Richard Burton – Life: 1971–1984 Archived 29 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Burton's women; he had four wives. But on the 20th anniversary of his death, whatever happened to them?" by Glenys Roberts, Daily Mail, London, 11 August 2004
- Richard Burton Archives: The New Home of Swansea University's Archives, Swansea University, 30 April 2010
- "Ruth Madoc and Sally Burton awarded university fellowships", Western Mail (18 July 2006)
- "Lasting legacy" by Victoria Laurie, The Australian (7 August 2010)
- The Richard Burton Award for New Plays at the Black Swan Theatre
- "The AWG Congratulates Black Swan on the Revised Richard Burton Award". Australian Writers Guild. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Winners of Richard Burton Award for Playwriting 2012 Announced 31 October 2012". Black Swan State Theatre Company. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
- "Sally Burton". Onward Production. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
- "Sally Burton Awards". Australian Stage. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Sally Burton". Onward Productions . Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Theatre Australia". Retrieved 23 October 2009.
- "West End boys – Open access: Documenting London’s theatres". London: The Stage. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011.