Denied a share of his father’s fortune, Burtram “Burt” Worthington turned to a life of crime. After serving a jail term, Burt approached his brother, Warren Jr., for help in supposedly starting afresh in life; however, Burt instead became the costumed criminal the Dazzler, and used his brother’s money to finance an illegal diamond-smuggling syndicate. From his secret base beneath the Statue of Liberty, the Dazzler sought world conquest by means of a giant diamond-powered laser dubbed the Spatial Destructor. When his brother accidentally uncovered his plan and threatened to report him to the authorities, Burt had his hired goons kill him. Learning of his father’s death, Warren Worthington III, in his identity as the mutant hero the Angel, sought vengeance on the Dazzler. Each unaware of the other’s dual identity, Burt had Warren teleported to his base and imprisoned alongside Warren’s then-girlfriend Candy Southern, whom Burt sought to use as leverage. Warren escaped and confronted the Dazzler as the Angel, but was unmasked by the Dazzler’s men. Surprised, the Dazzler revealed his own identity to Warren as well as his plan, and used a device to brainwash Warren into stealing a diamond large enough to power his laser; however, the brainwashing failed due to Warren’s mutant nature, and he returned with a fake diamond which overloaded the Destructor. Warren rescued both Candy and Burt from the explosion, but Burt attacked him in mid-flight, causing Warren to drop his passengers. As Warren flew to save Candy, Burt seemingly fell to his death.
In truth, Burt survived thanks to a carefully-laid contingency plan, and he subsequently set about wooing his brother’s widow Kathryn in the hope of accessing the Worthington family fortune he had earlier been denied. Burt’s plan seemingly came to fruition after Kathryn fell in love with him and they planned to marry. Upon learning of this, Warren returned home with his X-Men teammates to confront Burt, intending to expose his villainous nature; however, Warren was dissuaded by the family’s Doctor Stuart, who warned of Kathryn’s frail nature. Ultimately, it was revealed that Burt and Doctor Stuart, who secretly hated mutants, had conspired to poison Kathryn by dosing her tea so that she would die shortly after the wedding. However, an impatient Burt had increased the dosage, resulting in her condition worsening on the wedding day. Burt then attacked the X-Men as the Dazzler, but Warren defeated him. Kathryn died soon after, and Burt and Doctor Stuart were taken into custody. While still in prison, Burt began dealing with the mutant werewolf Maximus Lobo, a rogue employee of Worthington Industries who has claimed to be the true culprit behind Warren's father's murder.