Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1913-11-02
95 Movies · 9 TV Series
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Burton Stephen Lancaster (November 2, 1913 – October 20, 1994) was an American actor and producer. Initially known for playing tough guys with a tender heart, he went on to achieve success with more complex and challenging roles over a 45-year career in film and, later, television. He was a four-time nominee for the Academy Award for Best Actor (winning once), and he also won two BAFTA Awards and one Golden Globe Award for Best Lead Actor. Lancaster performed as a circus acrobat in the 1930s. After serving in World War II, the 32-year-old Lancaster landed a role in a Broadway play and drew the attention of a Hollywood agent. His breakthrough role was the film noir The Killers in 1946 alongside Ava Gardner. A critical success, it launched both of their careers. In 1953, Lancaster played the illicit lover of Deborah Kerr in the military drama From Here to Eternity. A box office smash, it won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and landed a Best Actor nomination for Lancaster. In 1956, he starred in The Rainmaker, with Katharine Hepburn, earning a Best Actor Golden Globe nomination, and in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1957, with frequent co-star Kirk Douglas. During the 1950s, his production company, Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, was highly successful, with Lancaster acting in films such as: Trapeze in 1956, a box office smash in which he used his acrobatic skills; Sweet Smell of Success (1957), a dark drama today considered a classic; Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), a WWII submarine drama with Clark Gable; and Separate Tables (1958), a hotel-set drama which received seven Oscar nominations. In the early 1960s, Lancaster starred in a string of critically successful films, each in very disparate roles. Playing a charismatic biblical con-man in Elmer Gantry in 1960 won him the Academy Award and the Golden Globe for Best Actor. He played a Nazi war criminal in 1961 in the all-star, war-crime-trial film, Judgment at Nuremberg. Playing a bird expert prisoner in Birdman of Alcatraz in 1962, he earned the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor and his third Oscar nomination. In 1963, Lancaster traveled to Italy to star as an Italian prince in the epic period drama The Leopard. In 1964, he played a US Air Force General who, opposed by a Colonel played by Kirk Douglas, tries to overthrow the President in Seven Days in May. Then, in 1966, he played an explosives expert in the western The Professionals. In 1970, Lancaster starred in the box-office hit, air-disaster drama Airport. He experienced a career resurgence in 1980 with the crime-romance Atlantic City, winning the BAFTA for Best Actor and landing his fourth Oscar nomination. Starting in the late 1970s, he also appeared in television mini-series, including the award-winning Separate but Equal with Sidney Poitier. He continued acting into his late 70s, until a stroke in 1990 forced him to retire; four years later he died from a heart attack. His final film role was in the Oscar-nominated Field of Dreams. The American Film Institute ranks Lancaster as #19 of the greatest male stars of classic Hollywood cinema.
Marriages and relationships. Lancaster guarded his personal life and attempted to keep it private despite his stardom. He was married three times and had five children. His first marriage was to June Ernst, a trapeze acrobat. Ernst was the daughter of a renowned female aerialist and an accomplished acrobat herself. After they were married, he performed with her and her family until their separation in the late 1930s. It is not clear when they divorced. Contemporary reports listed 1940, but subsequent biographers have suggested dates as late as 1946, thus delaying his marriage to his second wife.He met second wife Norma Anderson (1917–1988) when the stenographer substituted for an ill actress in a USO production for the troops in Italy. Reportedly, on seeing Lancaster in the crowd on her way to town from the airport, she turned to an officer and asked, "Who is that good-looking officer and is he married?" The officer set up a blind date between the two for that evening. She was active in political causes with an entire room in their Bel Air home devoted to her major interest, the League of Woman Voters, crammed with printing presses and all the necessary supplies for mass mailings. She was a life-long member of the NAACP. The couple held a fundraiser for Martin Luther King Jr. and the SCLC ahead of the 1963 March on Washington. All five of his children were with Anderson: Bill (who became an actor and screenwriter), James, Susan, Joanna (who worked as a film producer), and Sighle (pronounced "Sheila"). However, it was a troubled marriage. The pair separated in 1966, and finally divorced in 1969. In 1966, Lancaster began a long-term relationship with hairdresser Jackie Bone, who worked on The Professionals. It was a tumultuous relationship, with Bone once smashing a wine bottle over Lancaster's head at a dinner with Sydney Pollack and Peter Falk. Reportedly, they eventually split up after her religious conversion, which Lancaster believed he could not share with her.His third marriage, to Susan Martin, lasted from September 1990 until his death in 1994. = Possible affairs. = Friends said he claimed he was romantically involved with Deborah Kerr during the filming of From Here to Eternity in 1953. However, Kerr stated that while there was a spark of attraction, nothing ever happened. He reportedly had an affair with Joan Blondell.In her 1980 autobiography, Shelley Winters claimed to have had a 2-year affair with him, during which time he was considering separation from his wife. In his Hollywood memoirs, friend Farley Granger recalled an incident when he and Lancaster had to come to Winters' rescue one evening when she had inadvertently overdosed on alcohol and sleeping pills. She broke up with him for "cheating on her with his wife" after she heard reports of his wife's third or fourth pregnancy. Lancaster and Winters performed together in the 1949 radio play adaptation of The Killers. They appeared in 2 films together: The Young Savages, where she played his character's former lover, and The Scalphunters. According to biographer Kate Buford in Burt Lancaster: An American Life, Lancaster was devotedly loyal to his friends and family. Old friends from his childhood remained his friends for life. Religion. Despite his Protestant background and upbringing, Lancaster identified as an atheist later in life.
Lancaster was born on November 2, 1913, in Manhattan, New York, at his parents' home at 209 East 106th Street, the son of Elizabeth (née Roberts) and mailman James Lancaster. Both of his parents were Protestants of working-class origin. All four of his grandparents were immigrants from Northern Ireland to the United States, from the province of Ulster; his maternal grandparents were from Belfast and were descendants of English immigrants to Ireland.Lancaster grew up in East Harlem and spent much of his time on the streets. He developed a great interest and skill in gymnastics while attending DeWitt Clinton High School, where he was a basketball star. Before he graduated from DeWitt Clinton, his mother died of a cerebral hemorrhage. Lancaster was accepted by New York University with an athletic scholarship, but subsequently dropped out.
Movies & TV Series
Separate But Equal
A dramatization of the American court case that destroyed the legal validity of racial segregation. One of the most pivotal moments in 20th century American history is bracingly dramatized in Separate...
Barbara Stanwyck: Fire and Desire
Actress Sally Field looks at the dramatic life and career of Barbara Stanwyck, a Hollywood legend.
1 Movie · 1 TV Series
The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera is a 1990 NBC two-part drama television miniseries directed by Tony Richardson and stars Charles Dance in the title role. It is adapted from Arthur Kopit's book for his then-u...
Voyage of Terror: The Achille Lauro Affair
Genua, 3rd October 1985. Together with over 500 other passengers Margot and Pierre Bergeron, a married couple from France, the Serafinis, an Italian family, Anne Higgins, an Englishwoman, Gitta and He...
2 Movies · 1 TV Series
The Jeweller's Shop
Pope John Paul II's best-selling play "The Jeweller's Shop" is an inspiring drama about three married couples and their ups and downs in holy matrimony, starring Burt Lancaster as the eponymous mercha...
I promessi sposi
Field of Dreams
Ray Kinsella is an Iowa farmer who hears a mysterious voice telling him to turn his cornfield into a baseball diamond. He does, but the voice's directions don't stop -- even after the spirits of decea...
Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist
This one-hour film, narrated by Actor BURT LANCASTER, explores the lingering effects of The Hollywood Blacklist, which occurred in the late forties and early fifties as part of the Anti-Communist witc...
An experiment of psychological effects under stressful conditions in a shelter. When fifteen strangers are put into a nuclear shelter to see how long they can survive without interaction with the outs...
4 Movies · 1 TV Series
Fathers and Sons
Follows two wealthy families in Germany during the first half of the 20th century. One of them is German, the other one Jewish.
On Wings Of Eagles
On Wings of Eagles is a NBC TV mini-series, starring Burt Lancaster - Richard Crenna and directed by Andrew V. McLaglen. The TV series was adapted from Ken Follet's novel of the same name. The plot i...
Mackendrick: The Man Who Walked Away
This 1986 documentary features interviews with director Alexander Mackendrick, actor Burt Lancaster, producer James Hill, and others.
The amazing biography of legendary circus impresario and unparalleled showman, P.T. Barnum.
Harry Doyle (Lancaster) and Archie Lang (Douglas) are two old-time train robbers, who held up a train in 1956 and have been incarcerated for thirty years. After serving their time, they are released f...
Margo is an ex-stripper who meets her long, lost father in Mexico. She looks after him in the waning days of his life, with the help of a traveling projectionist. The father passes away, telling of th...
The publisher of a celebrity gossip tabloid sets out to destroy an aging actor, whose career is foundering and who is also facing a battle with alcoholism.
The Making of a "Local Hero" (With a Little Help from His Friends)
Documentary for Scottish television about the making of Bill Forsyth's 1983 film LOCAL HERO.
The Osterman Weekend
The host of an investigative news show is convinced by the CIA that the friends he has invited to a weekend in the country are engaged in a conspiracy that threatens national security in this adaptati...
An American oil company sends a man to Scotland to buy up an entire village where they want to build a refinery. But things don't go as expected.
2 Movies · 1 TV Series
Race to Oblivion
Documentation about the dangers of the nuclear arms race, including an interview with an witness of the bomb drop of Hiroshima and scientific statements describing the devastating consequences of a nu...
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
Juliet Forrest is convinced that the reported death of her father in a mountain car crash was no accident. Her father was a prominent cheese scientist working on a secret recipe. To prove it was murde...
Marco Polo was originally broadcast in the United States by NBC, but was also aired in France and Italy by the same company. The 13th-century Venetian merchant and explorer Marco Polo was portrayed by...
Naples, year 1943, in the middle of World War II. The city has just be liberated by American troops in an era in which nobody knows just when the war or where begins the peace; winners and losers face...
Cattle Annie and Little Britches
In Oklahoma in the 19th century, two teen girls, fans of stories about outlaws, are on a quest to meet and join up with each other. They try to help them escape from the marshal despite finding a shad...
1 Movie · 1 TV Series
The Unknown War
The Unknown War is an American documentary television series. The 20-part series documents the World War II conflict between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Each episode is about 48 minutes long, s...
Go Tell the Spartans
Go Tell the Spartans is a 1978 American war film based on Daniel Ford's 1967 novel "Incident at Muc Wa." It tells the story about U.S. Army military advisers during the early part of the Vietnam War. ...
Twilight's Last Gleaming
A renegade USAF general, Lawrence Dell, escapes from a military prison and takes over an ICBM silo near Montana and threatens to provoke World War 3 unless the President reveals details of a secret me...
The Island of Dr. Moreau
A ship-wrecked man floats ashore on an island in the Pacific Ocean. The island is inhabited by a scientist, Dr. Moreau, who in an experiment has turned beasts into human beings.
Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson
Buffalo Bill is going to put on his own Wild West sideshow, and Chief Sitting Bull is going to appear in it. Sitting Bull has a hidden agenda which involves the President and General Custer.
Victory at Entebbe
The film is based on an actual event: Operation Entebbe and the freeing of Israeli hostages at Entebbe Airport (now Entebbe International Airport) in Uganda.
The Cassandra Crossing
Passengers on a European train have been exposed to a deadly disease. Nobody will let them off the train. So what happens next?
Set in Bertolucci's ancestral region of Emilia, the film chronicles the lives of two men during the political turmoils that took place in Italy in the first half of the 20th century.
1 TV Series
The Midnight Man
An ex-convict, and ex-cop, finds himself in the midst of drama as a murder, of a female student, is commited at the university where he works as a night watchman. He is reluctantly drawn into the crim...
Moses the Lawgiver
Story of Moses. Originally a TV Miniseries recut for theaters
A retired professor of American origin lives a solitary life in a luxurious palazzo in Rome. He is confronted by a vulgar Italian marchesa and her lover, her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend, and...
The JFK assassination is being planned and carried out by rogue intelligence agents, right-wing politicians, greedy capitalists, and free-lance assassins.
Cross is an old hand at the CIA who often teams up with Frenchman Jean “Scorpio” Laurier, a gifted freelance operative. After their last mission together, the CIA orders Scorpio to eliminate Cross, le...
Valdez Is Coming
Old Mexican-American sheriff Bob Valdez has always been a haven of sanity in a land of madmen when it came to defending law and order. But the weapon smuggler Frank Tanner is greedy and impulsive. Whe...
While passing through the town of Bannock, a bunch of drunken cattlemen go overboard with their celebrating and accidentally kill an old man with a stray shot. They return home to Sabbath unaware of h...
King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis
A 1970 American documentary film biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., presented in the form of newsreel footage and segments of recordings by Dr. King, framed by celebrity narrators, including Ma...
There is a drama about a bomber on board an airplane, an airport almost closed by snow, and various personal problems of the people involved.
Big Game America
Burt Lancaster hosts a review of the first 50 years in NFL history.
During the Battle of the Bulge, an anachronistic count shelters a ragtag squad of Americans in his isolated castle hoping they will defend it against the advancing Germans.
The Gypsy Moths
Three skydivers and their travelling thrill show barnstorm through a small midwestern town one Fourth of July weekend.
2 Movies · 1 TV Series
The Dick Cavett Show
The Dick Cavett Show is a talk show hosted by Dick Cavett on various television networks.
Neddy Merrill has been away for most of the summer. He reappears at a friend's pool. As they talk, someone notices that there are pools spanning the entire valley. He decided to jog from pool to pool ...
The trapper is on his way to the town with all of his hides from the last winter. A group of Indians stopped him and took all of his hides, leaving him the escaped slave Joseph instead. Joseph has no ...
As the Allied forces approach Paris in August 1944, German Colonel Von Waldheim is desperate to take all of France's greatest paintings to Germany. Even as the chaos of retreat descends upon them, he ...
Seven Days in May
A person from the United States. An army colonel warned the president of a military coup.
A Child Is Waiting
There is a doctor named Dr. The head of the state institution for intellectually disabled children is Matthew Clark. Jean Hansen, a former music teacher anxious to give her life some meaning, joined t...
The List of Adrian Messenger
Adrian Messenger, a famous writer, asks his friend Anthony Gethryn, a former British agent, to help him investigate the whereabouts of the people who appear on a list, without asking him the reason wh...
As Garibaldi's troops begin the unification of Italy in the 1860s, an aristocratic Sicilian family grudgingly adapts to the sweeping social changes undermining their way of life. Proud but pragmatic P...
The Young Savages
Three teenagers are accused of murdering a blind Puerto Rican boy and the case is being investigated by a district attorney.
Judgment at Nuremberg
In 1947, four German judges who served on the bench during the Nazi regime face a military tribunal to answer charges of crimes against humanity. Chief Justice Haywood hears evidence and testimony not...
The neighbors of a frontier family turn on them when it is suspected that their adopted daughter was stolen from the local Kiawa tribe.
Sister Sharon Falconer, a roadside revivalist, is befriended by a hedonistic con man, who feigns piety to join her act as a passionate preacher. Their chemistry extends to romance, as the two make a s...
Boarders at an English resort struggle with emotional problems.
Run Silent, Run Deep
The captain of a submarine sunk by the Japanese during WWII is finally given a chance to skipper another sub after a year of working a desk job. His singleminded determination for revenge against the ...
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
The legendary Gunfight at the O.K. was the culmination of an unlikely alliance between outlaw Doc Holliday and Lawman Wyatt Earp. It's called the Corral.
Sweet Smell of Success
New York City newspaper writer J.J. Hunsecker holds considerable sway over public opinion with his Broadway column, but one thing that he can't control is his younger sister, Susan, who is in a relati...
A pair of men try to perform the dangerous "triple" in their trapeze act. Problems arise when the duo is made into a trio following the addition of a sexy female performer.
Lizzie Curry is on the verge of becoming a hopeless old maid. Her wit and intelligence and skills as a homemaker can't make up for the fact that she's just plain plain! Even the town sheriff, File, fo...
Marty, a butcher who lives in the Bronx with his mother, is unmarried at 34. He faces constant badgering from family and friends to get married, but has reluctantly resigned himself to being a bachelo...
A frontiersman and his son fight to build a new home in Texas.
The Rose Tattoo
A grieving widow begins a new relationship when she learns her late husband had been unfaithful.
Following the surrender of Geronimo, Massai, the last Apache warrior is captured and scheduled for transportation to a Florida reservation. On the way he manages to escape and heads for his homeland t...
His Majesty O'Keefe
Men steal for it. Nations go to war for it. The it is oil - and it grows on trees. Coconut oil is the precious lifeblood of 1870s South Seas traders. And lots of real blood will be spilled to get it! ...
After the American Civil War, mercenaries travel to Mexico to fight in their revolution for money. The former soldier and gentleman Benjamin Trane meets the gunman and killer Joe Erin and his men, and...
2 Movies · 1 TV Series
The Academy Awards
The Academy Awards or The Oscars is an annual American awards ceremony honoring cinematic achievements in the film industry. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a statuette, officially ...
South Sea Woman
Marine Sergeant James O'Hearn is being tried at the San Diego Marine base for desertion, theft, scandalous conduct, and destruction of property in time of war. He doesn't agree with the charges and wo...
From Here to Eternity
In 1941 Hawaii, a private is punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second in command are in love with each other.
Come Back, Little Sheba
A mismatched couple's marital problems come to the surface when the husband develops an interest in their pretty boarder.
The Crimson Pirate
Lancaster plays a pirate who is involved in a revolution in the Caribbean in the late 1700s and has a penchant for intrigue and acrobatics. There is a light hearted adventure involving prison breaks, ...
A cattle baron takes in an orphaned boy and raises him, causing his own son to resent the boy. As they get older the resentment festers into hatred, and eventually the real son frames his stepbrother ...
Jim Thorpe – All-American
The triumph and tragedy of Native Anerican Jim Thorpe, who, after winning both the pentathlon and decathlon in the same Olympics, is stripped of his medals on a technicality.
Ten Tall Men
Sgt. Mike Kincaid of the French Foreign Legion learns, from a Riff prisoner, that an attack will soon be made by the villainous Hussin on the Legion's outpost of Tarfa. Kincaid volunteers to lead nine...
The Skipper is a charming old man loved by all his neighbors. What they don't know is that he is also Mr. 880, an amateurish counterfeiter who has amazingly managed to elude the Secret Service for 20 ...
The Flame and the Arrow
Dardo, a Robin Hood-like figure, and his loyal followers use a Roman ruin in Medieval Lombardy as their headquarters as they conduct an insurgency against their Hessian conquerors.
Rope of Sand
Story of a South African diamond mine watched over by a sadistic policeman tasked with looking out for smugglers.
Burt Lancaster plays Steve Thompson, a man who seals his dark fate when he returns to Los Angeles to find his ex-wife Anna Dundee (Yvonne DeCarlo) eager to rekindle their love against all better judge...
3 Movies · 1 TV Series
The Ed Sullivan Show
The Ed Sullivan Show is an American TV variety show that originally ran on CBS from Sunday June 20, 1948 to Sunday June 6, 1971, and was hosted by New York entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan. It was ...
Kiss the Blood Off My Hands
A former prisoner of war living in England, whose experiences have left him unstable and violent, got into a bar fight in which he killed a man and then fled. He hides out with the help of a nurse who...
All My Sons
Two families, related by friendship and love, face up to the consequences of greed and avarice during the post-war years.
Sorry, Wrong Number
Stevenson is confined to bed and uses her telephone to keep in touch with the outside world. One day she overhears a murder plot on the phone and is desperate to find out who is the intended victim.
Dozens of star and character-actor cameos and a message about the Variety Club are woven into a framework about two hopeful young ladies who come to Hollywood, exchange identities, and cause comic con...
I Walk Alone
Frankie Madison returns to New York after 14 years in prison. Noll Turner, Frankie's former partner in bootlegging, is now a wealthy nightclub manager, and Frankie is expecting him to honor a verbal '...
The daughter of a Nevada casino owner gets involved with a racketeer, despite everyone's efforts to separate them.
Timeworn Joe Collins and his fellow inmates live under the heavy thumb of the sadistic, power-tripping guard Captain Munsey. Only Collins' dreams of escape keep him going, but how can he possibly bust...