Discover Movies and TV Series that fit You with our Mobile Application
Download for iOS & Android
iOS ApplicationAndroid Application
Burt Lancaster

Burt Lancaster

Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1913-11-02

95 Movies · 9 TV Series

Biography

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.

Personal Life

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.

Early 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

2017.

1 Movie

2014.

1 Movie

2010.

1 Movie

2005.

1 Movie

2004.

1 Movie

1993.

1 Movie

1991.

2 Movies

1990.

1 Movie · 1 TV Series

1989.

2 Movies · 1 TV Series

1988.

1 Movie

1987.

2 Movies

1986.

4 Movies · 1 TV Series

1985.

2 Movies

1983.

3 Movies

1982.

2 Movies · 1 TV Series

1981.

2 Movies

1980.

1 Movie

1979.

1 Movie

1978.

1 Movie · 1 TV Series

1977.

2 Movies

1976.

4 Movies

1975.

1 TV Series

1974.

3 Movies

1973.

2 Movies

1972.

1 Movie

1971.

2 Movies

1970.

2 Movies

1969.

3 Movies

1968.

2 Movies · 1 TV Series

1966.

1 Movie

1965.

1 Movie

1964.

2 Movies

1963.

3 Movies

1962.

1 Movie

1961.

2 Movies

1960.

2 Movies

1959.

1 Movie

1958.

2 Movies

1957.

2 Movies

1956.

2 Movies

1955.

3 Movies

1954.

3 Movies

1953.

2 Movies · 1 TV Series

1952.

2 Movies

1951.

3 Movies

1950.

2 Movies

1949.

2 Movies

1948.

3 Movies · 1 TV Series

1947.

4 Movies

1946.

1 Movie
Last updated: