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Burt Lancaster

Birthplace: New York, NY, USA
Death: Died in Los Angeles, CA, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of James Henry Lancaster and Elizabeth Lancaster
Husband of Norma Lancaster and <private> Lancaster (Martin)
Father of <private> Lancaster; Bill Lancaster; <private> Lancaster; <private> Lancaster and <private> Lancaster
Brother of James Lancaster; Jenny Lancaster and William Lancaster

Managed by: Eilat Gordin Levitan
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Burt Lancaster

Burton Stephen "Burt" Lancaster (November 2, 1913 – October 20, 1994) was an American film actor noted for his athletic physique and distinctive smile (which he called "The Grin"). After initially building his career on "tough guy" roles Lancaster abandoned his "all-American" image in the late 1950s in favor of more complex and challenging roles, and came to be regarded as one of the best actors of his generation as a result.

Lancaster was nominated four times for Academy Awards and won once — for his work in Elmer Gantry in 1960. He also won a Golden Globe for that performance and BAFTA Awards for The Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) and Atlantic City (1980). His production company, Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, was the most successful and innovative star-driven independent production company in Hollywood of the 1950s, making movies such as Marty (1955), Trapeze (1956), and Sweet Smell of Success (1957).

Lancaster also directed two films: The Kentuckian (1955) and The Midnight Man (1974).

In 1999, the American Film Institute named Lancaster nineteenth among the greatest male stars of all time.[1]

Early lifeLancaster was born in New York City, at his parents' home at 209 East 106th Street, between Second and Third Avenues, today the site of Benjamin Franklin Plaza. Lancaster was the son of Elizabeth (née Roberts) and James Henry Lancaster, who was a postman.[2] Both of his parents were Protestants of working-class Irish origin. Lancaster's grandparents were immigrants to the U.S. from Belfast and descendants of English immigrants to Ireland.[2] Lancaster's family believed themselves to be related to Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts. Lancaster grew up in East Harlem and spent much of his time on the streets, where he developed great interest and skill in gymnastics while attending the DeWitt Clinton High School,[2] where he was a basketball star. Before he graduated from DeWitt Clinton, his mother died of a cerebral hemorrhage. Lancaster was accepted into New York University with an athletics scholarship but subsequently dropped out.

[edit] Circus career and militaryAt the age of 9, Lancaster met Nick Cravat, with whom he continued to work throughout his life. Together they learned to act in local theater productions and circus arts at Union Settlement, one of the city's oldest settlement houses.[2] They formed the acrobat duo "Lang and Cravat" and soon joined the Kay Brothers circus. However, in 1939 an injury forced Lancaster to give up the profession, with great regret. (He would later be reunited with Cravat in nine films: The Flame and the Arrow, The Crimson Pirate, Run Silent, Run Deep, The Scalphunters, Airport, Valdez Is Coming, Ulzana's Raid, The Midnight Man and The Island of Dr. Moreau.) He then found temporary work until 1942 — first as a salesman for Marshall Fields, and then as a singing waiter in various restaurants.

The United States having then entered World War II, Lancaster joined the United States Army and performed with the Army's Twenty-First Special Services Division, one of the military groups organized to follow the troops on the ground and provide USO entertainment to keep up morale. He served with General Mark Clark's Fifth Army in Italy from 1943–1945.

[edit] Film career[edit] Acting with Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity (1953)Though initially unenthusiastic about acting, he returned from service, auditioned for a Broadway play, and was offered a role. Although Harry Brown's A Sound of Hunting was not successful, Lancaster's performance drew the attention of a Hollywood agent, Harold Hecht, who introduced him to Hal Wallis, who cast Lancaster in The Killers (1946). (Hecht and Lancaster later formed several production companies in the 1950s to give Lancaster greater creative control.) The tall, muscular actor won significant acclaim and appeared in two more films the following year. Subsequently, he played in a variety of films, especially in dramas, thrillers, and military and adventure films. In two, The Flame and the Arrow and The Crimson Pirate, a friend from his circus years, Nick Cravat, played a key supporting role, and both actors impressed audiences with their acrobatic prowess.

In 1953, Lancaster played one of his best remembered roles with Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity. The American Film Institute acknowledged the iconic status of the scene from that film in which he and Deborah Kerr make love on a Hawaiian beach amid the crashing waves. The organization named it one of "AFI's top 100 Most Romantic Films" of all time.

Lancaster won the 1960 Academy Award for Best Actor, a Golden Globe Award, and the New York Film Critics Award for his performance in Elmer Gantry.

In 1968, at the age of 54, Lancaster appeared nude in director Frank Perry's film, The Swimmer.

During the latter part of his career, Lancaster left adventure and acrobatic movies behind and portrayed more distinguished characters. This period brought him work on several European productions, with directors such as Luchino Visconti and Bernardo Bertolucci. Lancaster sought demanding roles, and if he liked a part or a director, he was prepared to work for much lower pay than he might have earned elsewhere. He even helped to finance movies the artistic value of which he believed in. He also mentored directors such as Sydney Pollack and John Frankenheimer and appeared in several TV films.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Lancaster has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard.

[edit] Directing and producingLancaster was an early and successful actor/producer. In 1952, Lancaster co-produced Crimson Pirate, TheThe Crimson Pirate with producer Harold Hecht (who had previously produced three Lancaster films under his own production company Norma Productions; Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948), The Flame and the Arrow (1950) and Ten Tall Men (1951)). In 1954, they collaborated again on His Majesty O'Keefe, with Lancaster acting and Hecht producing. The writer for this film was James Hill. The trio started a production company, originally with Hill as a silent partner, under the name "Hecht-Lancaster". The name was later extended to include all three with "Hecht-Hill-Lancaster". Together they produced the films Apache (1954), Vera Cruz (1954), Marty (1955) (which won both the Academy Award for Best Picture and the Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival), The Kentuckian (1955), Trapeze (1956), The Bachelor Party (1956), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), Separate Tables (1958), Devil's Disciple, TheThe Devil's Disciple (1959), Take a Giant Step (1959), Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (1960) and Unforgiven, TheThe Unforgiven (1960). The company dissolved in 1960, but Hecht would produce two more films in which Lancaster acted, under Norma Productions, Young Savages, TheThe Young Savages (1961) and Birdman of Alcatraz (1962). Twelve years later, Hecht and Lancaster produced Ulzana's Raid (1972) together.

In the late 1960s, Lancaster teamed with Roland Kibbee to form "Norlan Productions" and produce Scalphunters, TheThe Scalphunters (1968), Valdez Is Coming (1971) and The Midnight Man (1974).

In addition, Lancaster directed two films, The Kentuckian (1955) and The Midnight Man (1974).[3] The Midnight Man was in fact starred in, co-written, produced, and directed by Lancaster.

[edit] Frequent collaborationsApart from acting in a total of seventeen films produced by Harold Hecht, Lancaster also appeared in eight films produced by Hal B. Wallis.

Lancaster made six films over the years with Kirk Douglas, including I Walk Alone (1948), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Devil's Disciple (1959), The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), Seven Days in May (1964) and Tough Guys (1986) which fixed the notion of the pair as something of a team in the public imagination. The connection was firmly cemented by the time Lancaster and Douglas reteamed for their final movie, Tough Guys. Although Douglas was always second billed under Lancaster in these films, with the exceptions of I Walk Alone, in which Douglas played a villain, their roles were usually more or less the same size, and in Seven Days in May, Douglas' part was larger albeit much less dramatic and powerful than Lancaster's.

Lancaster also often asked his close friend Nick Cravat to appear in his films. They co-starred together in nine films: The Flame and the Arrow (1952), Ten Tall Men (1951), Crimson Pirate, TheThe Crimson Pirate (1952), Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), Scalphunters, TheThe Scalphunters (1968), Airport (1970), Valdez Is Coming (1971), Ulzana's Raid (1972), The Midnight Man (1974) and Island of Dr. Moreau , TheThe Island of Dr. Moreau (1977).

Lancaster starred in three films with Deborah Kerr; From Here to Eternity, Separate Tables, and The Gypsy Moths.

In addition, John Frankenheimer directed five films with Lancaster: The Young Savages (1961), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), Seven Days in May (1964), The Train (1964) and The Gypsy Moths (1969).

Lancaster used make-up veteran Robert Schiffer in twenty credited films. Lancaster hired Schiffer on nearly all the films he produced.

[edit] Personal life[edit] Marriages and relationshipsLancaster vigorously guarded his private life. He was married three times. His first two marriages ended in divorce — to June Ernst from 1935 to 1946 and to Norma Anderson from 1946 to 1969. His third marriage, to Susan Martin, was from September 1990 until his death in 1994. All five of his children were with Norma Anderson: Bill (who became a screenwriter), James, Susan, Joanna, and Sighle (pronounced Sheila). He claims he was romantically involved with Deborah Kerr during the filming of From Here to Eternity in 1953.[2] However Ms. Kerr had stated that while there was a spark of attraction, nothing ever happened. He also had an affair with Joan Blondell. In her 1980 autobiography, actress Shelley Winters claimed to have had a long affair with him.

[edit] Political viewsLancaster was a vocal supporter of liberal political causes, and frequently spoke out in support of racial minorities. He was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War and political movements such as McCarthyism, and he helped pay for the successful defense of a soldier accused of "fragging" (murdering) another soldier during the war.[2] In 1968, Lancaster actively supported the presidential candidacy of antiwar Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota, and frequently spoke on his behalf during the Democratic primaries. In 1985, Lancaster, a longtime supporter of gay rights, joined the fight against AIDS after his close friend, Rock Hudson, contracted the disease. He campaigned for Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election.

[edit] Health problems and deathAs Lancaster grew older, heart trouble increasingly hindered him from working. He nearly died during a routine gall bladder operation in January 1980. Following two minor heart attacks he had to undergo an emergency quadruple heart bypass in 1983, after which he was in frail health. He suffered a severe stroke in November 1990, which left him partly paralyzed and with restricted speech. He died in his Century City apartment in Los Angeles from a third heart attack on October 20, 1994 at the age of 80. He was cremated and his ashes were buried under a large oak tree in Westwood Memorial Park located in Westwood Village, Los Angeles County, California. A small square ground plaque inscribed only with "BURT LANCASTER 1913-1994" marks his final resting place - GPS (lat/lon): 34.05856, -118.44061. Upon his death, as he requested, he had no memorial or funeral service.[4]

[edit] Filmography and awards[edit] FilmsYear Film Role Notes 1946 The Killers 'Swede' Andersen 1947 Brute Force Joe Collins 1947 Desert Fury Tom Hanson 1948 I Walk Alone Frankie Madison 1948 All My Sons Chris Keller 1948 Sorry, Wrong Number Henry Stevenson 1948 Kiss the Blood Off My Hands William Earle 'Bill' Saunders 1949 Criss Cross Steve Thompson, narrator 1949 Rope of Sand Michael (Mike) Davis 1950 The Flame and the Arrow Dardo Bartoli 1950 Mister 880 Steve Buchanan 1951 Vengeance Valley Owen Daybright 1951 Jim Thorpe – All-American Jim Thorpe 1951 Ten Tall Men Sgt Mike Kincaid 1952 Crimson Pirate, TheThe Crimson Pirate Capitan Vallo 1952 Come Back, Little Sheba Doc Delaney 1953 South Sea Woman Master Gunnery Sgt. James O'Hearn 1953 From Here to Eternity 1st Sgt. Milton Warden New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor 1953 Three Sailors and a Girl Marine (uncredited) 1954 His Majesty O'Keefe Captain David Dion O'Keefe, narrator 1954 Apache Massai 1954 Vera Cruz Joe Erin 1955 Kentuckian, TheThe Kentuckian Elias Wakefield (Big Eli) Director Nominated—Golden Lion 1955 Rose Tattoo, TheThe Rose Tattoo Alvaro Mangiacavallo 1956 Trapeze Mike Ribble Silver Bear for Best Actor at Berlin[5] 1956 Rainmaker, TheThe Rainmaker Bill Starbuck, aka Bill Smith, Bill Harley, Tornado Johnson Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama 1957 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral Marshal Wyatt Earp 1957 Sweet Smell of Success J.J. Hunsecker 1958 Run Silent, Run Deep Lt. Commander Jim Bledsoe 1958 Separate Tables John Malcolm 1959 Devil's Disciple, TheThe Devil's Disciple The Rev. Anthony Anderson 1960 Unforgiven, TheThe Unforgiven Ben Zachary 1960 Elmer Gantry Elmer Gantry Academy Award for Best Actor Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role 1961 Young Savages, TheThe Young Savages ADA Hank Bell 1961 Judgment at Nuremberg Dr. Ernst Janning 1962 Birdman of Alcatraz Robert Stroud BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Volpi Cup Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama 1963 Child Is Waiting, AA Child Is Waiting Dr. Ben Clark 1963 Leopard, TheThe Leopard Prince Don Fabrizio Salina 1963 List of Adrian Messenger, TheThe List of Adrian Messenger Cameo 1964 Seven Days in May Gen. James Mattoon Scott 1964 Train, TheThe Train Paul Labiche 1965 Hallelujah Trail, TheThe Hallelujah Trail Col. Thaddeus Gearhart 1966 Professionals, TheThe Professionals Bill Dolworth 1967 All About People Narrator 1968 Scalphunters, TheThe Scalphunters Joe Bass 1968 Swimmer, TheThe Swimmer Ned Merrill 1969 Castle Keep Maj. Abraham Falconer 1969 Gypsy Moths, TheThe Gypsy Moths Mike Rettig 1970 Airport Mel Bakersfeld 1971 Lawman Bannock Town Marshal Jered Maddox 1971 Valdez Is Coming Marshal Bob Valdez 1972 Ulzana's Raid U.S. Cavalry Scout McIntosh 1973 Scorpio Cross 1973 Executive Action James Farrington 1974 Midnight Man, TheThe Midnight Man Jim Slade Director 1974 Gruppo di famiglia in un interno (Conversation Piece) The Professor David di Donatello for Best Actor 1976 Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson Ned Buntline 1976 1900 (Novecento) Alfredo's Grandfather 1976 Cassandra Crossing, TheThe Cassandra Crossing Col. Stephen Mackenzie 1977 Twilight's Last Gleaming Gen. Lawrence Dell 1977 Island of Dr. Moreau , TheThe Island of Dr. Moreau Dr. Paul Moreau Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actor 1978 Go Tell the Spartans Maj. Asa Barker 1979 Zulu Dawn Col. Anthony Durnford 1980 Atlantic City Lou Pascal BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor David di Donatello for Best Actor Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor Nominated—Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama 1981 Cattle Annie and Little Britches Bill Doolin 1981 La pelle Gen. Mark Clark 1983 Local Hero Felix Happer Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role 1983 Osterman Weekend, TheThe Osterman Weekend CIA Director Maxwell Danforth 1985 Little Treasure Delbert Teschemacher 1986 Tough Guys Harry Doyle 1987 Il Giorno prima Dr. Herbert Monroe 1988 Rocket Gibraltar Levi Rockwell 1989 Field of Dreams Dr. Archibald 'Moonlight' Graham 1989 La Bottega dell'orefice The Jeweller

[edit] TVYear Film Role Notes 1974 Moses the Lawgiver Moses mini-series 1976 Victory at Entebbe Shimon Peres 1978 Unknown War, TheThe Unknown War As himself, narrator 20 episode USA-USSR archival documentary series on WWII 1982 Marco Polo TeobaldoVisconti / Pope Gregory X mini-series 1982 Verdi Narrator in American version mini-series 1985 Scandal Sheet Harold Fallen 1986 Väter und Söhne - Eine deutsche Tragödie Geheimrat Carl Julius Deutz mini-series 1986 On Wings of Eagles Lieutenant Colonel Arthur D. "Bull" Simons mini-series 1989 I Promessi sposi Cardinal Federigo Borromeo mini-series 1990 Phantom of the Opera , TheThe Phantom of the Opera Gerard Carriere mini-series 1990 Voyage of Terror: The Achille Lauro Affair Leon Klinghoffer 1991 Separate But Equal John W. Davis

[edit] References1.^ "America's Greatest Legends". American Film Institute. Retrieved July 29, 2009. 2.^ a b c d e f Buford, Kate (2008). Burt Lancaster: An American Life. Aurum Press. ISBN 1845133854. Retrieved August 7, 2010. 3.^ Buford, Kate (2008). Burt Lancaster: An American Life. Aurum Press. ISBN 1845133854. 4.^ Short bio-article w/burial location and pictures. 5.^ "6th Berlin International Film Festival: Prize Winners". Retrieved 2009-12-27. [edit] External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Burt Lancaster

Burt Lancaster at the Internet Movie Database Burt Lancaster at the TCM Movie Database Burt Lancaster at Find a Grave Burt Lancaster at Allrovi Burt Lancaster at the Internet Broadway Database Works by or about Burt Lancaster in libraries (WorldCat catalog) Literature on Burt Lancaster [show] Awards for Burt Lancaster

[show]v · d · eAcademy Award for Best Actor (1941–1960)

Gary Cooper (1941) · James Cagney (1942) · Paul Lukas (1943) · Bing Crosby (1944) · Ray Milland (1945) · Fredric March (1946) · Ronald Colman (1947) · Laurence Olivier (1948) · Broderick Crawford (1949) · José Ferrer (1950) · Humphrey Bogart (1951) · Gary Cooper (1952) · William Holden (1953) · Marlon Brando (1954) · Ernest Borgnine (1955) · Yul Brynner (1956) · Alec Guinness (1957) · David Niven (1958) · Charlton Heston (1959) · Burt Lancaster (1960)

Complete list · (1928–1940) · (1941–1960) · (1961–1980) · (1981–2000) · (2001–2020)

[show]v · d · eBAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (1960–1979)

Peter Finch British & Jack Lemmon Foreign (1960) · Peter Finch British & Paul Newman Foreign (1961) · Peter O'Toole British & Burt Lancaster Foreign (1962) · Dirk Bogarde British & Marcello Mastroianni Foreign (1963) · Richard Attenborough British & Marcello Mastroianni Foreign (1964) · Dirk Bogarde British & Lee Marvin Foreign (1965) · Richard Burton British & Rod Steiger Foreign (1966) · Paul Scofield British & Rod Steiger Foreign (1967) · Spencer Tracy (1968) · Dustin Hoffman (1969) · Robert Redford (1970) · Peter Finch (1971) · Gene Hackman (1972) · Walter Matthau (1973) · Jack Nicholson (1974) · Al Pacino (1975) · Jack Nicholson (1976) · Peter Finch (1977) · Richard Dreyfuss (1978) · Jack Lemmon (1979)

Complete list · (1952–1959) · (1960–1979) · (1980–1999) · (2000–2019)

[show]v · d · eBAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (1980–1999)

John Hurt (1980) · Burt Lancaster (1981) · Ben Kingsley (1982) · Michael Caine / Dustin Hoffman (1983) · Haing S. Ngor (1984) · William Hurt (1985) · Bob Hoskins (1986) · Sean Connery (1987) · John Cleese (1988) · Daniel Day-Lewis (1989) · Philippe Noiret (1990) · Anthony Hopkins (1991) · Robert Downey, Jr. (1992) · Anthony Hopkins (1993) · Hugh Grant (1994) · Nigel Hawthorne (1995) · Geoffrey Rush (1996) · Robert Carlyle (1997) · Roberto Benigni (1998) · Kevin Spacey (1999)

Complete list · (1952–1959) · (1960–1979) · (1980–1999) · (2000–2019)

[show]v · d · eGolden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama (1943–1960)

Paul Lukas (1943) · Alexander Knox (1944) · Ray Milland (1945) · Gregory Peck (1946) · Ronald Colman (1947) · Laurence Olivier (1948) · Broderick Crawford (1949) · José Ferrer (1950) · Fredric March (1951) · Gary Cooper (1952) · Spencer Tracy (1953) · Marlon Brando (1954) · Ernest Borgnine (1955) · Kirk Douglas (1956) · Alec Guinness (1957) · David Niven (1958) · Anthony Franciosa (1959) · Burt Lancaster (1960)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Complete List · (1943–1960) · (1961–1980) · (1981–2000) · (2001–2020)

[show]v · d · eAFI's 100 Years...100 Stars

Male Legends Humphrey Bogart • Cary Grant • James Stewart • Marlon Brando • Fred Astaire • Henry Fonda • Clark Gable • James Cagney • Spencer Tracy • Charlie Chaplin • Gary Cooper • Gregory Peck • John Wayne • Laurence Olivier • Gene Kelly • Orson Welles • Kirk Douglas • James Dean • Burt Lancaster • The Marx Brothers • Buster Keaton • Sidney Poitier • Robert Mitchum • Edward G. Robinson • William Holden

Female Legends Katharine Hepburn • Bette Davis • Audrey Hepburn • Ingrid Bergman • Greta Garbo • Marilyn Monroe • Elizabeth Taylor • Judy Garland • Marlene Dietrich • Joan Crawford • Barbara Stanwyck • Claudette Colbert • Grace Kelly • Ginger Rogers • Mae West • Vivien Leigh • Lillian Gish • Shirley Temple • Rita Hayworth • Lauren Bacall • Sophia Loren • Jean Harlow • Carole Lombard • Mary Pickford • Ava Gardner

AFI 100 Years...

Persondata Name Lancaster, Burt Alternative names Lancaster, Burton Stephen Short description American actor Date of birth November 2, 1913 Place of birth New York City, New York, U.S. Date of death October 20, 1994 Place of death Los Angeles, California, U.S. Retrieved from "" Name: Burton Stephen Lancaster Social Security #: 052141561 Sex: Male Birth Date: 2 Nov 1913 Birthplace: New York Death Date: 20 Oct 1994 Death Place: Los Angeles Mother's Maiden Name: Roberts

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Burt Lancaster's Timeline

November 2, 1913
New York, NY, USA
October 20, 1994
Age 80
Los Angeles, CA, USA