Ellen Burstyn Biography | 411Celeb.com
  • Ellen Burstyn Biography

    Born: December 07, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan, United States

    ELLEN BURSTYN’s illustrious fifty-seven year acting career encompasses stage, film, and television.

    In 1975 she became only the third woman in history to win both the Tony Award® and the Academy Award® in the same year, for her work in Bernard Slade’s “Same Time, Next Year” on Broadway, and in Martin Scorsese’s “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” for which she also received a Golden Globe® nomination and a BAFTA for Best Actress. 

    Burstyn has been nominated for an Academy Award® five other times for The Last Picture Show (1972), The Exorcist (1974), Same Time, Next Year(1979), Resurrection (1981), and Requiem for a Dream(2000).  She became a triple crown winner when she won her first Emmy® for a guest appearance in “Law & Order: SVU” (2009), to add to her Oscar and Tony.  She also recently won an Emmy® for USA's short-run series "Political Animals".

    Her many theater credits include the Broadway production of “84 Charring Cross Road” (1982), the acclaimed one-woman play “Shirley Valentine” (1989), as well as “Shimada” (1992), and “Sacrilege” (1995).  Burstyn starred off-Broadway with Burgess Meredith in “Park Your Car in Harvard Yard” (1985).  In the mid-1990s, she starred in regional productions of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful,” “Death of Papa,” and Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” at Houston’s Alley Theatre and at Hartford Stage in Connecticut.  In 2008, she received rave reviews in Stephen Adley Guirgis’ new play “The Little Flower of East Orange,” directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman at The Public Theater in New York.  She also performed in London’s West End in Lillian Hellman’s “The Children’s Hour,” directed by Ian Rickson and co-starring Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss.

    Burstyn has worked with some of film’s most visionary directors from Martin Scorsese to Darren Aronofsky.  She has appeared in films such as: Goodbye, Charlie (1964), Pit Stop (1969), Tropic of Cancer (1970), Alex in Wonderland (1970), The Last Picture Show (1971), The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), The Exorcist (1973), Harry and Tonto (1974), Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974), Providence(1977), A Dream of Passion (1978), Same Time, Next Year (1978), Resurrection (1980), Silence of the North (1981), The Ambassador (1984), Twice in a Lifetime (1985), Hanna’s War (1988), Dying Young (1991), Grand Isle (1991), The Cemetery Club (1993), The Color of Evening (1994), When a Man Loves a Woman (1994), Roommates (1995), The Baby-Sitters Club (1995), How to Make an American Quilt (1995), The Spitfire Grill (1996), Deceiver (1997), You Can Thank Me Later (1998), Playing By Heart (1998), Walking Across Egypt (1999), The Yards (2000), Requiem for a Dream (2000), Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002), The Elephant King (2006), The Wicker Man (2006), The Fountain (2006), The Stone Angel (2007) for which she won the Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in Canada, Oliver Stone’s W (2008), The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (2008), According to Greta (2008), The Mighty Macs (2008), Lovely, Still (2008), Horton Foote’s final screenplay Main Street (2009), Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You (2010), and Sam Levinson’s Another Happy Day (2010).

    In television, Burstyn won her first Emmy® Award for her guest appearance on “Law & Order: SVU” (2009), and received Emmy® nominations for her title role in “The People vs. Jean Harris” (1981), her starring role in “Pack of Lies” (1987) a Hallmark Hall of Fame television production, and for HBO’s “Big Love” (2008).

    She has appeared in many other television movies including: “Surviving” (1985), “Into Thin Air” (1985), “Something in Common” (1986), “When You Remember Me” (1990), “Getting Gotti” (1994), “My Brother’s Keeper” (1995), “Timepiece” (1996), “Within These Walls” (2001), “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” (2004), “Our Fathers” (2005), Mitch Albom’s “For One More Day” (2007), and “Flowers in the Attic” (2014).  She has also starred in three television series: “The Ellen Burstyn Show” (1986), “That’s Life” (2002-2003), and “The Book of Daniel” (2006).

    Burstyn was the first woman elected president of Actors Equity Association (1982-85), and served as the Artistic Director of the famed Actors Studio, where she studied with the late Lee Strasberg.  She continues to be active there as co-president with Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel, and again is serving as the Artistic Director.

    Academically, Burstyn holds four honorary doctorates, one in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, a Doctor of Humane Letters from Dowling College, a doctorate from The New School for Social Research, and a doctorate from Pace University.  She lectures throughout the country on a wide range of topics, and became a national best-selling author with her memoir Lessons in Becoming Myself (2006), published by Riverhead Press.

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