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Ellen Burstyn Biography

Created Edna Rae Gillooly, Ellen Burstyn located her breakthrough role in 1971’s The Last Picture Show.

Celebrity. Created Edna Rae Gillooly, on December 7, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan. Burstyn left house in the age of 18 to act as a model. In the late 1950s, she got her first routine playing job, as a dancer on television’s The Jackie Gleason Show, billed as Erica Dean. She made her Broadway debut in 1957 in Fair Game, utilizing the stage name Ellen McRae. She’d keep that name for the next ten years, while working steadily on television (the daytime drama The Doctors in 1964 as well as the western-themed show The Iron Horse from 1966 68) and in minor movie characters (1964’s Goodbye, Charlie).

Her performance earned Burstyn her first Academy Award nomination, for Best Supporting Actress. She earned another Oscar nod this time for The Best Actress, two years after, for her part as the middle aged actress whose daughter (Linda Blair) is possessed by demonic powers in The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin.

She later reprised her role in the 1978 movie version, co starring Alan Alda, and garnered another Oscar nomination in the lead actress category. Her fourth Best Actress nod arrived only two years after, for Resurrection (1980).

A respected member of the movie and theatre community, Burstyn served as the very first female president of the Actor’s Equity Association from 1982 to 1985. Burstyn would serve in the Actors Studio place for another six years (Pacino stepped down in 1984). In addition to such spectacular TV movies as Surviving (1985), Into Thin Air (1985), as well as the Emmy-nominated Pack of Lies (1987), Burstyn tried her hand at humor along with her very own show, The Ellen Burstyn Show (1986 87).

Burstyn went to play several little, if memorable, performances in a variety of more pictures, including How to Make an American Quilt (1995), starring Winona Ryder, and The Spitfire Grill (1996). In 1998, she was featured within the remarkable ensemble cast of Playing By Heart, also featuring Sean Connery, Gena Rowlands, and Angelina Jolie. Burstyn plays a girl coping with her grown son’s struggle with AIDS in the movie.

In 2000, Burstyn played to a decidedly younger audience along with her costarring role opposite adolescent heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas in the small-seen Walking Across Egypt. She was likewise featured in a modest part in the crime drama The Yards, starring Mark Wahlberg, James Caan, and Joaquin Phoenix. On the little screen, she was a regular on the newest comedy show That Is Life, playing the busybody mother of a grown woman who decides to return to school to get her degree. By far her crowning accomplishment of the year, nevertheless, was her harrowing portrayal of a girl hooked on diet pills in the edgy, affecting drama Requiem for a Dream, directed by Darren Aronofsky. The performance earned Burstyn a sixth general Academy Award nomination, her fifth for Best Performer.

Burstyn continued to juggle movie and television jobs.

Recently, Burstyn has flourished on the little screen. She won an Emmy Award for her work with the miniseries the next year. In 2014, Burstyn had a supporting character in the television movie Flowers in the Attic, on the basis of the novel by V.C. Andrews. Her unsettling turn as a troubled grandma netted her an Emmy Award nomination. The exact same year, Burstyn had a recurring character on the sitcom Louie.

Burstyn has been wed and divorced three times – to poet William C. Alexander (1950 55), director Paul Roberts (1957 59), and performer Neil Burstyn (1960-1971). She and Neil Burstyn adopted a son, Jefferson. She’s also the artistic director for the studio’s New York location.

Ellen Burstyn Biography