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Ellen Burstyn Biography and Filmography
Ellen Burstyn
Birthday: December 7, 1932
Birth Place: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Height: 5' 7"
Below is a complete filmography (list of movies he's appeared in)
for Ellen Burstyn.
If you have any corrections or additions, please email us.
We'd also be interested in any trivia or other information you have.
Born in Detroit, Ellen Burstyn worked a number of jobs before she became an actress. At 14, she was a short-order cook at a lunch counter. After graduating from Detroit's Cass Technical High School she went to Texas to model and then to New York as a showgirl on "The Jackie Gleason Show" (1952). From there, it was Montreal as a nightclub dancer and then Broadway with her debut in "Fair Game (1957)." By 1963, she appeared on the TV series "The Doctors" (1963), but she gained notice for her role in "Goodbye Charlie (1964)." Ellen then took time off to study acting with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.Her big break came when she was cast as the female lead in The Last Picture Show (1971). For this role, she received nominations for the Golden Globe and Academy Award. Next, she co-starred with Jack Nicholson in The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), giving a chilling performance. Then came The Exorcist (1973). Ellen was again nominated for the Golden Globe and Academy Award. In 1974, she starred in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), playing a waitress, which is a job that she well knows. For this performance, she won the Oscar as Best Actress as well as the British award for the same category. For the Golden Globe, she was nominated but lost to Marsha Mason. The same year, Ellen made history by winning a Tony Award for the Broadway play "Same Time, Next Year." She won praise and award nominations for the movie version of Same Time, Next Year (1978) and Resurrection (1980). "Resurrection" was a another great film in which she played a woman with the power to heal.Even with all these sucessful movies and all the awards, Ellen found that she could barely get a job in the 80s. A succession of TV movies resulting in two Emmy nominations kept Ellen going as did the series "The Ellen Burstyn Show" (1986). The TV movies continued through the 90s. Also in the 90s, Ellen was cast in the supporting role in such movies as The Cemetery Club (1993), How to Make an American Quilt (1995), The Baby-Sitters Club (1995) and The Spitfire Grill (1996). In addition to her acting, Burstyn was the first woman president of Actor's Equity, the actors' union, from 1982 to 1985.
30 Days (2006)
The Fountain (2006)
[ Rachel Weisz ][ Donna Murphy ]
The Wicker Man (2006)
[ Lee Lee Sobieski ][ Molly Parker ][ Frances Conroy ][ Diane Delano ][ Christa Campbell ]
Acceptance (2006)
[ Alison Pill ][ Laila Robin ][ Hayden Panettiere ]
Forgiveness (2006)
[ Alison Pill ][ Laila Robin ][ Alana De La Garza ][ Hayden Panettiere ]
Temptation (2006)
[ Alison Pill ][ Alana De La Garza ][ Hayden Panettiere ]
Revelations (2006)
[ Alison Pill ][ Hayden Panettiere ]
The Elephant King (2006)
Mrs. Harris (2005)
[ Chloe Sevigny ][ Annette Benning ][ Mary McDonnell ][ Cloris Leachman ][ Lisa Edelstein ]
Down in the Valley (2005)
[ Evan Rachel Wood ][ Elizabeth Pena ][ Kat Dennings ][ Michelle Shor ]
Our Fathers (2005)
The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2004)
[ Dagmara Dominczyk ]
The Madam's Family: The Truth About the Canal Street Brothel (2004)
[ Dominique Swain ][ Annabella Sciorra ]
Brush with Fate (2003)
[ Glenn Close ][ Kelly MacDonald ][ Lisa Kreuzer ]
Distance (2002)
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002)
[ Sandra Bullock ][ Ashley Judd ][ Maggie Smith ][ Fionnula Flanagan ][ Jacqueline McKenzie ]
Behind Closed Doors (2002)
[ Debi Mazar ][ Danielle Harris ][ Ginger Lynn Allen ][ Kira Reed ][ Tane McClure ]
Red Dragon (2002)
[ Mary Louise Parker ][ Emily Watson ][ Asia Carrera ][ Azura Skye ][ Stephanie ]
Within These Walls (2001)
[ Laura Dern ][ LaTanya Richardson ]
Dodson's Journey (2001)
[ Penelope Ann Miller ]
Sex in the Suburbs (2001)
[ Debi Mazar ][ Danielle Harris ]
Idiots (2001)
[ Debi Mazar ][ Danielle Harris ][ Jamie Luner ]
M.Y.O.B. (2001)
[ Debi Mazar ][ Danielle Harris ][ Laurel Holloman ]
Mermaid (2000)
[ Jodelle Ferland ][ Samantha Mathis ]
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
[ Jennifer Connelly ]
The Yards (2000)
[ Charlize Theron ][ Faye Dunaway ][ Penny Ellington ]
Walking Across Egypt (1999)
[ Gail O'Grady ][ Dana Ivey ]
Night Ride Home (1999)
[ Thora Birch ][ Rebecca Demornay ]
Playing by Heart (1998)
[ Angelina Jolie ][ Hilary Duff ][ Amanda Peet ][ Gillian Anderson ][ Madeleine Stowe ]
The Patron Saint of Liars (1998)
[ Maggie Gyllenhaal ][ Dana Delaney ][ Marissa Ribisi ][ Jill Gascoigne ]
You Can Thank Me Later (1998)
[ Mary McDonnell ][ Amanda Plummer ][ Genevieve Bujold ][ Macha Grenon ]
Flash (1997)
Deceiver (1997)
[ Renee Zellweger ][ Rosanna Arquette ][ Barbara Harris ]
A Deadly Vision (1997)
[ Kristin Davis ]
Our Son, the Matchmaker (1996)
[ Marisa Coughlan ]
The Spitfire Grill (1996)
[ Marcia Gay-Harden ][ Alison Elliott ]
Cross the Line (1996)
Timepiece (1996)
[ Naomi Watts ][ Lily Nicksay ]
How to Make an American Quilt (1995)
[ Winona Ryder ][ Claire Danes ][ Anne Bancroft ][ Kate Capshaw ][ Alicia Goranson ]
The Baby-Sitters Club (1995)
[ Rachael Leigh Cook ][ Larisa Oleynik ][ Marla Sokoloff ][ Colleen Camp ][ Kyla Pratt ]
Follow the River (1995)
[ Sheryl Lee ][ Renee O'Connor ]
My Brother's Keeper (1995)
[ Annette O'Toole ][ Veronica Cartwright ]
Roommates (1995)
[ Julianne Moore ][ Annie Lennox ][ Barbara Harris ]
Trick of the Eye (1994)
[ Meg Tilly ]
Getting Gotti (1994)
[ Lorraine Bracco ]
When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)
[ Meg Ryan ][ Tina Majorino ][ Mae Whitman ][ Lauren Tom ][ LaTanya Richardson ]
Getting Out (1994)
[ Rebecca Demornay ]
The Color of Evening (1994)
[ Ione Skye ]
Shattered Trust: The Shari Karney Story (1993)
[ Melissa Gilbert ][ Kate Nelligan ][ Shirley Douglas ]
The Cemetery Club (1993)
[ Christina Ricci ][ Diane Ladd ][ Olympia Dukakis ][ Lainie Kazan ][ Barbara Harris ]
Taking Back My Life: The Nancy Ziegenmeyer Story (1992)
[ Joanna Cassidy ][ Eileen Brennan ][ Patricia Wettig ][ Shelly Hack ]
Grand Isle (1991)
[ Kelly McGillis ][ Glenne Headly ]
Dying Young (1991)
[ Julia Roberts ][ Colleen Dewhurst ][ Barbara Harris ]
Mrs. Lambert Remembers Love (1991)
[ Michelle Bauer ]
When You Remember Me (1990)
[ Alisan Porter ][ Lee Garlington ]
Hanna's War (1988)
[ Ingrid Pitt ][ Maruschka Detmers ][ Teri Tordai ]
Look Away (1987)
Pack of Lies (1987)
[ Teri Garr ][ Sammi Davis ]
Act of Vengeance (1986)
[ Ellen Barkin ][ Barbara Harris ]
Something in Common (1986)
[ Tuesday Weld ][ Amanda Wyss ]
Into Thin Air (1985)
Twice in a Lifetime (1985)
[ Ally Sheedy ][ Ann-Margret ][ Amy Madigan ][ Schae Harrison ]
Surviving (1985)
[ Molly Ringwald ][ Heather O'Rourke ]
The Ambassador (1984)
Silence of the North (1981)
The People vs. Jean Harris (1981)
[ Sarah Marshall ]
Resurrection (1980)
A Dream of Passion (1978)
[ Melina Merkouri ]
Same Time, Next Year (1978)
Providence (1977)
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
[ Jodie Foster ][ Laura Dern ][ Diane Ladd ]
Harry and Tonto (1974)
Thursday's Game (1974)
[ Cloris Leachman ]
The Exorcist (1973)
[ Linda Blair ]
The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
Waste: Part 1 (1971)
The Last Picture Show (1971)
[ Cloris Leachman ][ Cybill Shepherd ][ Eileen Brennan ][ Sharon Taggart ][ Kimberley Hyde ]
Alex in Wonderland (1970)
Tropic of Cancer (1970)
[ Ute Eckhardt ]
The Winner (1969)
Goodbye Charlie (1964)
[ Debbie Reynolds ]
For Those Who Think Young (1964)
[ Tina Louise ][ Pamela Tiffin ]
The Big Brain (1963)
Preferably, the Less-Used Arm (1962)
Wagon Girls (1962)
The Navy Caper (1961)
  • Received a permanent spinal injury while filming The Exorcist (1973). In the sequence where she is thrown away from her possessed daughter, a harness jerked her hard away from the bed. She fell on her coccyx and screamed in pain, which was filmed for the movie.
  • She wrote to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences to protest Liv Ullmann's elimination from Oscar contention in 1974 for her performance in Scener ur ett äktenskap (1973) (aka "Scenes from a Marriage"). AMPAS used a rule under which TV presentations must have appeared in movie theaters in the same year, to prevent Ullmann from being nominated. The result is that Burstyn won the Oscar for her performance in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974).
  • Burstyn was not able to attend the 1975 Academy Awards Ceremony, thus couldn't accept her Best Actress Oscar for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974). Martin Scorsese, the film's director, accepted her Oscar on her behalf.
  • Has one grandchild.
  • Chosen by People Magazine as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World." [May 2001]
  • Born at 4:00 AM CST.
  • Wore 20- and 40-pound fat suits and prosthetic necks to play Sara Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream (2000).
  • Said in the book "On Women Turning 50" that she did not attend the 1975 Academy Awards, where she won the Best Actress award for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), because she was certain she would win and could not handle the pressure and attention. After attending several later Oscar ceremonies at which she lost, she regretted not being there to accept her award.
  • Played her Academy Award nominated character from Same Time, Next Year (1978) on Broadway first and won a Tony for the role in 1975.
  • Along with Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel, was named co-president of The Actor's Studio in 2000.
  • Doesn't drink alcohol or coffee and practices Yoga.
  • Was first female president of The Actor's Equity (1982-1985).
  • Served as co-artistic director for The Actor's Studio.
  • Turned down the lead role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) because she had an ill husband to take care of.
  • Says she is often mistaken for fellow actress Louise Fletcher. People tell her she was great in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) (for which Fletcher won an Oscar). Fletcher reports being told frequently that she did a wonderful job in one of Burstyn's roles.
  • Received the National Board of Review's Career Achievement Award in December 2000 at Tavern on the Green.
  • Has one adopted son, Jefferson, and a granddaughter, Emily.
  • Practices the mystical Islamic religion Sufism.
  • Is an ordained minister.
  • Hosted "Saturday Night Live" (1975) in 1980.
  • Is a Vegetarian.
  • Played her Academy Award nominated character from Same Time, Next Year (1978) on Broadway first and won a Tony Award as Best Actress (Dramatic) for the role in 1975.
  • Member of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1981
  • Co-head of jury at the Berlin International Film Festival 1988
  • Member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1977
  • Is Irish American.
  • The character of Jean Harris seems to be a favorite for Ellen Burstyn. Burstyn was Emmy-nominated for the lead role as Jean Harris in the 1981 TV-movie, "The People vs. Jean Harris", and in 2006, she was nominated as a supporting character (as an ex-lover of Jean Harris's lover) in the cable-movie based on the Harris case in "Mrs. Harris" Burstyn is perhaps the first actress to be nominated in a performance that is less than 1-minute long. She is vying for the Emmy with fellow co-star and Oscar-winner Cloris Leachman.
  • Her Emmy-nominated performance in Mrs. Harris (2005) (TV) lasts approximately 15 seconds

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