Raised in East Harlem, New York
Founder (with Nick Cravat) of Lang and Cravat acrobatic team
Performed with many circuses (including Ringling Bros.), Also in vaudeville, at funfairs and nightclubs during 1930s
Injured right hand; gave up acrobatics and worked as a firefighter, refrigeration company inspector and as a floor walker, then salesman for Marshall Field and Company, Chicago IL
Drafted into Army, Special Services Division stationed in North Africa and Italy, where he directed and appeared in revues including "Stars and Gripes"
Allegedly was discovered in an elevator by producer and agent Irving L. Jacobs, who mistook him for an actor; resulted in his auditioning for first professional acting role on Broadway
Broadway debut in "A Sound of Hunting" (23 performances)
Made feature film acting debut in the leading role of Robert Siodmak's film noir, "The Killers"
Made first of six films in which he co-starred opposite Kirk Douglas, "I Walk Alone"
Formed Norma Productions (first of 14 production companies in which he was involved); company's first production, "Kiss the Blood Off My Hands", a film noir in which Lancaster starred opposite Joan Fontaine
Radio debut, "I Walk Alone" (Lux Radio Theatre)
Founded Harold Hecht-Norma Productions (changed to Hecht-Lancaster Productions in 1954)
Debut as producer, "The First Time"
Received first of four Oscar nominations as Best Actor for "From Here to Eternity"
Film directing debut (also actor), "The Kentuckian"
Hecht-Lancaster Productions took on another partner, James Hill, and became Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Productions
Turned down the title role in "Ben-Hur"
Last producing credit for 14 years, "Summer of the 17th Doll", an Australian-made film in which he did not appear as an actor
Dissolved Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Productions
Received third Oscar nomination for Best Actor for "Birdman of Alcatraz"
First foreign-language production, the Italian-made Luchino Visconti film, "Il gattopardo/The Leopard"
Was encouraged by many friends and colleagues to run opposite Ronald Reagan as governor of California, but refused
Returned to stage in "Knickerbocker Holiday" in San Francisco
Feature co-writing debut (with Ronald Kibbee), "The Midnight Man", which he also co-produced and starred in; film also marked his second feature directorial effort; Lancaster co-directed with Roland Kibbee
First TV miniseries, "Moses--The Lawgiver", in which he played the title role
Received a fourth Oscar nomination for Best Actor for the Louis Malle film, "Atlantic City"
Hosted a six-part historical, biographical miniseries on PBS, "The Life of Verdi"
Underwent quadruple bypass surgery
Last of six films opposite Kirk Douglas, "Tough Guys"
Sued the production companies (Fonda Film Productions and Columbia Pictures) which fired him from a leading role in "Old Gringo" opposite Jane Fonda and Jimmy Smits, when his heart conditions increased the film's insurance premiums; Lancaster was replaced by Gregory Peck
Last American film, "Field of Dreams"
Made last feature film, "The Betrothed", an Italian-German-Dutch-Yugoslavian co-production
Suffered stroke while visiting Dana Andrews in a nursing home (November 30)
Last acting role, in a TV-movie, "Separate but Equal", co-starring Sidney Poitier