TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (17)
|Also Known As:||Died:||October 20, 1994|
|Born:||November 2, 1913||Cause of Death:||heart attack|
|Birth Place:||New York City, New York, USA||Profession:||Cast ...|
"The Prince (in "The Leopard") was a very complex character-at times autoocratic, rude, strong--at times romantic, good, understanding--and sometimes even stupid, and above all, mysterious. Burt is all these things too. I sometimes think Burt the most perfectly mysterious man I have ever met in my life." --Luchino Visconti (quoted in "Encyclopedia of Film Stars" by Douglas Jarvis, 1985)
"He is as extroverted as an actor can be. When he entered movies he was a beautiful blank--an athlete-actor, like Jim Brown, all physical charge. A typically American star, he was best in the open air and when his desires were expressed (and fulfilled) in direct physical action. The only time he had a strong personality was when he was bounding through a swashbuckler, like the classic "The Crimison Pirate", or selling pure energy, as in "The Rainmaker". Acting with his whole body, he was buoyantly beautiful, and his grin--with those great white Chiclets flashing--could make you grin back at the screen. Yet when he closed his mouth there was an appealing puzzled dissatisfaction in his slightly traumatized look, and that, too, came to seem typically American--taking pleasure in action but feeling violated and incomplete." --Pauline Kael in her review of "Conversation Piece" in The New Yorker, September 29, 1975.
"He admits that Shirley Booth once told him, 'Burt, once in a while you hit a note of truth and you can hear a bell ring. But most of the time I can see the wheels turning and your brain working.'" --David Shipman ("The Great Movie Stars: The International Years", 1972)
"His vitality is more than cheerfulness or strength; he seems charged with power. This accounts for his threatening, polite calm as a villian and coincides with Norman Mailer's comment that he never looked into eyes as chilling as Lancaster's. He seems soft spoken and attentive, until one notices the intensity of his gaze." --David Thomson ("A Biographical Dictionary of Film", 1975)
"He is remembered by the laugh. His muscular head would snap back, and out would come three bold, staccato barks: 'Ha. Ha. Ha.' That laugh helped define Burt Lancaster's personality and gave employment to a generation of mimics. But the cool thing about the Lancaster laugh was that it could mean anything; it might express amusement or a jolly contempt. His smile, a CinemaScope revelation of perfect teeth, had the same enigmatic edge to it... Was it seductive or perhaps a predatory baring of fangs? This mystique made Lancaster... the first modernist movie hunk... Lancaster had been a salesman too, and these performances suggested that here was a man who could peddle any dream to anybody... In an important way, Lancaster put a brash face on poststudio Hollywood, on the industry-cum-art that wanted to retain its old magic while venturing to faraway places and into man's dark heart. And that's a grand legacy for a mysterious, hard-working man." --Richard Corliss Time, October 31, 1994.
He was at one time president of the American Civil Liberties Union and was later appointed a national advisory council member.
He represented the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) before the US Select Committee on Aging in Washington DC in 1990.
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