Burt Lancaster


Actor
Burt Lancaster

About

Also Known As
Burton Stephen Lancaster
Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
November 02, 1913
Died
October 20, 1994
Cause of Death
Heart Attack

Biography

Fame came to Burt Lancaster with his first film role, as the doomed Swede in Universal’s "The Killers" (1946), but the former circus acrobat knew better than to leave his career in other hands. After less than two years in Hollywood, Lancaster formed his own production company and took the lead in such popular successes as the Technicolor swashbucklers "The Flame and the Arrow" (1950) an...

Photos & Videos

The Train - Lobby Card Set
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral - Publicity Stills
Trapeze - Movie Poster

Family & Companions

June Ernst
Wife
Circus acrobat. Married in 1935; divorced in 1936.
Norma Marie Anderson
Wife
Former actor. Married on December 26, 1946; divorced in 1969; met during WWII when she was a USO worker.
Shelley Winters
Companion
Actor. Had on-again, off-again relationship.
Deborah Kerr
Companion
Actor. Had relationship during filming of "From Here to Eternity".

Bibliography

"Burt Lancaster: An American Life"
Kate Buford, Alfred A. Knopf (2000)

Notes

"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.

Biography

Fame came to Burt Lancaster with his first film role, as the doomed Swede in Universal’s "The Killers" (1946), but the former circus acrobat knew better than to leave his career in other hands. After less than two years in Hollywood, Lancaster formed his own production company and took the lead in such popular successes as the Technicolor swashbucklers "The Flame and the Arrow" (1950) and "The Crimson Pirate" (1952) and the noble failure "Sweet Smell of Success" (1959), later called one the greatest films of all time. The athletic, savvy but passionate Lancaster remained a box office draw for 20 years, winning a 1961 Academy Award for playing the corrupt evangelist "Elmer Gantry" (1960), but his power to pull in moviegoers waned with the death of the studio system and his own disinterest in acting the Hollywood hero. Lancaster took chances in such challenging films as "The Swimmer" (1968), "Castle Keep" (1969) and "Ulzana’s Raid" (1972) while his best work through the next decade was often in European features like "1900" (1976) and "Atlantic City" (1980), which netted him an Oscar nomination. In his later years, the actor was better known to younger Americans from TV spots for MCI, the ACLU, and AIDS research, and for his final film role in the hit "Field of Dreams" (1989). Five years after his death in 1994, the American Film Institute pointed a new generation of film fans Burt Lancaster’s way when they conferred upon him the posthumous designation of living legend.

Burton Stephen Lancaster was born on June 11, 1913, in the largely immigrant community of East Harlem in New York City. Lancaster’s father, a second generation Irish-American and postal clerk at Manhattan’s General Post Office, had won song and dance competitions in his youth based on the strength of his rich tenor voice and his mastery of several musical instruments. His mother, the former Elizabeth "Lizzie" Roberts, had had three children before him and one after his birth, who died in infancy. Lancaster’s given name was in tribute to the surgeon who delivered him. Growing up in an Irish-Protestant household, he learned the ideals of honesty and charity but developed a yearning for adventure while exploring the streets of Manhattan. Early work came with a paper route and a job shining shoes outside of Macy’s Department Store. A preteen Lancaster was knocked down by automobiles no less than eight times and once broke his nose falling from a fire escape. During the Depression, he performed in plays at the Union Settlement House in East Harlem and worked as a basketball coach. An incident in which Lancaster was stabbed accidentally by a friend led to a near fatal staph infection and a year’s confinement in bed.

A star basketball player at DeWitt Clinton High School, Lancaster continued to New York University on an athletic scholarship. He quit NYU in 1932 to join the one-ring Kay Brothers Circus. After a single season, Lancaster moved to the Russell Brothers Circus and, later, with his marriage to acrobat June Ernst, to the three-ring Barnett Brothers Circus. Lancaster finished out the 1935 summer season working at Luna Park in Coney Island before going on government relief. Applying for a job with the Works Progress Administration, he performed in WPA-sponsored circuses. After an injury to his hand and the dissolution of his first marriage, Lancaster worked as a lingerie salesman in Chicago and singing waiter in New Jersey before joining the U.S. Army’s Twenty-First Special Service Division during World War II. As part of the Army Service Forces, Lancaster put on shows for shell-shocked soldiers fresh from the frontlines, relying on his talents as a gymnast and vaudevillian to entertain the troops and his facility as a scrounger to retrieve props and costumes from bombed out buildings in Rome.

Back in the United States post-war, Lancaster pursued an acting career with some diffidence. He made his Broadway debut as Burton Lancaster in Harry Brown’s wartime drama "A Sound of Hunting," the source for Edward Dmytryk’s 1952 film "Eight Iron Men." Though the production closed after 12 performances, Lancaster caught the eye of Hollywood agent Harold Hecht. Hecht provided Lancaster with an introduction to producer Hal Wallis, who paved the way for the actor’s debut as the doomed Swede in Robert Siodmak’s noir classic "The Killers" (1946) at Universal. Siodmak and cinematographer Elwood Bredell employed stark chiaroscuro lighting to offset Lancaster’s angular face and chiseled physique, creating an instant Hollywood star, along with his co-star Ava Gardner. Reviews of the day referred to Lancaster as a "brawny Apollo" and a "brute with the eyes of an angel." He celebrated his success by inhabiting plush new digs in Malibu’s Pacific Palisades, into which he would move his family and his second wife, Norma Anderson, with whom he had already conceived one child.

Lancaster’s film roles through the next few years traded on his tough guy image in such films as Jules Dassin’s "Brute Force" (1947), Byron Haskin’s "I Walk Alone" (1948) and Robert Siodmak’s "Criss Cross" (1949). He varied the image slightly, playing Barbara Stanwyck’s weakling husband in Anatole Litvak’s "Sorry, Wrong Number" (1948) and Edward G. Robinson’s conscience-bound son in Irving Reis’ "All My Sons" (1948), a personal project for which he took a $50,000 salary cut. With agent Hecht, Lancaster formed his own production company. Hecht-Lancaster enjoyed its first popular success with the swashbuckler "The Flame and the Arrow" (1950), directed by Jacques Tourneur. This and subsequent films, such as Michael Curtiz’ "Jim Thorpe: All American" (1951) and Robert Siodmak’s "The Crimson Pirate" (1952), allowed the actor to showcase his natural athleticism, while straight dramas such as Daniel Mann’s "Come Back, Little Sheba" (1952) and Fred Zinnemann’s "From Here to Eternity" (1953), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, encouraged him to stretch and mature as a performer.

Pushing into middle age, Lancaster enjoyed a string of star turns in such high-profile productions as Robert Aldrich’s "Vera Cruz" (1954) opposite Gary Cooper, Daniel Mann’s "The Rose Tattoo" (1955) with Italian actress Anna Magnani, and as the title character in Joseph Anthony’s "The Rainmaker" (1956), co-starring Katharine Hepburn. Lancaster tried his hand at directing a feature with "The Kentuckian" (1955) and financed with Hecht and producer James Hill the Academy Award-winning "Marty" (1955), starring Ernest Borgnine. A pet project was the Hecht-Hill-Lancaster production "Sweet Smell of Success" (1957), a scalding expose of the New York publicity industry with Lancaster playing a thinly-veiled caricature of gossip columnist Walter Winchell. Shot on location in Manhattan by James Wong Howe and briskly directed by Alexander Mackendrick, the film was a box office disappointment whose failure wounded Lancaster deeply. More successful that year was John Sturges’ "The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" (1959), in which Lancaster played frontier lawman Wyatt Earp to Kirk Douglas’ hair-trigger Doc Holliday.

Lancaster won an Academy Award for his portrayal of corrupt evangelist "Elmer Gantry" (1960) but the milestone also marked the downward arc of his tenure as a Hollywood leading man. Nonetheless, the actor received another Oscar nod for playing Robert Franklin Stroud, a criminal recidivist known as the "Birdman of Alcatraz" (1962), and traveled to Italy to work for Luchino Visconti in "The Leopard" (1963), opposite Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale. A crowd pleaser for Lancaster was "The Professionals" (1966), a rousing Western co-starring Lee Marvin, Woody Strode and Robert Ryan. More pet projects included John Frankenheimer’s "The Train" (1964), Frank Perry’s "The Swimmer" (1968), and Sydney Pollack’s "Castle Keep" (1969). Uninterested in playing heroes or characters with whom he was in agreement politically, Lancaster seemed to relish thwarting audience expectations. Going through the motions in Arthur Hiller’s cash cow "Airport" (1970), Lancaster was more in his element in a string of revisionist Westerns, among them Robert Aldrich’s grim Vietnam parable "Ulzana’s Raid" (1972). He directed a second film, the murder mystery "The Midnight Man" (1974), and traveled to the Middle East to appear as "Moses, the Lawgiver" (1976), with his own son Bill contributing a cameo as the young Moses.

Better late-life roles for Lancaster were as Robert De Niro’s autocratic grandfather in Bernardo Bertolucci’s "1900" (1976) and as a military advisor in the Vietnam War drama "Go Tell the Spartans" (1979), directed by Ted Post. Now firmly in elder statesman mode, the actor scored sterling notices for his roles as an aging gangland flunky in Louis Malle’s "Atlantic City" (1980) – which earned him his fourth and final Academy Award nomination – as an elderly outlaw in Lamont Johnson’s distaff Western "Cattle Annie and Little Britches" (1981), and as an astronomy-obsessed Texas oilman in Bill Forsythe’s wry comedy "Local Hero" (1983). Near the end of his life, Lancaster capped his career by reteaming with frequent co-star Kirk Douglas for Brian De Palma’s "Tough Guys" (1986), playing the dying patriarch of a sprawling but dysfunctional Long Island family in Daniel Petrie’s "Rocket Gibraltar" (1988) and appearing in the small but memorable role of an aging baseball rookie who remembers his glory days with the Chicago White Sox in the Kevin Costner classic "Field of Dreams" (1989). The production marked Lancaster’s last feature film appearance and one of his most successful.

In his final years, Lancaster was a tireless spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the People for the American Way, liberal political organizations either targeted for derision by then-President George H. W. Bush as un-American or founded to counter the demographic swing in the United States toward conservatism. Lancaster also appeared in print ads supporting aid for AIDS and TV spots that urged consumers to be wary of the bold claims of the large pharmaceutical companies. Though he projected the image of ageless vitality well into his seventies, Lancaster was plagued by heart troubles, requiring quadruple bypass. In 1990, he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. Burt Lancaster died of a heart attack on Oct. 21, 1994, at his home in Century City, CA, just weeks before his 81st birthday. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked the actor at 19th on its list of "50 Male Movie Legends."

By Richard Harland Smith

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Midnight Man (1974)
Director
The Kentuckian (1955)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Field Of Dreams (1989)
La Boutique de l'orfevre (1989)
Jeweller
Rocket Gibraltar (1988)
Dawn's Early Light: Ralph McGill and the Segregated South (1988)
Voice Of Ralph Mcgill
Control (1987)
Barnum (1986)
Tough Guys (1986)
Scandal Sheet (1985)
Little Treasure (1985)
Local Hero (1983)
The Osterman Weekend (1983)
The Skin (1981)
General Mark Clark
Cattle Annie and Little Britches (1981)
Bill Doolin
Atlantic City (1980)
Arthur Miller on Home Ground (1979)
Himself
Zulu Dawn (1979)
Go Tell the Spartans (1978)
Major Asa Barker
The Cassandra Crossing (1977)
The Island Of Dr. Moreau (1977)
1900 (1977)
Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977)
Victory at Entebbe (1976)
Ali the Man: Ali the Fighter (1975)
Conversation Piece (1974)
Professor
The Midnight Man (1974)
Executive Action (1973)
Scorpio (1973)
Ulzana's Raid (1972)
McIntosh
Valdez Is Coming (1971)
[Bob] Valdez
Lawman (1971)
Marshal Jered Maddox
King: A Filmed Record ... Montgomery to Memphis (1970)
Airport (1970)
Mel Bakersfeld
The Gypsy Moths (1969)
Mike Rettig
Castle Keep (1969)
Major Falconer
The Scalphunters (1968)
Joe Bass
The Swimmer (1968)
Ned Merrill
The Professionals (1966)
Bill Dolworth
The Hallelujah Trail (1965)
Col. Thadeus Gearhart
The Train (1965)
Labiche
Seven Days in May (1964)
Gen. James M. Scott
A Child Is Waiting (1963)
Dr. Matthew Clark
The Leopard (1963)
Prince Don Fabrizio Salina
The List of Adrian Messenger (1963)
Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)
Robert Stroud
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
Ernst Janning
The Young Savages (1961)
Hank Bell
The Unforgiven (1960)
Ben Zachary
Elmer Gantry (1960)
Elmer Gantry
The Devil's Disciple (1959)
Anthony Anderson
Separate Tables (1958)
John Malcolm
Run Silent Run Deep (1958)
Lt. James Bledsoe
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)
Wyatt Earp
The Heart of Show Business (1957)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
J. J. Hunsecker
The Rainmaker (1956)
Bill Starbuck, also known as Bill Smith and Tornado Johnson
Trapeze (1956)
Mike Ribble
The Rose Tattoo (1955)
Alvaro Mangiacavallo
The Kentuckian (1955)
The Kentuckian [Big Eli Wakefield]
Apache (1954)
Massai
His Majesty O'Keefe (1954)
Capt. David Dean O'Keefe
Vera Cruz (1954)
Joe Erin
South Sea Woman (1953)
Sgt. James O'Hearn
Come Back, Little Sheba (1953)
"Doc" Delaney
Three Sailors and a Girl (1953)
Himself
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Sgt. Milton Warden
The Crimson Pirate (1952)
Capt. Vallo
Ten Tall Men (1951)
Sergeant Mike Kincaid
Vengeance Valley (1951)
Owen Daybright
Jim Thorpe--All-American (1951)
Jim Thorpe
Mister 880 (1950)
Steve Buchanan
The Flame and the Arrow (1950)
Dardo
Criss Cross (1949)
Steve Thompson
Rope of Sand (1949)
Mike Davis
All My Sons (1948)
Chris Keller
Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948)
Bill Saunders
Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
Henry Stevenson
I Walk Alone (1948)
Frankie Madison
Brute Force (1947)
Joe Collins
Desert Fury (1947)
Tom Hanson
Variety Girl (1947)
The Killers (1946)
Ole "Swede" Anderson, also known as Pete Lund

Writer (Feature Film)

The Midnight Man (1974)
Screenplay

Producer (Feature Film)

The Midnight Man (1974)
Producer
Valdez Is Coming (1971)
Executive Producer
The Bachelor Party (1957)
Producer
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Executive Producer
Trapeze (1956)
Presented By
Marty (1955)
Producer
His Majesty O'Keefe (1954)
Producer

Production Companies (Feature Film)

The Unforgiven (1960)
Company

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Arthur Miller on Home Ground (1979)
Other

Cast (Special)

Benny Carter: Symphony in Riffs (1992)
Narrator
MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon (1990)
The Television Academy Hall of Fame (1989)
Performer
Happy Birthday, Hollywood! (1987)
Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist (1987)
Narrator
The Tenth Annual Circus of the Stars (1985)
I Love Liberty (1982)
Super Comedy Bowl 2 (1972)

Cast (Short)

The Sky Divers (1969)
Himself

Misc. Crew (Short)

The Screen Director (1951)
Archival Footage

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Separate but Equal (1991)
John W Davis
Voyage of Terror: The Achille Lauro Affair (1990)
Phantom of the Opera (1990)
Sins of the Fathers (1988)
"Councillor" Carl Julius Deutz
On Wings Of Eagles (1986)
Marco Polo (1982)
Moses (1975)

Life Events

1932

Founder (with Nick Cravat) of Lang and Cravat acrobatic team

1939

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

1945

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

1945

Broadway debut in "A Sound of Hunting" (23 performances)

1946

Made feature film acting debut in the leading role of Robert Siodmak's film noir, "The Killers"

1947

Made first of six films in which he co-starred opposite Kirk Douglas, "I Walk Alone"

1948

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

1948

Founded Harold Hecht-Norma Productions (changed to Hecht-Lancaster Productions in 1954)

1948

Radio debut, "I Walk Alone" (Lux Radio Theatre)

1952

Debut as producer, "The First Time"

1953

Received first of four Oscar nominations as Best Actor for "From Here to Eternity"

1954

Film directing debut (also actor), "The Kentuckian"

1955

Hecht-Lancaster Productions took on another partner, James Hill, and became Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Productions

1959

Turned down the title role in "Ben-Hur"

1960

Last producing credit for 14 years, "Summer of the 17th Doll", an Australian-made film in which he did not appear as an actor

1962

Dissolved Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Productions

1962

Received third Oscar nomination for Best Actor for "Birdman of Alcatraz"

1963

First foreign-language production, the Italian-made Luchino Visconti film, "Il gattopardo/The Leopard"

1971

Returned to stage in "Knickerbocker Holiday" in San Francisco

1974

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

1975

First TV miniseries, "Moses--The Lawgiver", in which he played the title role

1981

Received a fourth Oscar nomination for Best Actor for the Louis Malle film, "Atlantic City"

1983

Hosted a six-part historical, biographical miniseries on PBS, "The Life of Verdi"

1983

Underwent quadruple bypass surgery

1986

Last of six films opposite Kirk Douglas, "Tough Guys"

1988

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

1989

Last American film, "Field of Dreams"

1990

Suffered stroke while visiting Dana Andrews in a nursing home (November 30)

1990

Made last feature film, "The Betrothed", an Italian-German-Dutch-Yugoslavian co-production

1991

Last acting role, in a TV-movie, "Separate but Equal", co-starring Sidney Poitier

Photo Collections

The Train - Lobby Card Set
The Train - Lobby Card Set
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral - Publicity Stills
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral - Publicity Stills
Trapeze - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Trapeze (1956), starring Burt Lancaster, Gina Lollobrigida, and Tony Curtis. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
His Majesty O'Keefe - Movie Poster
His Majesty O'Keefe - Movie Poster
The Killers - Movie Posters
Here are a few original release American movie posters for Universal's The Killers (1946), starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner.
Come Back, Little Sheba - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Come Back, Little Sheba (1953), starring Burt Lancaster and Shirley Booth. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Train - Movie Poster
The Train - Movie Poster
Mister 880 - Lobby Cards
Mister 880 - Lobby Cards
Brute Force - Movie Posters
Here are a variety of original-release movie posters for Universal's Brute Force (1947), starring Burt Lancaster and Yvonne DeCarlo.
Elmer Gantry - Movie Poster
Here is an original American 1-Sheet movie poster from United Artists' Elmer Gantry (1960), starring Burt Lancaster. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Birdman of Alcatraz - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), starring Burt Lancaster. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Sorry, Wrong Number - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Sorry, Wrong Number (1948), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Leopard - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Luchino Visconti's The Leopard (1963), starring Burt Lancaster. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
From Here to Eternity - Movie Posters
Here are a few original release movie posters for From Here to Eternity (1953), starring Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra, and Donna Reed.
Judgment at Nuremberg - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), directed by Stanley Kramer. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Sweet Smell of Success - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release American movie posters for Sweet Smell of Success (1957), starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis.
Jim Thorpe -- All-American - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Warner Bros' Jim Thorpe -- All-American (1951), starring Burt Lancaster. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Buffalo Bill And The Indians (1976) - Everything Historical Is Yours Amid the continuous rehearsal, first appearance by Burt Lancaster as Ned Buntline, Joel Grey as producer Salisbury, Geraldine Chaplin as Annie Oakley, John Considine her husband and manager, Harvey Keitel the nephew of the title character, Kevin McCarthy as Major Burke, and Paul Newman heard but not seen, in Robert Altman’s Buffalo Bill And The Indians Or , Sitting Bull's History Lesson, 1976.
Seven Days In May (1964) - God Help Our Country! JSOC staff Colonel Casey (Kirk Douglas) grows more worried watching first blow-hard McPherson (Hugh Marlowe) then his boss, the possibly treasonous General Scott (Burt Lancaster), addressing veterans on TV, in John Frankenheimer's Seven Days In May, 1964.
Seven Days In May (1964) - Like Overfed Ducks Early and high-tech conference between adjutant Col. Casey (Kirk Douglas) and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Scott (Burt Lancaster), who's planning a coup after the American president signed a nuclear treaty with the Soviet Union, in John Frankenheimer's Seven Days In May, 1964.
Marty (1955) - I'm The Stocky One Unmarried butcher Ernest Borgnine (title character), in one of the scenes that doubtless won him his Academy Award, having grown alarmed over proposed changes in his domestic status, calls up a girl he hardly knows, Delbert Mann directing from Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay, in Marty, 1955.
Train, The (1965) - Get Off My Train! First proving sabotage, which he's apparently arranged himself, to his German boss, French rail inspector Labiche (Burt Lancaster, doing his own stunts) tries to get crotchety engineer Papa Boule (Michel Simon) to escape an Allied air raid, in John Frankenheimer's The Train, 1965.
Train, The (1965) - There's A War French rail inspector Labiche (Burt Lancaster) scurries back from some sabotage work, encounters innkeeper Christine (Jeanne Moreau) whom he's just met, German Colonel von Waldheim (Paul Scofield) and aide Schmidt (Jean Bouchaud) getting stonewalled, in John Frankenheimer's The Train, 1965.
Marty (1955) - Blind Date With A Dog Visiting the "Stardust Ballroom" in the Bronx, having grown desperate about his bachelor status, Ernest Borgnine (title character) meets callous "Herb," (Nick Brkch), whose treatment of Clara (Betsy Blair), whom we've just met, displeases him, in director Delbert Mann's Marty, 1955.
Marty (1955) - I Have A Feeling About You Having unexpectedly hit it off with Clara (Betsy Blair), a schoolteacher dumped on a blind date whom he graciously rescued, bachelor butcher Ernest Borgnine (title character) winds up talking about his life and family, in his Academy Award-winning performance in Marty, 1955.
Marty (1955) - They Get The Married The opening from director Delbert Mann and writer Paddy Chayefsky, Ernest Borgnine in his Academy Award-winning title role, character actress Minerva Urecal his customer, in Marty, 1955, co-starring Betsy Blair.
Separate Tables (1958) - Don't Get Into One Of Your States Opening scene, Delbert Mann directing, from Terence Rattigan’s screenplay based on his international hit play, we meet David Niven in his Academy Award-winning role as Major Pollock, Deborah Kerr as Sibyl, Gladys Cooper her mother, in Separate Tables, 1958.
Separate Tables (1958) - Mayfair From Head To Foot Early evening at the Hotel Beauregard, guests (Felix Aylmer, May Hallatt, Cathleen Nesbitt, Gladys Cooper) are not expecting Rita Hayworth, as Ann Shankland, greeted by proprietor Pat (Wendy Hiller), and seeking a guest we’ve not yet met, in Separate Tables, 1958.
Separate Tables (1958) - Propulsive Powers Of Irish Whiskey Sybil, her mother and Lady Matheson (Debora Herr, Gladys Cooper, Cathleen Nesbitt) react to the first appearance of Burt Lancaster as rogue-ish John Malcolm, whom we quickly learn has important relations with the hotel owner Pat (Wendy Hiller), in Separate Tables, 1958.

Trailer

Marty (1955) - (Original Trailer) Burt Lancaster, who produced with business partner Harold Hecht, hosts the original trailer the 1955 Best Picture Academy Award-winner, which also won for director Delbert Mann, Paddy Chayefsky’s story and screenplay, and Ernest Borgnine’s performance in the title role, Marty.
Devil's Disciple, The (1959) -- (Original Trailer) Co-stars and producers Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas top-billed, but sharing credit with their hired colleague Laurence Olivier, playing the British General Burgoyne, in the England-made and UA distributed The Devil’s Disciple, 1959, from the George Bernard Shaw play.
Separate Tables - (Original Trailer) Producer (and co-star) Burt Lancaster himself pitches Separate Tables, 1958, featuring Academy Award winners David Niven and Wendy Hiller.
South Sea Woman - (Original Trailer) A Marine sergeant (Burt Lancaster) battles Nazi agents to help a showgirl escape war torn China in South Sea Woman (1953).
Seven Days in May - (Original Trailer) The U.S. President is threatened by a military coup in Seven Days in May (1964) written by Rod Serling and starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas.
Field Of Dreams - (Original Trailer) "If you build it, he will come" is the message given to Iowa farmer Kevin Costner in Field Of Dreams (1989).
Mister 880 - (Original Trailer) A beloved old man is secretly Mister 880, an amateurish counterfeiter in Mister 880 (1950) starring Burt Lancaster as the agent out to get him.
Unforgiven, The - (Original Trailer) Audrey Hepburn and Burt Lancaster star in John Huston's western The Unforgiven (1960) about a rancher's adopted daughter torn between two worlds.
Rose Tattoo, The - (Original Trailer) Anna Magnani got a Best Actress Academy Award® as a widow courted by truck driver Burt Lancaster in Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo (1955).
Swimmer, The - (Original Trailer) A tortured man reflects on past mistakes while "swimming" home through his neighbors' pools in The Swimmer (1968) starring Burt Lancaster.
Cassandra Crossing, The - (Original Trailer) An all-star cast is trapped on a train carrying a deadly virus in The Cassandra Crossing (1976) starring Sophia Loren and Martin Sheen.
All My Sons - (Original Trailer) Burt Lancaster finds out his father is a war profiteer in the movie of Arthur Miller's All My Sons (1948).

Promo

Family

James Lancaster
Father
Post office clerk.
Jane Lancaster
Mother
William Lancaster
Brother
Died in 1955.
James Lancaster Jr
Brother
Police officer. Died in 1961.
William Henry Lancaster
Son
Actor, screenwriter. Born in 1947; mother, Norma Anderson; acted with father in TV-movie, "Moses: The Lawgiver" and theatrical film "The Midnight Man"; co-scripted "The Bad News Bears" (1976) and "The Thing" (1982); died on January 4, 1997 of cardiac arrest.
James Stephen Lancaster
Son
Pianist. Born in 1949; mother, Norma Anderson.
Susan Elizabeth Lancaster
Daughter
Born in 1951; mother, Norma Anderson.
Joanna Mari Lancaster
Daughter
Producer. Born in 1954; mother, Norma Anderson; produced the features "Little Treasure" (1985) and "Ruthless People" (1986).
Sighle Lancaster
Daughter
Born in 1956; mother, Norma Anderson.

Companions

June Ernst
Wife
Circus acrobat. Married in 1935; divorced in 1936.
Norma Marie Anderson
Wife
Former actor. Married on December 26, 1946; divorced in 1969; met during WWII when she was a USO worker.
Shelley Winters
Companion
Actor. Had on-again, off-again relationship.
Deborah Kerr
Companion
Actor. Had relationship during filming of "From Here to Eternity".
Jackie Bone
Companion
Hairdresser. Together c. 1970-87.
Susan Scherer
Wife
TV producer. Married on September 10, 1990; together since c. 1983; survived Lancaster.

Bibliography

"Burt Lancaster: An American Life"
Kate Buford, Alfred A. Knopf (2000)

Notes

"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.