Ellen Burstyn

Actor, Dancer, Model
One of the most popular actresses in film and television during the 1970s, Ellen Burstyn wowed critics and audiences alike with her enormously skilled and sympathetic performances as strong and complex women who ... Read more »
Born: 12/07/1932 in Detroit, Michigan, USA

Filmography

Actor (135)

The Age of Adaline 2015 (Movie)

Flemming (Actor)

Two Men In Town 2015 (Movie)

(Actor)

When Marnie Was There 2015 (Movie)

Nan (Voice)

Draft Day 2014 (Movie)

Barb Weaver (Actor)

Flowers in the Attic 2013 - 2014 (TV Show)

Actor

Interstellar 2014 (Movie)

Murph (older) (Actor)

Petals On The Wind 2013 - 2014 (TV Show)

Actor

Scout 2014 (Movie)

Gram (Actor)

The Calling 2014 (Movie)

Emily Micallef (Actor)

The Color of Evening 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Stone Angel 2014 (Movie)

Hagar Shipley (Actor)

Wish You Well 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

Coma 2012 - 2013 (TV Show)

Actor

Love, Marilyn 2012 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Political Animals 2011 - 2012 (TV Show)

Actor

Someday This Pain Will be Useful to You 2012 (Movie)

Nanette (Actor)

Another Happy Day 2011 (Movie)

Doris (Actor)

Big Love 2007, 2009, 2011 (Tv Show)

Actor

Main Street 2011 (Movie)

Georgiana (Actor)

The Mighty Macs 2011 (Movie)

Mother St. John (Actor)

Lovely, Still 2010 (Movie)

Mary (Actor)

The 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 2009 - 2010 (TV Show)

Actor

According to Greta 2009 (Movie)

Katherine/Grams (Actor)

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond 2009 (Movie)

Miss Addie (Actor)

The Velveteen Rabbit 2009 (Movie)

Voice of Swan (Actor)

For One More Day 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 2008 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Elephant King 2008 (Movie)

Diana Hunt (Actor)

The Stone Angel 2008 (Movie)

Hagar Shipley (Actor)

W. 2008 (Movie)

Barbara Bush (Actor)

Book of Daniel 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Actor

The Fountain 2006 (Movie)

Dr Lillian Guzetti (Actor)

The Wicker Man 2006 (Movie)

Sister Summersisle (Actor)

The 61st Annual Golden Globe Awards 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

A Decade Under the Influence 2003 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

When I Was A Girl 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood 2002 (Movie)

Vivi Walker (Actor)

Inside the Actors Studio 1994 - 1997, 2000 - 2002 (Tv Show)

Interviewee

That's Life 1994 - 1995, 2000 - 2002 (Tv Show)

Actor

Walking Across Egypt 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

7th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Betty Buckley 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Mermaid 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Requiem for A Dream 2000 (Movie)

Sara Goldfarb (Actor)

The Yards 2000 (Movie)

Val Handler (Actor)

Deceiver 1998 (Movie)

Mook (Actor)

Flash 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Lee Strasberg: The Method Man 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Playing By Heart 1998 (Movie)

Mildred (Actor)

The 70th Annual Academy Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

You Can Thank Me Later 1998 (Movie)

Shirley Cooperberg (Actor)

Full Court Press 1997 (Movie)

Maura O'Connor (Actor)

The Roots of Roe 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Narrator

Timepiece 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

The Spitfire Grill 1996 (Movie)

Hannah Ferguson (Actor)

How to Make An American Quilt 1995 (Movie)

Hy (Actor)

Roommates 1995 (Movie)

Judith (Actor)

Telegrams From the Dead 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Narrator

The Baby-Sitter's Club 1995 (Movie)

Mrs Haberman (Actor)

When A Man Loves A Woman 1994 (Movie)

Emily (Actor)

The 47th Annual Tony Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The 65th Annual Academy Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The Cemetery Club 1993 (Movie)

Esther Moskowitz (Actor)

When It Was a Game II 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Voice

Child Care: Families in the Balance 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Dying Young 1991 (Movie)

Mrs O'Neil (Actor)

Dear America: Letters Homes From Vietnam 1988 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)

Hanna's War 1988 (Movie)

Katarina Senesh (Actor)

Hello Actors Studio 1988 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

The ABC Fall Preview Special 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

The Ellen Burstyn Show 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

The Ambassador 1985 (Movie)

Alex Hacker (Actor)

The Night of 100 Stars II 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Twice in A Lifetime 1985 (Movie)

Kate Mackenzie (Actor)

In Our Hands 1983 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

The Doctors 1962 - 1983 (TV Show)

Actor

Broadway Plays Washington! 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

Silence of the North 1981 (Movie)

Olive Fredrickson (Actor)

Acting: Lee Strasberg and The Actors Studio 1980 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Resurrection 1980 (Movie)

Edna Mae McCauley (Actor)

A Dream of Passion 1978 (Movie)

Brenda Collins (Actor)

Same Time, Next Year 1978 (Movie)

Doris (Actor)

Providence 1977 (Movie)

Sonia Langham (Actor)

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore 1974 (Movie)

Alice Hyatt (Actor)

Harry and Tonto 1974 (Movie)

Shirley (Actor)

The Exorcist 1973 (Movie)

Chris MacNeil (Actor)

The King of Marvin Gardens 1971 (Movie)

Sally (Actor)

The Last Picture Show 1971 (Movie)

Lois Farrow (Actor)

Alex in Wonderland 1970 (Movie)

Beth (Actor)

Tropic of Cancer 1970 (Movie)

Mona (Actor)

Iron Horse 1966 - 1968 (TV Show)

Actor

Goodbye, Charlie 1964 (Movie)

Franny (Actor)

For Those Who Think Young 1963 (Movie)

Dr Pauline Taylor (Actor)

16th Annual Genesis Awards (TV Show)

Actor

A Deadly Vision (TV Show)

Actor

A Will of Their Own (TV Show)

Actor

Act of Vengeance (TV Show)

Actor

Brush With Fate (TV Show)

Actor

Dodson's Journey (TV Show)

Actor

Follow the River (TV Show)

Actor

Getting Gotti (TV Show)

Actor

Getting Out (TV Show)

Actor

Grand Isle (TV Show)

Actor

Into Thin Air (TV Show)

Actor

Mrs. Harris (TV Show)

Actor

Mrs. Lambert Remembers Love (TV Show)

Actor

My Brother's Keeper (TV Show)

Actor

Night Ride Home (TV Show)

Actor

Our Fathers (TV Show)

Actor

Our Son, the Matchmaker (TV Show)

Actor

Pack of Lies (TV Show)

Actor

People vs. Jean Harris (TV Show)

Actor

Poliwood (TV Show)

Actor

Something in Common (TV Show)

Actor

Surviving (TV Show)

Actor

The Patron Saint of Liars (TV Show)

Actor

Thursday's Game (TV Show)

Actor

Timepiece (Movie)

Maud Gannon (Actor)

Trick of the Eye (TV Show)

Actor

When You Remember Me (TV Show)

Actor

Within These Walls (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

One of the most popular actresses in film and television during the 1970s, Ellen Burstyn wowed critics and audiences alike with her enormously skilled and sympathetic performances as strong and complex women who struggle against what seem like insurmountable challenges in such films as "The Last Picture Show" (1971), "The Exorcist" (1973) and "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (1974), which earned her an Academy Award in 1975. Despite her considerable talent and skill in both heavy drama and comedies like "Same Time, Next Year" (1978), she found it difficult to find substantial parts in the '80s, so she divided her time between running the Actors Equity Association and roles in TV movies like "The People vs. Jean Harris" (1981), as well as top-billing her own short-lived sitcom, "The Ellen Burstyn Show" (ABC, 1986-87). The actress gradually returned to feature films in the 1990s, which culminated in a harrowing Academy Award-nominated turn as a woman in the grip of addiction in Darren Aronofsky's "Requiem for a Dream" (2000). Now back on every director's wish list, she followed this with a succession of well-regarded projects, including "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" (2002), "Mitch Alborn's For One More Day" (2007) and "W." (2008) as Barbara Bush. She also penned a 2007 memoir, Lessons in Becoming Myself, which detailed her difficult upbringing and traumatic relationship with her third husband, actor and writer Neil Burstyn (aka Neil Nephew). Truly an inspiration, Burstyn proved that women of any age could not only land thoughtful, provocative roles, but dominate opposite their similarly aged male counterparts.

Relationships

William Alexander

Husband
Married 1950 Divorced September 1957

Jefferson Burstyn

Son
Adopted son Born c. 1962

William Friedkin Director

Companion
Worked together in "The Exorcist" (1973); Burstyn claimed they had an affair after filming was completed, which Freidkin disputed

John Gillooly

Father
Divorced Ellen's mother when Ellen was still young Had little contact with daughter

Correine Gillooly

Mother
Divorced Ellen's father when Ellen was still young Raised Ellen as a single parent

Neil Nephew Director

Husband
Married 1964 Divorced April 1972

Paul Roberts

Husband
Married Sept. 14, 1958 Divorced 1962

EDUCATION

AFI Conservatory

Los Angeles , California
Attended a directing workshop for women

Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute

Actors Studio

New York , New York 1968

Cass Technical High School

Detroit , Michigan

Milestones

2012

Played the head of a futuristic rest home in A&E miniseries "Coma," based on 1978 film

2012

Co-starred with Sigourney Weaver in USA Network miniseries "Political Animals"

2011

Cast opposite Colin Firth and Orlando Bloom in the small-town drama "Main Street"

2011

Co-starred in the ensemble family drama "Another Happy Day"

2008

Portrayed former first lady Barbara Bush in Oliver Stone's controversial biopic "W."

2008

Earned an Emmy nomination for her guest starring role on NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" as the bipolar estranged mother of Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni)

2008

Cast in Stephen Adly Guirgis' "The Little Flower of East Orange" directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman in a joint production of LAByrinth Theater Company and the Public Theater

2007

Cast in the TV-movie "Mitch Albom’s For One More Day" (ABC); earned a SAG nomination for Outstanding Female Actor in a Television Movie

2007

Landed a recurring role on HBO's "Big Love," playing the mother of Polygamist wife Barbara Henrickson; earned an Emmy nomination in 2008 for Guest Actress in a Drama Series

2006

Earned an Emmy nomination for her role in "Mrs. Harris" (HBO); her nomination created controversy because her entire performance consisted of two lines of dialogue and a total of thirty-eight words, which resulted in fourteen seconds of screen time

2006

Played a key role as Lilian in Darren Aronofsky's "The Fountain"

2005

Cast in Showtime's "Our Fathers," an adaptation of David France's epic book about the sex scandals in the Roman Catholic Church

2004

Cast in the ABC TV-movie "The Five People You Meet in Heaven"

2004

Cast in the CBS TV-movie "Canal Street Brothel," about a family of women who ran a bordello out of their New Orleans home

2002

Portrayed an elder Viviane 'Vivi' Abbott Walker in "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood"; based on the best-selling novel by Rebecca Wells

2000

Cast in the CBS series "That's Life" as the meddling mother of the central character (Heather Paige Kent)

2000

Played a woman addicted to diet pills who fantasizes about competing on a game show in Darren Aronofsky's "Requiem For a Dream"; received Best Actress Oscar nomination

1999

Co-starred as the matriarch of a troubled family in the CBS TV-movie "Night Ride Home"

1998

Played the mysterious subject of a town legend in the CBS movie "The Patron Saint of Liars"

1998

Played a woman coming to terms with her grown son's batlle with AIDS in "Playing by Heart"

1996

Played the owner of "The Spitfire Grill," a restaurant that serves as a troubled young woman's ticket to a new life

1995

Featured in "How to Make an American Quilt" as Finn's (Winona Ryder) grandmother and one of the women who share their coming-of-age stories with the aimless bride-to-be while crafting the titular gift

1995

Starred on Broadway as Sister Grace in "Sacrilege"

1993

Played a widow in "The Cemetary Club"

1992

Acted in the short-lived Broadway production "Shimada"

1992

Featured in "Grand Isle" (TNT), the TV-movie adaptation of Kate Chopin's The Awakening

1991

Played the titular woman on the run from authorities with her grandchild in "Mrs. Lambert Remembers Love" (CBS)

1989

Succeeded Pauline Collins as the titular heroine in the one-person show "Shirley Valentine"

1987

Starred in the TV-movie "Pack of Lies" (CBS), an adaptation of Hugh Whitmore's hit play about a London couple who allow British intelligence to use their home to spy on their longtime friends and neighbors; earned second Emmy nomination

1986

Starred in the fact-based TV-movies "Into Thin Air" (CBS) and "Act of Vengeance" (HBO)

1986

Appeared in own comedy series "The Ellen Burstyn Show" (ABC)

1985

With Marsha Mason, starred as mothers whose teenage children fulfill a suicide pact in "Surviving" (ABC)

1982

Named first female President of Actor's Equity Association (resigned in 1985)

1981

Earned Emmy nomination for her work in the fact-based NBC miniseries "The People vs. Jean Harris"

1980

Stage directing debut, "Judgement"

1980

Gave an Oscar-nominated performance in "Resurrection"

1978

Reprised role in the film version of "Same Time, Next Year" opposite Alan Alda; earned fourth Oscar nomination

1975

Starred on Broadway with Charles Grodin in "Same Time, Next Year"; won a Tony Award

1974

Starred in "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"; also produced; hired then relatively unknown director Martin Scorsese to direct

1973

Played the mother of a possessed young girl in "The Exorcist"; earned second Oscar nomination, this time as Best Actress

1972

Offered a memorably performance as an aging beauty in "The King of Marvin Gardens" co-starring Jack Nicholson

1970

Breakthrough screen performance, as Lois Farrow in "The Last Picture Show"; nominated for Best Supporting Actress Oscar

1969

Changed billing to Ellen Burstyn for "Alex in Wonderland"

1967

Joined the Actors Studio

1967

Starred on the ABC Western series "Iron Horse" as a freight line operator; credited as Ellen McRae

1965

Played Doctor Kate Bartok on NBC daytime drama "The Doctors"; credited as Ellen McRae

1964

Moved to NYC

1964

Feature acting debut in "Goodbye, Charlie"; billed as Ellen McRae

1963

Had lead in TV series pilot "The Big Brain" (CBS)

1957

Broadway debut in "Fair Game"

1956

Debut as a TV regular as a dancer on "The Jackie Gleason Show" (CBS); billed as Erica Dean

Starred on Broadway in "84 Charing Cross Road"

Succeeded Lee Strasberg as co-artistic director (with Al Pacino, who served 1982-84) of the Actors Studio

Lived in L.A.

Acted in commercials using the name Keri Flynn

Worked as a model in Texas and NYC

Bonus Trivia

.

Burstyn received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from NYC's School of Visual Arts in 1983.

.

She received an honorary doctorate from Dowling College in 1983.

.

Burstyn was an ordained cheraga (minister) in the Sufi Order in the West.

.

She occasionally taught acting at the New School for Social Research in New York.

.

"I'm doing whatever I can to maintain my integrity as a performing artist. These aren't roles like at 'The Exorcist' stage of my career. But I can fulfill them as best I can. It's unfortunate but our society is such that, for women in Hollywood, you get to a certain age and just fall off a cliff. But in my case, I refuse to die. I will hang on, by a little finger if necessary." – Burstyn quoted in New York Post, Aug. 20, 1996

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