Ellen Burstyn

Ellen Burstyn

Dec. 7th, 1932
Born in
Detroit, Michigan, USA
5' 7

Ellen Burstyn's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Flowers In The Attic TV Show
Flowers In The Attic
A History Of Horror With Mark Gatiss (UK) TV Show
A History Of Horror With Mark Gatiss (UK)
The Iron Horse TV Show
The Iron Horse
That's Life TV Show
That's Life
The Book of Daniel TV Show
The Book of Daniel

Main Movie Roles

2015 - The Age of Adaline
2014 - River of Fundament
2014 - Two Men in Town
2014 - Interstellar
2014 - The Calling
2013 - Love, Marilyn
2011 - Another Happy Day
2010 - Main Street
2009 - PoliWood
2009 - The Velveteen Rabbit
2009 - The Mighty Macs
2008 - W.
2007 - The Stone Angel
2006 - The Wicker Man
2006 - The Fountain
2006 - The Elephant King
2003 - A Decade Under the Influence
2002 - Red Dragon
2002 - Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
2000 - Hurricane Carter
2000 - Requiem for a Dream
2000 - The Yards
1999 - Walking Across Egypt
1998 - Playing by Heart
1997 - Deceiver
1996 - The Spitfire Grill
1994 - When a Man Loves a Woman
1991 - Dying Young
1988 - Hanna's War
1978 - Same Time, Next Year
1974 - Harry and Tonto
1974 - Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
1973 - The Exorcist
1971 - The Last Picture Show
1970 - Alex in Wonderland

Guest TV Roles

Show Name
Characters Played
Ep Count
Ellen Brewer
Margaret Barrish
Nancy Davis Dutton
Herself - Guest
Polly Mims
Sandra Keene
Shirley Stabler
Emmy Mae
[Complete List]


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 to 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). Burstyn 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, Burstyn 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 successful 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, Burstyn 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.

  • Received the National Board of Review's Career Achievement Award in December 2000 at Tavern on the Green.
  • Recipient of the 2006 Career Achievement in Acting Award from the Hamptons Film Festival.
  • Played her Academy Award nominated character from _Same Time, Next Year (1978)_ (qv) on Broadway first and won a Tony Award as Best Actress (Dramatic) for the role in 1975.
  • Received a permanent spinal injury while filming _The Exorcist (1973)_ (qv). 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.
  • Her third (and last) husband, 'Neil Nephew' (qv) was a bright, talented upcoming actor and writer (_"The Monkees" (1966)_ (qv)). According to Ellen, he eventually degenerated into mental illness and became schizophrenic and violent. He left her just before she became a star. When she refused his pleas to get back together, he stalked and terrorized her for many years. He committed suicide in 1978.
  • 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)_ (qv). 'Martin Scorsese' (qv), the film's director, accepted her Oscar on her behalf.
  • The runaway story of her character Alice Hyatt in _Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)_ (qv) inspired the character of Dolors ('Montse Caminal' (qv)) in the Short film _Silenci (2007)_ (qv).
  • Served as co-artistic director for The Actor's Studio.

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