Dec. 7th, 1932
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Ellen Burstyn's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2009 - The Velveteen Rabbit
2008 - W.
2007 - The Stone Angel
2006 - The Fountain
2006 - The Elephant King
2006 - The Wicker Man
2003 - A Decade Under the Influence
2002 - Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
2002 - Red Dragon
2000 - The Yards
2000 - Requiem for a Dream
1999 - The Hurricane
1999 - Walking Across Egypt
1998 - Playing by Heart
1997 - Deceiver
1996 - The Spitfire Grill
1995 - How To Make An American Quilt
1994 - When a Man Loves a Woman
1991 - Dying Young
1988 - Hanna's War
1984 - Terror in the Aisles
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
Nancy Davis Dutton
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). Ellen 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, Ellen 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, Ellen 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.
- Served as co-artistic director for The Actor's Studio.
- 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).
- (May 2001) Chosen by People Magazine as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World."
- Has one grandchild.
- Turned down the lead role in _One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)_ (qv) because she had an ill husband to take care of.
- The character of 'Jean Harris' (qv) seems to be a favorite for Ellen Burstyn. Burstyn was Emmy-nominated for the lead role as 'Jean Harris' (qv) in the 1981 TV-movie, _The People vs. Jean Harris (1981) (TV)_ (qv) and, in 2006, she was nominated as a supporting character (as an ex-lover of Jean Harris's lover) in the cable-movie based on the Harris case in _Mrs. Harris (2005) (TV)_ (qv). Burstyn is perhaps the first actress to be nominated for a performance that is less than 1-minute long (in fact, it is approximately 15 seconds). She vied for the Emmy with fellow "Mrs. Harris" co-star and Oscar-winner 'Cloris Leachman' (qv). Neither won.
- 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.
- Is an ordained minister.