Burt Lancaster was born in November 1913, amidst a swirl of film history: Charlie Chaplin was starting his career at Keystone; Cecil B. DeMille was sending a telegram to Jesse Lasky and Sam Goldwyn asking “authority to rent barn in a place called Hollywood for seventy-five dollars a month”; D.W Griffith was leaving Biograph to direct for Mutual.
Yet in spite of all the Hollywood history attending his entry into the world, Burt Lancaster didn’t enter the acting world until he was in his thirties. Perhaps it was this maturity which led him to constantly stretch his artistic talents and take far greater control of his career than most actors did at the time.
With his partner and agent Harold Hecht, Lancaster got important films made, notably Arthur Miller’s All My Sons in 1948. That same year, he formed an independent production company, Norma Productions.
As the 1950s began, Lancaster stretched beyond film noir to do adventure movies including a memorable romp in The Flame And The Arrow. Burt Lancaster’s career continued with unforgettable films like Birdman of Alcatraz, From Here To Eternity, and his Oscar-winning role opposite Shirley Jones in Elmer Gantry.
In later years, Burt Lancaster continued to do give noteworth performances in Bertolucci’s 1900, Local Hero, Field of Dreams, and earning an Oscar nomination for Atlantic City.
An actor, producer, writer, and director, Burt Lancaster left behind a legacy of films anyone in Hollywood would be proud to call their own.