Burt Lancaster

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Burton Stephen Lancaster, born on November 2, 19313 in New York City, was a tough kid who wanted to be a gymnast. He joined the circus as an acrobat and stayed with the circus until he was injured. He was introduced to acting in the Army during WWII. When Lancaster was discharged he was cast in The Killers (1946) and was instantly a star. He had no formal acting lessons, but learned acting from the different parts he played. In 1948 Lancaster set up his own production company to advance his career. He pictures were very varied and he excelled in The Crimson Pirate, From Here to Eternity, and Elmer Gantry (1960).

A few of Lancaster's most known movies include Twilights Last Gleaming (1977), The Hallelujah Trail (1965), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), and The Train in 1964. Lancaster had a distinctive laugh and voice. He will always be remembered for the larger than life characters he portrayed. One of his last movies Field of Dreams (1989) is characteristic of Lancaster's later life.

Lancaster was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history and he ranked 85th in the UK version of Empire Magazine. Lancaster was also known as a Hollywood star with liberal political leanings and he participated in Martin Luther King's march on Washington in August 1963. He was a financial supporter of King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Lancaster had enormous strength and when he underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery in 1983 many of his colleagues were very surprised. Lancaster's son Bill wrote the screenplay for The Bad news Bears (1976) that was based on his experience being coached by his father. Lancaster was played by Walter Matthau who portrayed Lancaster's grumpiness perfectly.

Burt Lancaster died on October 20, 1994 of a heart attack. He left his wife Susan Martin and his five children from a previous marriage.

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