Sunday, 29 November 2009

Burt Lancaster

Burt Lancaster was one of five children born to a New York City postal worker.
He was a tough street kid who took an early interest in gymnastics.
He joined the circus as an acrobat and worked there until he was injured.
It was in the Army during WW II that he was introduced to the USO and acting.
His first film was The Killers (1946), and that made him a star.
He was a self-taught actor who learned the business as he went along.
He set up his own production company in 1948 with Harold Hecht and James Hill to direct his career.
He played many different roles in pictures as varied as The Crimson Pirate (1952), From Here to Eternity (1953), Elmer Gantry (1960) and Atlantic City (1980).

His production company, Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, produced the such films as Paddy Chayefsky's Marty (1955) (Oscar winner 1955) and The Catered Affair (1956).
In the 1980s he appeared as a supporting player in a number of movies, such as Local Hero (1983) and Field of Dreams (1989).
However, it will be the sound of his voice, the way that he laughed, and the larger-than-life characters he played that will always be remembered.

According to Kate Buford in her biography "Burt Lancaster: An American Life," he felt competitive with Marlon Brando, who achieved stardom playing Stanley Kowalski on Broadway, a role Lancaster turned down.
A Top 10 box-office success in the early 1960s,
it was this sense of competition with Brando, who was known as both an actor's actor and a major movie star, that led Lancaster to plunge into art films and riskier fare such as Luchino Visconti's Il gattopardo (1963),
in order to prove himself as an actor and be known as an artist rather than just a movie star.
After this refocusing of his career, he slipped out of the Top 10 and never again was a major box office attraction.


TertĂșlias... said...

I love to think about the way that Lancaster turned, year by year, into a magnificent, sensitive actor... especially at old age... as if he had wanted to say goodbye to external beauty and just show what came from his "inside".

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Marites said...

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