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.
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