Ellen Burstyn

Birthday: Dec 7, 1932
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Actress Ellen Burstyn enjoyed her greatest prominence during the '70s, a decade during which she was a virtual fixture of Academy Award voters' ballots. Born Edna Rae Gillooly in Detroit, MI, on December 7, 1932, as a teen she studied dancing and performed in an acrobatic troupe. She later became a model for paperback book covers, subsequently dancing in a Montréal nightclub under the name "Keri Flynn." In 1954, she was tapped to appear as a Gleason Girl on television's Jackie Gleason Show, and in 1957, she made her Broadway debut in Fair Game, again with a new stage name, "Ellen McRae." While in New York, Burstyn studied acting under Stella Adler, and later married theatrical director Paul Roberts. She briefly relocated to Los Angeles for television work but soon returned east to work at the Actors' Studio. She made her film debut in 1964's For Those Who Think Young, quickly followed by Goodbye Charlie. The cinema did not yet suit her, however, and she spent the remainder of the decade appearing on the daytime soap opera The Doctors.It was after marrying her third husband, actor Neil Burstyn, that she adopted the name most familiar to audiences, and was so billed in 1969's film adaptation of Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. While the picture was unsuccessful, it did attract the notice of director Paul Mazursky, who cast her in his 1970 project Alex in Wonderland. Burstyn then began a string of high-profile films which established her among the preeminent actresses of the decade: The first, Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 masterpiece The Last Picture Show, earned her a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination, but she lost out to co-star Cloris Leachman. Burstyn next appeared opposite Jack Nicholson in Bob Rafelson's acclaimed The King of Marvin Gardens before starring in William Friedkin's 1973 horror hit The Exorcist, a performance which earned her a Best Actress nomination. For Mazursky, she co-starred in the whimsical 1974 tale Harry and Tonto, and then appeared in a well-received TV feature, Thursday's Game.However, it was 1974's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore which truly launched Burstyn to stardom. Warner Bros. had purchased the screenplay at her insistence two years earlier, but her efforts to bring it to the screen were met with considerable resistance. Her first choice for director was Francis Ford Coppola, who declined, but he suggested she approach Martin Scorsese. In the wake of Mean Streets, Scorsese was eager to attempt a "woman's film," and agreed to take the project on. The result was a major critical and commercial success, and on her third attempt Burstyn finally won an Oscar. That same year, she won a Tony for her work on Broadway in the romantic drama Same Time, Next Year, the first actress to score both honors during the same awards season since Audrey Hepburn two decades prior. However, upon wrapping up her theatrical run, Burstyn was not besieged by the offers so many expected her to receive. In fact, she did not appear onscreen for three years, finally resurfacing in Alain Resnais' Providence.The film was not a success, nor was 1978's Jules Dassin-helmed A Dream of Passion. With co-star Alan Alda, Burstyn reprised her Broadway performance in a 1978 feature version of Same Time, Next Year, but it too failed to meet expectations, although she was again Oscar-nominated. After a two-year hiatus, she starred in Resurrection, followed in 1981 by Silence of the North, which went directly to cable television. For the networks, she starred in 1981's The People vs. Jean Harris, based on the notorious "Scarsdale diet" murder. After 1984's The Ambassador, Burstyn co-starred in the following year's Twice in a Lifetime, which was to be her last feature film for some years. She instead turned almost exclusively to television, appearing in a series of TV movies and starring in a disastrously short-lived 1986 sitcom, The Ellen Burstyn Show. Finally, in 1988, she returned to cinemas in Hanna's War, followed three year


Highest Rated Movies



89% Friedkin Uncut Actor 2019
63% American Woman Miss Dolly 2019
No Score Yet Lucy in the Sky Actor 2019
74% The House of Tomorrow Josephine Prendergast 2018
14% All I Wish (A Little Something for Your Birthday) Actor 2018
40% Nostalgia Helen $85.4K 2018
99% The Tale Nettie 2018
74% Wiener-Dog Nana $0.3M 2016
60% About Scout Gram 2016
No Score Yet Custody Actor 2016
No Score Yet River Of Fundament Hathfertiti $43.6K 2015
91% When Marnie Was There Nan $0.5M 2015
56% The Age of Adaline Flemming 2015
47% Two Men in Town Mother Garnett 2015
72% Interstellar Murph (older) $158.8M 2014
52% The Calling Emily Micallef 2014
59% Draft Day Barb Weaver $21.2M 2014
52% Flowers in the Attic Olivia Foxworth 2014
No Score Yet Petals on the Wind Olivia Foxworth 2014
No Score Yet Wish You Well Actor 2013
9% Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You Nanette 2012
44% Another Happy Day Doris $9K 2011
45% The Mighty Macs Mother St. John $1.9M 2011
14% Main Street Georgiana Carr $2.1K 2011
No Score Yet America Lost and Found: The BBS Story Actor 2010
71% Lovely, Still Mary $0.2M 2010
No Score Yet According To Greta Actor 2010
25% The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond Miss Addie $95K 2009
86% The Velveteen Rabbit The Swan 2009
No Score Yet Poliwood Actor 2009
58% W. Barbara Bush $25.6M 2008
No Score Yet Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom's 'For One More Day' Pauline 'Posey' Benetto 2007
44% The Stone Angel Hagar Shipley $32.4K 2007
52% The Fountain Dr. Lillian Guzetti $10.1M 2006
No Score Yet 30 Days Maura 2006
15% The Wicker Man Sister Summersisle $23.7M 2006
No Score Yet Hubert Selby Jr.: It'll Be Better Tomorrow Actor 2006
52% Down in the Valley Ma $0.5M 2006
18% The Elephant King Diana Hunt 2006
No Score Yet Our Fathers Mary Ryan 2005
43% Mrs. Harris Former Tarnowner `Steady' 2005
No Score Yet Mitch Albom's 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven' Ruby 2004
100% Easy Riders---Raging Bulls Actor 2003
No Score Yet Brush with Fate Rika 2003
77% A Decade Under the Influence Actor 2003
44% Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Vivian Jane Abbott `Vivi' Walker $69.6M 2002
No Score Yet Into Thin Air Joan Walker 2002
No Score Yet Within These Walls Joan Thomas Executive Producer 2001
No Score Yet Dodson's Journey Emily Dodson 2001
64% The Yards Val Handler 2000
79% Requiem for a Dream Sara Goldfarb $2.6M 2000
88% Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen Actor $38.7M 2000
No Score Yet Mermaid Trish 2000
No Score Yet Miracle of the Spring Actor 2000
No Score Yet You Can Thank Me Later Shirley Cooperberg 1999
No Score Yet Night Ride Home Maggie 1999
No Score Yet Walking Across Egypt Mattie 1999
60% Playing by Heart Mildred 1998
No Score Yet A Will of Their Own Veronica Steward 1998
No Score Yet Marilyn In Manhattan Actor 1998
No Score Yet The Patron Saint of Liars June Clatterbuck 1998
48% Deceiver Mook $0.6M 1998
No Score Yet Flash Laura Strong 1997
33% The Spitfire Grill Hannah Ferguson 1996
No Score Yet Timepiece Maud Gannon 1996
61% How to Make an American Quilt Hy 1995
67% The Baby-Sitters Club Mrs. Haberman 1995
No Score Yet Follow the River Gretel 1995
No Score Yet My Brother's Keeper Helen 1995
29% Roommates Judith 1995
No Score Yet Bach In Auschwitz Actor 1995
No Score Yet Color of Evening Actor 1995
No Score Yet Primal Secrets Frances Griffin 1994
No Score Yet Getting Gotti Jo Giacalone 1994
71% When a Man Loves a Woman Emily 1994
No Score Yet Getting Out Arlie's Mother 1994
No Score Yet Shattered Trust: The Shari Karney Story Joan Delvecchio 1993
57% The Cemetery Club Esther Moskowitz 1993
No Score Yet Moadon Beit Hakvarot (The Cemetery Club) Actor 1993
No Score Yet When It Was a Game 2 Actor 1992
No Score Yet Grand Isle Mlle. Reisz 1992
23% Dying Young Mrs. O'Neil 1991
No Score Yet Mrs. Lambert Remembers Love Lil Lambert 1991
No Score Yet When You Remember Me Nurse Cooder 1990
No Score Yet Hanna's War Katalin Senesh 1988
No Score Yet Pack of Lies Barbara Jackson 1987
100% Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam Narrator 1987
No Score Yet Act of Vengeance Margaret Yablonski 1986
No Score Yet Something in Common Lynn Hollander 1986
83% Twice in a Lifetime Kate MacKenzie 1985
No Score Yet Surviving Tina Brogan 1985
No Score Yet The Ambassador Alex Hacker 1984
No Score Yet In Our Hands Actor 1984
No Score Yet The People vs. Jean Harris Actor 1981
No Score Yet Silence of the North Olive Fredrickson 1981
No Score Yet Resurrection Edna 1980
40% Same Time, Next Year Doris 1978
No Score Yet Kravgi Gynaikon (A Dream of Passion) Brenda Collins 1978
89% Providence Sonia Langham 1977
82% Harry and Tonto Shirley 1974
No Score Yet Thursday's Game Lynne Evers 1974
86% Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore Alice Hyatt 1974
85% The Exorcist Chris 1973
71% The King of Marvin Gardens Sally 1972
100% The Last Picture Show Lois 1971
No Score Yet Alex in Wonderland Beth Morrison 1970
71% Tropic of Cancer Mona 1970
No Score Yet Pit Stop Ellen McLeod 1969
No Score Yet Goodbye Charlie Franny 1964
No Score Yet For Those Who Think Young Dr. Pauline Thayer 1964
No Score Yet Gunfight in Black Horse Canyon Actor 1961


86% Mom
  • 2015
No Score Yet Inside the Actors Studio
  • 2013
48% Coma
  • 2012
62% Political Animals
Margaret Margaret Barrish
  • 2012
79% Big Love
  • 2011
  • 2009
  • 2007
No Score Yet Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Bernadette Stabler
  • 2008
No Score Yet The Book of Daniel
Bishop Beatrice Congreve
  • 2006
No Score Yet American Experience
Narrator Voice
  • 1994
No Score Yet Saturday Night Live
Host Guest
  • 1980
No Score Yet Gunsmoke
Polly Amy Waters
  • 1971
  • 1962
60% The Movies