Ellen Burstyn

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Ellen Burstyn
Ellen Burstyn at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
Burstyn at the May 1, 2009 Tribeca Film Festival première of Poliwood
Born
Edna Rae Gillooly

(1932-12-07) December 7, 1932 (age 86)
NationalityAmerican
Other namesEllen McRae
Education Cass Technical High School
OccupationActress
Years active1955–present
Spouse(s)
William Alexander
(m. 1950;div. 1957)

Paul Roberts
(m. 1958;div. 1961)

Neil Burstyn
(m. 1964;div. 1972)
Children1

Ellen Burstyn (born Edna Rae Gillooly; December 7, 1932) is an American actress best known for her roles in films of the 1970s, such as The Last Picture Show , The Exorcist , and Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore , for which she won an Academy Award.

<i>The Last Picture Show</i> 1971 film by Peter Bogdanovich

The Last Picture Show is a 1971 American drama film directed and co-written by Peter Bogdanovich, adapted from a semi-autobiographical 1966 novel The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry.

<i>The Exorcist</i> (film) Groundbreaking 1973 American horror film

The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel. The film is directed by William Friedkin and stars Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, and Jason Miller. It is the first film in the Exorcist series, and follows the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and her mother's attempt to rescue her through an exorcism conducted by two priests.

<i>Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore</i> 1974 American comedy-drama film directed by Martin Scorsese

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore is a 1974 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Robert Getchell. It stars Ellen Burstyn as a widow who travels with her preteen son across the Southwestern United States in search of a better life. Kris Kristofferson, Billy "Green" Bush, Diane Ladd, Valerie Curtin, Lelia Goldoni, Vic Tayback, Jodie Foster, Alfred Lutter and Harvey Keitel are featured in supporting roles. It was one of Jodie Foster's earliest notable film appearances before her breakthrough with Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976).

Contents

Her career began in theatre during the late 1950s, and over the next decade included several films and television series. Burstyn is one of the few performers to have won the Triple Crown of Acting. In 2013, she was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. [1] Her performance in the acclaimed 1971 ensemble drama The Last Picture Show brought her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination, after which she moved from supporting to leading film and stage roles. Burstyn received a second Academy Award nomination for her lead performance in William Friedkin's classic horror film The Exorcist (1973), and won the Academy Award for Best Actress the following year for her role as a widowed drifter in Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore .

The Triple Crown of Acting is a term used in the American entertainment industry to describe actors who have won a competitive Academy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award in the acting categories. As of June 2018, twenty-four people have achieved the triple crown of acting. Helen Hayes's Emmy Award win on February 5, 1953, made her the first person to achieve the triple crown. Thomas Mitchell became the first man to achieve the triple crown with his Tony Award win later the same year on March 29, 1953. Hayes and Rita Moreno are the only triple crown winners in competitive acting categories who have also won a Grammy Award to complete the EGOT.

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a supporting role while working within the film industry. The award was traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Supporting Actor winner.

William Friedkin American film director, producer and screenwriter

William Friedkin is an American film and television director, producer and screenwriter closely identified with the "New Hollywood" movement of the 1970s. Beginning his career in documentaries in the early 1960s, he is perhaps best known for directing The French Connection (1971) and The Exorcist (1973), the former of which won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director. Some of his other films include the pioneering queer drama The Boys in the Band (1970), the international suspense thriller Sorcerer (1977), the highly controversial 1980 crime film Cruising (1980), the action thriller To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), the psychological horror film Bug (2006), and the dark comedy Killer Joe (2011).

In 1975, she won the Tony Award for her lead performance in the Broadway production of Same Time, Next Year , and received a Golden Globe Award and a fourth Academy Award nomination for her performance in the 1978 film version of the play. Burstyn has worked consistently in film, television, and theatre since then, receiving multiple awards and nominations along the way, including seven additional Golden Globe Award nominations, five Emmy Award nominations (two wins), and two more Academy Award nominations for her performances in the films Resurrection (1980) and Requiem for a Dream (2000).

Tony Award awards for live Broadway theatre

The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre, more commonly known as the Tony Award, recognizes excellence in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in Midtown Manhattan. The awards are given for Broadway productions and performances, and an award is given for regional theatre. Several discretionary non-competitive awards are also given, including a Special Tony Award, the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award. The awards are named after Antoinette "Tony" Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.

Same Time, Next Year is a 1975 romantic comedy play by Bernard Slade. The plot focuses on two people, married to others, who meet for a romantic tryst once a year for two dozen years.

Golden Globe Award award of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

The Golden Globe Awards are accolades bestowed by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association beginning in January 1944, recognizing excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign.

Early life

Burstyn was born Edna Rae Gillooly in Detroit, Michigan, the daughter of Correine Marie (née Hamel) and John Austin Gillooly. [2] She has described her ancestry as "Irish, French, Pennsylvania Dutch, a little Canadian Indian". [3] [4] Burstyn has an older brother, Jack, and a younger brother, Steve. [2] [5] Her parents divorced when she was young, and she and her brothers lived with their mother and stepfather. [2]

Detroit Largest city in Michigan

Detroit is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan, the largest United States city on the United States–Canada border, and the seat of Wayne County. The municipality of Detroit had a 2017 estimated population of 673,104, making it the 23rd-most populous city in the United States. The metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 4.3 million people, making it the second-largest in the Midwest after the Chicago metropolitan area. Regarded as a major cultural center, Detroit is known for its contributions to music and as a repository for art, architecture and design.

Michigan State of the United States of America

Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state's name, Michigan, originates from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of about 10 million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area, and is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.

The Pennsylvania Dutch (Pennsilfaanisch-Deitsche), also referred to as the Pennsylvania Germans, are a cultural group formed by early German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania and their descendants. The word "Dutch" does not refer to the Dutch people or Dutch language, but to the German settlers, known as Deutsch and Deitsch. Most emigrated, in the 17th and 18th centuries, to the Americas from within the Holy Roman Empire, which included areas that were later to become Germany and Switzerland. Over time, the various dialects spoken by these immigrants fused into a unique dialect of German known as Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania "Dutch".

She attended Cass Technical High School, a university-preparatory school which allowed students to choose a specific field of study. Burstyn majored in fashion illustration. [6] In high school, she was a cheerleader, a member of the student council, and president of her junior class. She dropped out of high school during her senior year after failing her classes. [7] [8] After dropping out of school, Burstyn got a job as a model in a Detroit department store. She later relocated to Dallas, where she continued modeling before traveling to New York City.

Cass Technical High School American public high school

Cass Technical High School, commonly referred to as Cass Tech, is a four-year university preparatory high school in Midtown Detroit, United States. The school is named in honor of Lewis Cass, an American military officer and politician who served as governor of the Michigan Territory from 1813 until 1831. The school is a part of Detroit Public Schools.

Dallas City in Texas, United States

Dallas, officially the City of Dallas, is a city in the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Dallas County, with portions extending into Collin, Denton, Kaufman and Rockwall counties. With an estimated 2018 population of 1,345,047, it is the ninth most-populous city in the U.S. and third in Texas after Houston and San Antonio. It is also the eighteenth most-populous city in North America as of 2015. Located in North Texas, the city of Dallas is the main core of the largest metropolitan area in the Southern United States and the largest inland metropolitan area in the U.S. that lacks any navigable link to the sea. It is the most populous city in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country at 7.5 million people as of 2018. The city's combined statistical area is the seventh-largest in the U.S. as of 2017, with 7,846,293 residents.

From 1955 to 1956, Burstyn appeared as an "away we go" dancing girl on The Jackie Gleason Show under the name Erica Dean. [9] Burstyn then decided to become an actress and chose the name "Ellen McRae" as her professional name; she later changed her surname after her 1964 marriage to Neil Burstyn. [10]

<i>The Jackie Gleason Show</i> television series

The Jackie Gleason Show is the name of a series of American network television shows that starred Jackie Gleason, which ran from 1952 to 1970, in various forms.

Career

Early years

Burstyn debuted on Broadway in 1957 and joined Lee Strasberg's The Actors Studio in New York City in 1967. In 1975, she won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her performance in the comedy Same Time, Next Year (a role she would reprise in the film version in 1978).

Starting in the late 1950s, and continuing throughout the 1960s, Burstyn frequently played guest roles on a number of primetime television shows, including Dr. Kildare , 77 Sunset Strip , Ben Casey , Gunsmoke , Perry Mason , Wagon Train , The Big Valley , and The Virginian . During 1964-1965, she had a recurring role as Dr. Kate Bartok on the NBC daytime television soap opera The Doctors . In 1967-1968, she co-starred as Julie Parsons opposite Dale Robertson in the ABC Western The Iron Horse . [11] She was credited as Ellen McRae until 1967, when she and her then-husband Neil Nephew both changed their surname to Burstyn and she began to be credited as Ellen Burstyn. [12]

1970s–1980s

In 1971, Burstyn was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the drama film The Last Picture Show (won by her co-star Cloris Leachman). She appeared in The King of Marvin Gardens in 1972. Burstyn was nominated for Best Actress in 1973 for the horror film The Exorcist . During filming, she injured her coccyx, which led to permanent injury to her spine. [13] She had a small but important role in Harry and Tonto in 1974. Burstyn won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1975 for her performance in the drama Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore , directed by Martin Scorsese. She also received Best Actress nominations in 1978 for Same Time, Next Year , in 1980 for the drama Resurrection , and for the drama Requiem for a Dream in 2000. [14] In 1975, she became a graduate of the very first group of participants in the American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women.

In 1977, she was a member of the jury at the 27th Berlin International Film Festival, [15] and in 1988, she was a member of the jury for the 38th Berlin International Film Festival. [16] Burstyn hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live , a late-night sketch comedy and variety show, in December 1980. [17]

In 1985's Twice in a Lifetime she portrayed the wife Gene Hackman's character left when he fell in love with another woman. In 1986, Burstyn starred in her own ABC television situation comedy, The Ellen Burstyn Show costarring Megan Mullally as her daughter and Elaine Stritch as her mother; it was cancelled after one season.

1990s–present

Burstyn at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, September 2007 EllenBurstyn07TIFF.jpg
Burstyn at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, September 2007

In 1990, Burstyn won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theatre. [18]

In 2000, she starred in the film adaptation of Requiem for a Dream , for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.

From 2000 to 2002, Burstyn appeared in the CBS television drama That's Life . In January 2006, she starred as an Episcopal bishop in the NBC comedy-drama series The Book of Daniel . The series, which also starred Aidan Quinn as a drug-addicted Episcopal priest married to an alcoholic wife, was met with controversy from religious and spiritual leaders due to its unconventional portrayals of religious figures. [19] Conservative groups including American Family Association and Focus on the Family urged supporters to complain to NBC affiliates that carried the show. NBC pulled the series from its line-up after four episodes, but did not publicly give a reason for doing so. [20]

In 2006, Burstyn appeared in the drama-romance film The Fountain , directed by Darren Aronofsky, with whom she worked in Requiem for a Dream. Between 2007 and 2011, she had an occasional recurring role on the HBO television drama series Big Love , playing the mother of polygamist wife Barbara Henrickson.

She provided a supporting role as the mother of two sons in the drama-romance film The Elephant King . The film originally premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, but did not open in U.S. theaters until October 2008. [21]

Burstyn starred in the Broadway production of Martin Tahse's Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, based upon the novel of the same title by Allan Gurganus. The show played 19 previews and officially opened November 17, 2003. Because of unfavorable reviews, all performances after the opening night were cancelled. [22] Burstyn returned to the stage in March 2008, in the off-Broadway production of Stephen Adly Guirgis's The Little Flower of East Orange, directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman in a co-production by LAByrinth Theater Company and The Public Theater. [23]

In addition to her stage work, Burstyn portrayed former First Lady Barbara Bush in director Oliver Stone's biographical film W in 2008. [24] In 2009, she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of the bipolar estranged mother of Detective Elliot Stabler on NBC's police procedural Law & Order: Special Victims Unit . [25]

In 2014, Burstyn appeared in Christopher Nolan's science-fiction epic Interstellar. [26] She had played Mackenzie Foy's character's grandmother in Wish You Well the previous year, and both actresses portrayed "Murph" Cooper, albeit at radically different ages, in Interstellar.

Burstyn played Flemming, the daughter of Blake Lively's immortal character, in the film The Age of Adaline . Production started in March 2014, and the film was released in April 2015. [27]

In 2014, Burstyn announced to direct her first feature film, Bathing Flo. [28] [29]

Ellen Burstyn is currently in development with Peter Livolsi's film The House of Tomorrow about her friend R. Buckminster Fuller, in which she stars and is a producer. [30]

Emmy Awards and controversy

Burstyn was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Mini-Series or Movie, for her role as Jean Harris in the biographical television film The People vs. Jean Harris (1981), and again for another television drama film, Pack of Lies (1987), an adaptation of the 1983 play. In 2006, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series or Movie for a role credited as "Former Tarnower Steady" in HBO's Mrs. Harris , another biopic about Jean Harris. [31]

Soon after the nominations were announced, an outcry ensued from the press and the public regarding the worthiness of the nomination due to her minor role in the film, consisting of 14 seconds of screen time and 38 words of dialogue. One explanation for the nomination was that people were honoring Burstyn for her nominated, but non-winning, performance in the 1981 film. A more popular accusation was that the nominating committee was either confused in its recollection, or merely "threw in" her name from sheer recognition, assuming a worthy performance without actually seeing it. [32]

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, administrator of the Primetime Emmy Awards, initially insisted that "based on the popular vote, this is a legitimate nomination". Meanwhile, HBO deflected the blame for submitting the nomination to the movie-production company. Burstyn's own reaction ranged from initial silence to comments such as, "I thought it was fabulous. My next ambition is to get nominated for seven seconds, and ultimately, I want to be nominated for a picture in which I don't even appear", and, "This doesn't have anything to do with me. I don't even want to know about this. You people work it out yourself." [33]

Ultimately, Kelly Macdonald, who starred in The Girl in the Cafe , won the award. [34] In March 2007, the academy officially announced that eligibility for a Primetime Emmy Award in any long-form supporting-actor category required nominees to appear on-screen in at least 5% of the project. [35]

Many critics still cite this incident to criticize the Emmy Award nomination process, claiming that name recognition has played an increasingly visible role over the years. [35]

In 2013, she won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series or a Movie for Political Animals , and referenced the controversy in her acceptance speech.

Other activities

During the 1970s, Burstyn was active in the movement to free convicted boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter from jail. [36]

In 1981, Burstyn recorded "The Ballad of the Nazi Soldier's Wife" (Kurt Weill's musical setting of Bertolt Brecht's text "Und was bekam des Soldaten Weib?") ('And what did the soldier's woman get?') for Ben Bagley's album Kurt Weill Revisited, Vol. 2.

Burstyn served as president of the Actors' Equity Association from 1982 to 1985. [37]

In 1997, Burstyn was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. [38] In 2000, she was named co-president of the Actors Studio, alongside Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel. [39]

She is a long-time supporter of the Democratic Party, and appears in the documentary PoliWood . She attended several political events of the 2008 election campaign as a supporter of Barack Obama, commenting sadly at one point how civil competition between Democrats and Republicans no longer exists.

Burstyn is on the Board of Selectors of Jefferson Awards for Public Service. [40]

Personal life

Marriages and children

In 1950, she married Bill Alexander. They divorced in 1957. The following year, she married Paul Roberts, with whom she adopted a son named Jefferson in 1961. The couple divorced that same year. [41]

In 1964, she married fellow actor Neil Nephew, who later changed his name to Neil Burstyn. The union was turbulent. Neil Burstyn was schizophrenic. He would have episodes of violence, and eventually left her. He attempted to reconcile, but she rejected this, ultimately divorcing him in 1972. In her autobiography, Lessons in Becoming Myself, Burstyn revealed that he stalked her for a period of six years after their divorce, and that he eventually broke into her house and raped her. No charges were filed, as spousal rape was not yet legally a crime. He died by suicide in 1978. [42]

Religion

Burstyn was raised Catholic, but now affiliates herself with all religious faiths. Her spiritual journey began with Sufism, a mystical form of Islam. She explains: "I am a spirit opening to the truth that lives in all of these religions... I always pray to Spirit, but sometimes, it's to the Goddess. Sometimes, it's to Jesus... Sometimes, I pray to Ganesha if I need an obstacle removed. Guan Yin is one of my favorite manifestations of the divine, the embodiment of compassion... So, I have Guan Yin with me all the time." [43] Burstyn has stated that in her late 30s she began to delve into the spiritual realm, coming under the tutelage of Sufi teacher Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan [ citation needed ]; he gave her the spiritual name Hadiya, [44] which means "she who is guided" in Arabic.

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
1964 Goodbye Charlie Franzie SalzmanCredited as Ellen McRae
1964 For Those Who Think Young Dr. Pauline Thayer
1969 Pit Stop (original title: The Winner)Ellen McLeod
1970 Alex in Wonderland Beth Morrison
1970 Tropic of Cancer Mona Miller
1971 The Last Picture Show Lois Farrow National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1972 The King of Marvin Gardens Sally
1973 The Exorcist Chris MacNeilNominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1974 Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore Alice Hyatt Academy Award for Best Actress
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1974 Harry and Tonto Shirley Mallard
1977 Providence Sonia Langham
1978 A Dream of Passion Brenda
1978 Same Time, Next Year Doris Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
1980 Resurrection Edna Mae McCauleyNominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
1981 Silence of the North Olive FredericksonNominated—Genie Award for Best Performance by a Foreign Actress
1984 The Ambassador Alex Hacker
1984 Terror in the Aisles Archival footage
1985 Twice in a Lifetime Kate MacKenzie
1987 Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam Mrs. Stocks (voice)
1988 Hanna's War Katalin
1991 Grand Isle Mademoiselle Reisz
1991 Dying Young Mrs. O'Neil
1993 The Cemetery Club Esther Moskowitz
1994 When a Man Loves a Woman Emily
1994The Color of EveningKate O'Reilly
1995 How to Make an American Quilt Hy DoddNominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1995 The Baby-Sitters Club Emily Haberman
1995 Roommates Judith
1996 The Spitfire Grill Hannah Ferguson
1997 Deceiver Mook
1998 Playing by Heart Mildred
1998 You Can Thank Me Later Shirley Cooperberg
1999 Walking Across Egypt Mattie Rigsbee
2000 Requiem for a Dream Sara Goldfarb Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Stockholm International Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress (3rd place)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress (3rd place)
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (3rd place)
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress (2nd place)
Nominated—Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
2000 The Yards Val Handler
2001Dodson's JourneyMother
2002 Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Viviane Joan "Vivi" Abbott Walker
2002 Red Dragon Grandma Dolarhyde (voice only)Uncredited
2005 Down in the Valley Ma
2006 The Fountain Dr. Lilian Guzetti
2006 The Wicker Man Sister Summersisle
2006 The Elephant King Diana Hunt
200630 DaysMaura
2007 The Stone Angel Hagar Shipley Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated—Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in a Canadian Film
2008 Lovely, Still Mary
2008 W. Barbara Bush
2009 The Velveteen Rabbit SwanVoice role
2009 According to Greta Katherine
2009 PoliWood HerselfDocumentary
2009 The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond Miss Adie
2010 The Mighty Macs Mother St. John
2010 Main Street Georgiana Carr
2011 Another Happy Day Doris
2011 Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You Nanette
2013 Wish You Well Louisa Mae Cardinal
2014 Two Men in Town Garnett's mother
2014 Draft Day Barb Weaver
2014 Flowers in the attic Olivia Foxworth
2014 Interstellar Old Murph
2014 Petals on the Wind Olivia Foxworth
2015 The Age of Adaline Flemming
2015 Unity NarratorDocumentary
2015 About Scout Gram
2016 Wiener-Dog Nana
2016 Custody Beatrice Fisher
2017 The House of Tomorrow Josephine PrendergastAlso executive producer
2017 All I Wish Celia Berges
2018 Nostalgia Helen Greer
2018 The Tale Nettie
2019 American Woman Miss Dolly
TBA Lucy in the Sky Nana HolbrookPost-production
TBA Welcome to Pine Grove! Helen WilsonPost-production

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1958 Kraft Television Theatre LindaEpisode: "Trick or Treat"; credited as Ellen McRae
1961 Michael Shayne CarolEpisode: "Strike Out"; credited as Ellen McRae [45]
1961 The Loretta Young Show Ann WaltersEpisode: "Woodlot"; credited as Ellen McRae
1961 Dr. Kildare Anne GarnerEpisode: "Second Chance"; credited as Ellen McRae
1961 Surfside 6 Wandra DrakeEpisode: "Double Image"; credited as Ellen McRae
1961, 1963 77 Sunset Strip Betty Benson (1961)
Sandra Keene (1963)
2 episodes; credited as Ellen McRae
1961 Cheyenne Emmy MaeEpisode: "Day's Pay"; credited as Ellen McRae
1961 The Dick Powell Show Rose MaxonEpisode: "Ricochet"; credited as Ellen McRae
1962,
1971
Gunsmoke Polly Mims (1962)
Amy Waters (1971)
3 episodes; credited as Ellen McRae (1962), credited as Ellen Burstyn (1971)
1962 Ben Casey Dr. Leslie Fraser (ep. 1)
Connie (ep. 2)
2 episodes; credited as Ellen McRae
1962 Bus Stop Phyllis DunningEpisode: "Cry to Heaven"; credited as Ellen McRae
1962 Checkmate MargoEpisode: "The Bold and the Tough"; credited as Ellen McRae
1962 The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Dr. Donna WhittakerEpisode: "A Splinter Off the Old Block"; credited as Ellen McRae
1962 Perry Mason Mona Winthrope WhiteEpisode: "The Case of the Dodging Domino"; credited as Ellen McRae
1962 The Real McCoys Dorothy CarterEpisode: "The Girl Veterinarian"; credited as Ellen McRae
1962 I'm Dickens, He's Fenster JoanEpisode: "Harry, the Father Image"; credited as Ellen McRae
1963 Laramie AmyEpisode: "No Place to Run"; credited as Ellen McRae
1963 The Defenders Hilda WesleyEpisode: "The Heathen"; credited as Ellen McRae
1963 Going My Way LouiseEpisode: "Hear No Evil"; credited as Ellen McRae
1963 Wagon Train Margaret WhitlowEpisode: "The Jim Whitlow Story"; credited as Ellen McRae
1963 Vacation Playhouse EllenEpisode: "The Big Brain"; credited as Ellen McRae
1964 Suspense Theater Barbara / LucilleEpisode: "The Deep End"; credited as Ellen McRae
1964 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Eva LaureltonEpisode: "Runaway"; credited as Ellen McRae
1964 The Greatest Show on Earth Susan MasonEpisode: "Big Man from Nairobi"; credited as Ellen McRae
1964 Death Valley Days JennyEpisode: "Hastings Cut-off"; credited as Ellen McRae
1964–1965 The Doctors Dr. Kate BartokMultiple episodes; credited as Ellen McRae
1965 For the People Maria HavilandEpisode: "Seized, Confined and Detained"; credited as Ellen McRae
1966 The Time Tunnel Dr. Eve HollandEpisode: "Crack of Doom"; credited as Ellen McRae
1967–1968 The Iron Horse Julie Parsons9 episodes; credited as Ellen McRae
1967 The Big Valley Sister JacobEpisode: "Days of Grace"; credited as Ellen McRae
1968 Insight JanetEpisode: "All the Things I've Never Liked"; credited as Ellen McRae
1969 The Virginian Kate BürdenEpisode: "Last Grave at Socorro Creek"
1972 The Bold Ones: The Lawyers Rachel LambertEpisode: "Lisa, I Hardly Knew You"
1974 Thursday's Game Lynne EversTelevision movie
1981The People vs. Jean Harris Jean Harris Television movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Mini-Series or a Movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Mini-Series or Television Film
1985Into Thin AirJoan WalkerTelevision movie
1985 Surviving: A Family in Crisis Tina Brogan
1986 Act of Vengeance Margaret Yablonski
1986Something in CommonLynn Hollander
1986–1987 The Ellen Burstyn Show Ellen Brewer13 episodes
1987Look Away Mary Todd Lincoln Television movie
1987 Pack of Lies Barbara JacksonTelevision movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Mini-Series or a Movie
1990 When You Remember Me Nurse CooderTelevision movie
1991Mrs. Lambert Remembers LoveLillian "Lil" Lambert
1992 Taking Back My Life: The Nancy Ziegenmeyer Story Wilma
1993 Shattered Trust: The Shari Karney Story Joan Delvecchio
1994Trick of the EyeFrances Griffin
1994 Getting Gotti Jo Giaclone
1994 Getting Out Arlie's Mother
1995Follow the RiverGretel
1995My Brother's KeeperHelen
1996TimepieceMaud Gannon
1996 Our Son, the Matchmaker Iva Mae Longwell
1997 Flash Laura Strong
1997A Deadly VisionYvette Watson
1998 A Will of Their Own Veronica StewardMini-series
1998 The Patron Saint of Liars June ClatterbuckTelevision movie
1999Night Ride HomeMaggie
2000 Mermaid Trish GillTelevision movie
Nominated—Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Special
2000–2002 That's Life Dolly DeLucca34 episodes
2001Within These WallsJoan ThomasTelevision movie
2003 Brush with Fate Rika
2004 The Five People You Meet in Heaven Ruby
2004The Madam's Family: The Truth About the Canal Street BrothelTommie
2005Our FathersMary Ryan
2005 Mrs. Harris Ex-lover No. 3 (Former Tarnower "Steady")Television movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Mini-Series or a Movie
2006 The Book of Daniel Bishop Beatrice Congreve8 episodes
2007 For One More Day Pauline BenettoTelevision movie
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Mini-Series or Television Film
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Mini-Series or Television Movie
2007–2011 Big Love Nancy Davis Dutton6 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress – Drama Series
2008 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Bernie StablerEpisode: "Swing"
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress – Drama Series
Nominated—Prism Award for Performance in a Drama Episode
2012 Political Animals Margaret Barrish6 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series or a Movie
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Movie/Mini-Series Supporting Actress
2012 Coma Mrs. Emerson2 episodes
2014 Flowers in the Attic Olivia FoxworthTelevision movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Mini-Series or a Movie
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Movie/Mini-Series Supporting Actress
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Mini-Series or Television Movie
2014 Petals on the Wind Olivia FoxworthTelevision movie
2014 Louie Evanka5 episodes: "Elevator" Parts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6
2015 Mom [46] Shirley StablerEpisode: "Terrorists and Gingerbread"
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series
2016 House of Cards [47] Elizabeth Hale5 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

Bibliography

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Preceded by
Paul Newman
President of the Actors Studio
1994–present
With: Al Pacino
and Harvey Keitel
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Lee Strasberg (1982)
Carlin Glynn (2007)
Lee Grant (2007)
Artistic Director of the Actors Studio
1982–1988
2007–present
With: Al Pacino (1982)
Succeeded by
Frank Corsaro (1988)
Incumbent