Burt Lancaster: Daring To Reach | The Hollywood Collection

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Burt Lancaster went from street-wise tough to art-collector liberal-activist, from circus-acrobat hunk to Academy Award winner.

Born November 2, 1913, Burton Stephen Lancaster, later “Burt Lancaster” was one of five children of a New York City postal worker. Burt recalled family life as warm and mutually supportive.

At the Union Settlement House, he and boyhood friend Nick Cravat formed an acrobatic team. By eighteen, Burt was 6’2″ and blessed with the athletic physique and dynamic good looks that helped make him famous. A basketball scholarship was not enough to keep him in NYU beyond his sophomore year.

That’s when he and the 5’2″ Cravat joined a circus, earning $3 weekly between them. A stint in the Army introduced Burt to acting and led him to Hollywood where his first release, The Killers (1946), propelled him to stardom at age 32. He took control of his own career and seldom faltered. He was married three times and had five children.

Upon his death in 1994, four-time Academy Award-nominated Burt Lancaster was acknowledged as one of the greatest stars in the Hollywood firmament. Lancaster’s films include Westerns, Costume Epics and serious Contemporary Dramas. There were the swashbucklers like The Crimson Pirate (1952), and also more risky roles, like the aging alcoholic in Come Back Little Sheba (1952).
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