Ellen Burstyn

Biography: Earthy, appealing star of the 1970s who acted under several names (most often Edna Rae) on stage and in TV shows during the late 1950s and early 1960s. A student of Lee Strasberg at the Actors' Studio, she debuted on-screen in 1964's For Those Who Think Young billed as Ellen McRae. Later adopting her (then third) married name, Burstyn, she appeared in several other nondescript pictures throughout the 1960s, hitting the jackpot with 1971's The Last Picture Show Burstyn's role as a free-spirited woman in a dying Texas town brought her the New York Film Critics' and National Film Critics' awards for Best Supporting Actress, although she lost the Best Supporting Actress Oscar to her costar, Cloris Leachman. The critical kudos enabled Burstyn to exercise greater control over her roles; already in middle age, she found herself in the enviable position of having movies written and developed with her in mind. Her two biggest successes were The Exorcist (1973), for which she snaggedEarthy, appealing star of the 1970s who acted under several names (most often Edna Rae) on stage and in TV shows during the late 1950s and early 1960s. A student of Lee Strasberg at the Actors' Studio, she debuted on-screen in 1964's For Those Who Think Young billed as Ellen McRae. Later adopting her (then third) married name, Burstyn, she appeared in several other nondescript pictures throughout the 1960s, hitting the jackpot with 1971's The Last Picture Show Burstyn's role as a free-spirited woman in a dying Texas town brought her the New York Film Critics' and National Film Critics' awards for Best Supporting Actress, although she lost the Best Supporting Actress Oscar to her costar, Cloris Leachman. The critical kudos enabled Burstyn to exercise greater control over her roles; already in middle age, she found herself in the enviable position of having movies written and developed with her in mind. Her two biggest successes were The Exorcist (1973), for which she snagged another Oscar nomination as Linda Blair's worried mother, and Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), a project she packaged and sold to Warner Bros. herself. Good move: she finally won an Academy Award as the single mother struggling to get along. Among her other films are Tropic of Cancer, Alex in Wonderland (both 1970), The King of Marvin Gardens (1972, in a moving performance as an aging chippie), Harry and Tonto (1974, as Art Carney's daughter), and Providence (1977). She earned additional Oscar nominations for her role as an adulterous wife in Same Time, Next Year (1978, recreating her Tony Award-winning stage performance) and as a faith healer in the underrated Resurrection (1980). She found more opportunitites on TV than in features during the 1980s, and starred in the high-profile telefilms The People vs. Jean Harris (1981, as murderess Harris), Pack of Lies (1987), and Mrs. Lambert Remembers Love (1991). Her other more recent films include Twice in a Lifetime (1985), Hanna's War (1988), Dying Young (1991), and The Cemetery Club (1993, in a most welcome leading role).
made Broadway debut in 1957 in ""Fair Game"
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Ellen Burstyn's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average career score: 54
Highest Metascore: 82 The Exorcist [re-release]
Lowest Metascore: 20 Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
23 movie reviews
Title: Year: Credit: User score:
20 Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You Oct 5, 2012 Nanette 4.8
36 The Wicker Man Sep 1, 2006 Sister Summerslsle 2.1