The Hollywood Collection

Season 2010 Episode 03.09.10

Burt Lancaster Daring to Reach

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Burt Lancaster Daring to Reach
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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). Other acting triumphs were The Rose Tattoo (1955), The Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), From Here To Eternity (1953), The Rainmaker (1956), The Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Elmer Gantry (1960) - which earned him an Academy Award - and Atlantic City (1980). His production company Hecht-Hill-Lancaster was also responsible for the multi-Oscar-winning Marty (1955). Though known for his demanding personality, Burt was loved for his loyalty to his friends and to his humble beginnings. Those interviewed include directors Sydney Pollack, Ted Post, and Delbert Mann; actors Rhonda Fleming, Virginia Mayo, Terry Moore, Peter Reigert, Earl Holliman, Jeff Corey, producmoreless
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