Burton Stephen “Burt” Lancaster (November 2, 1913 – October 20, 1994) was an American film actor noted for his athletic physique, blue eyes, and distinctive smile (which he called “The Grin”).
After initially building his career on “tough guy” roles Lancaster abandoned his “all-American” image in the late 1950s in favor of more complex and challenging roles, and came to be regarded as one of the best motion picture actors of his generation.
Lancaster was nominated four times for Academy Awards and won once for his work in Elmer Gantry in 1960. He also won a Golden Globe for that performance and BAFTA Awards for The Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) and Atlantic City (1980). His production company, Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, was the most successful and innovative star-driven independent production company in Hollywood in the 1950s, making movies such as Marty (1955), Trapeze (1956), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), and Separate Tables (1958).
In 1999, the American Film Institute named Lancaster 19th among the greatest male stars of all time.