Burt Lancaster

Rugged, athletic and handsome, Burt Lancaster enjoyed phenomenal success from his first film, The Killers, through to his last, Field of Dreams -- all told, a career spanning over four decades. Boasting an impressively wide range, he delivered thoughtful, sensitive performances across a spectrum of genres: from film noir to Westerns to melodrama, he commanded the screen with a presence and power matched by only a handful of stars.

Lancaster was born November 2, 1913, in New York City. As a child he exhibited considerable athletic and acrobatic prowess, and at the age of 17 joined a circus troupe, forming a duo with the diminutive performer Nick Cravat (later to frequently serve as his onscreen sidekick). He eventually joined the army, and after acting and dancing in a number of armed forces revues, he decided to pursue a dramatic career. Upon hiring an agent, Harold Hecht, Lancaster made his Broadway debut in A Sound of Hunting, a role which led to a contract with Paramount. Because the release of his first picture, Desert Fury, was delayed, he initially came to the attention of audiences in 1946's The Killers, a certified classic of film noir. It remained the genre of choice in several of his subsequent projects, including 1947's Brute Force and 1948's I Walk Alone.

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