Born on December 7, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan, Ellen Burstyn is an Academy Award-winning actress best known for her Oscar-winning role in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, among a host of critically acclaimed films. The daughter of a housewife and a building contractor, Burstyn was of Irish, French, and Native American descent. She was raised Catholic and her parents divorced when was very young. Her first two marriages failed, too, before meeting Neil Burstyn, who eventually degenerated into mental illness and became schizophrenic and violent. After the marriage, Burstyn became one of the most celebrated actresses of the 1970s and 80s, bagging five Oscar nods and a win in the period of 10 years.
Ellen Burstyn’s foray into the entertainment business was via Broadway in 1957. Eighteen years later, she would win a Tony Award for Best Actress in A Play for Same Time, New Year, a role she would do for the play’s film adaptation. In 1974, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for the Martin Scorsese romance drama Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress came three years earlier for The Last Picture Show, while her first for the Best Actress category a year later for the horror classic The Exorcist. She would also be nominated for Same Time, Next Year, Resurrection, and Requiem for a Dream. In 2008, she returned to stage with the New York production of The Little Flower of East Orange.
During the 1960s, Burstyn also appeared on television, such as guest appearances on Perry Mason, Maverick, Wagon Train 77 Sunset Strip, The Big Valley, and Gunsmoke. She even had her own sitcom called The Ellen Burstyn Show with Will and Grace star Megan Mullally appearing as her daughter. She also appeared in That’s Life, The Book of Daniel, and even hosted Saturday Night Live once in 1980.