Burt Lancaster was born in East Harlem on 2 November 1913, the son of a postal worker, fourth of five children, he was conquered by the world of cinema after seeing and reviewing for a whole day the film "The sign of Zorro" starring Douglas Fairbanks. The tightrope walker thrills with his acrobatics the soul of the young Lancaster to such an extent that he tries to become an acrobat.
So Burt, at 17, together with his friend Nick Cravat, creates the acrobatic duo "Lang & Cravat". The two young trapeze artists get an engagement in the traveling show of the "Kay Brother Circus".
In 1941, after ten years of tiring circus nomadism, Burt sprained his wrist in Saint Louis during an exhibition and was forced to change his job. He first found work as a clerk at department stores, then as a clerk in a chiller factory and finally at the ticket office of a series of concerts organized by CBS.
Called to arms in the Second World War, Burt Lancaster is assigned to
special services and stars in the magazine "Stars and Gripes" which goes
around the troops.
A chance meeting in the elevator, in the summer of 1945, determines the future of his artistic career. Burt is visiting his future second wife Norma, secretary of a famous radio producer. While in the elevator, the actor is first observed and then approached by a famous theatrical agent who, believing him a professional actor, immediately wants him to write for the role of a sergeant in the American army in the Broadway show "Soul of Hunting". This will be his big chance: the cinema notices him and consecrates him as star of some classic and timeless gangsters movies.
Having become rich and famous, Lancaster also proves to have an excellent entrepreneurial talent by founding his own production company, "Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Co", together with Harold Hecht, his agent since Broadway, and producer James Hill. And as a producer he made some memorable films, such as "L'ultimo Apache", "Trapezio and red-hot lead" and above all "Marty", which in 1955 won the Oscar for best film.
Entering the cinema for physicality he was able to impersonate characters of a completely different depth: the memorable Prince of Salina in the 'Gattopardo' (1963) and the old intellectual of "Gruppo di famiglia in un interno" (1974) both by Luchino Visconti.
He also dedicated himself to directing in 1955 with a good adventure film "The Kentuckian - The Tramp of the Frontiers" and a thriller "Midnight Man" in 1973, along with Roland Kibbee.
Suffering from a stroke in 1990, he never recovered. He married three times: with June Ernst from 1935 to 1946; with Norma Anderson from 28.12.1946 to July 1969; and finally with Susan Martin in 1991 until her death, due to a heart attack on October 20, 1994.
He never had children and played bridge for pleasure.