Burt Lancaster, whose full name is Burton Stephen Lancaster was born in Manhattan, New York City. The house in which he was born is now the place where Benjamin Franklin Plaza is present. He was the son of a mail carrier, James Henry Lancaster, and Elizabeth. He was part Irish since his paternal grandparents were Irish, who migrated to the U. S. Burt. He attended the DeWitt Clinton High School and was the typical basketball star of his school. His interest was in gymnastics in which he also developed amazing skills. In fact, the New York University selected him with an athletic scholarship. However, he dropped out of the University later. His mother died of a cerebral hemorrhage before he even graduated out of high school. By the time he was 19, he was involved with actor and stunt performer, Nick Cravat, with whom he worked in local productions in theaters and also performed circus arts owing to his gymnastic skills. He performed in circus arts at the Union Settlement which was one of the oldest settlement houses in the city.
In the 1930s, they took their acrobatic career to the next professional level by forming an acrobatic pair, Lang, and Cravat, and later joined the famous Kay Brothers circus. However, in 1939, due to an unfortunate occurring, Lancaster was forced to give up on his acrobatic career since he suffered an injury. For a few years, he took up some temporary jobs. For some time, he took the job of a salesman and even sang in restaurants in which he was a waiter. Things began to change when the U.S. joined the , and he joined the Army in 1942. He served in Italy for two years, where he worked with General Mark Clark’s Fifth Army as an entertainment provider to keep up the morale of the soldiers. It was just the right track for him to get on back to the path of success he was destined to be on.
After returning from service, he auditioned for a Broadway play. Although he wasn’t very sure about acting, he did it well enough to be offered a role. The show went on for just a few weeks, but that was enough for him to be seen and appreciated. After the show had ended, he got cast in the 1946 movie, The Killers, when a Hollywood agent, Harold Hecht, got in touch with him. He was appreciated in the movie and, therefore, got featured in two more movies the next year. He acted in several movies since then and received various awards, including an Oscar for Best Actor, The New York Film Critics Award, and the Golden Globe Award – all for his performance in his most appreciated work, Elmer Gantry. Many of his movies were adventure-based with some form of action involved but during the later part of his career, he set in mind on doing more challenging roles and got appreciated for them. He began demanding for more challenging and distinguished roles and was even ready to work for a lesser pay if the role was worth it. He developed such respect for distinguished work that he helped several artistic works financially. Although he was an extremely successful and talented actor, it did not mean he was restricted to just that. He directed two movies, The Kentuckian, and The Midnight Man and co-produced several movies and started his production company with his previous producer Harold Hecht and with Hill. It was called Hecht-Hill-Lancaster.
The company was a mega hit in the industry, producing only successful movies. It was said to have made only good films and people were waiting for a flop by the company because it was so unexpected that it’d ever happen. For his remarkable contribution to the motion picture industry, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His private life was guarded. He had three marriages, the first two ended in divorce. His third marriage, to Susan Martin, continued until he died. He had five children, all from his second marriage. The FBI and his family, after his death, revealed that he had several affairs with both men and women and that he suffered from depression. He died in LA of a heart attack in 1994. He has been ill previously as he had had two more heart attacks before the final one. He also suffered from atherosclerosis. A stroke in 1990 left his paralyzed, and he was unable to move or speak. He had no funeral or service after his death, as per his request.