From her job as a short order cook at a lunch counter to an Oscar-award winning actor, Ellen Burstyn's career took her from Detroit to Broadway, then to TV and, of course, to Hollywood. She first appeared on The
Jackie Gleeson Show as a showgirl in 1952 and her Broadway debut was in Fair Game in 1957. She also appeared in the TV series The Doctors in 1963, but gained notice for her TV role in Goodbye Charlie
(1964). After these successes, she took time off time to study acting with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.
In 1971, she received her big break when she was cast as the female lead in The Last Picture Show and was nominated for the Golden Globe and Academy Award. She co-starred with Jack Nicholson in
The King of Marvin Gardens (1972) and then the hugely successful movie, The Exorcist (1973), again nominated for the Golden Globe and Academy Award. In 1974, Burstyn received an Oscar
for Best Actress in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore playing a waitress, which is a job that she knew well. During that same year, Ellen won a Tony Award for the Broadway play Same Time,
Her film credits during that time include: Same Time, Next Year (1978) and Resurrection (1980).
She received two Emmy nominations for TV movies and she had her own series called The Ellen Burstyn Show (1986). Additional movies include: The Cemetery Club (1993),
How to Make an American Quilt (1995), The Baby-Sitters Club (1995) and The Spitfire Grill (1996). In 2000, she was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in
Requiem For A Dream.
Currently, Burstyn is appearing on television in the hit series, Big Love, as Nancy Davis Dutton. In addition to her accomplishments as an actor, she was the first woman president
of Actor's Equity, the actors' union, from 1982 to 1985.