Born in Detroit, Ellen Burstyn worked a number of jobs before she became an actress. At 14, she was a short-order cook at a lunch counter. After graduating from Detroit's Cass Technical High School, she went to Texas to model and then to New York as a showgirl on "The Jackie Gleason Show" (1952). From there, it was to Montreal as a nightclub dancer and then Broadway with her debut in "Fair Game (1957)". By 1963, she appeared on the TV series "The Doctors" (1963), but she gained notice for her role in Goodbye Charlie (1964). Ellen then took time off to study acting with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.
Her big break came when she was cast as the female lead in The Last Picture Show (1971). For this role, she received nominations for the Golden Globe and Academy Award. ...» read full biography