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Actress Ellen Burstyn played the mother in The Exorcist and earned an Oscar for her role in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.
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Jean Harris. In addition to such dramatic TV movies as Surviving (1985), Into Thin Air (1985), and the Emmy-nominated Pack of Lies (1987), Burstyn tried her hand at comedy with her own series,
The Ellen Burstyn Show (1986-87).
Burstyn turned in a number of small, if memorable, performances in a variety of more recent films, including How to Make an American Quilt (1995), starring Winona Ryder, and The Spitfire Grill (1996). In 1998, she was featured as part of the impressive ensemble cast of Playing By Heart, also featuring Sean Connery, Gena Rowlands, and Angelina Jolie, playing a woman dealing with her grown son's battle with AIDS.
In 2000, Burstyn played to a decidedly younger audience with her costarring role opposite teen heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas in the little-seen Walking Across Egypt. She was also featured in a small role in the crime drama The Yards, starring Mark Wahlberg, James Caan, and Joaquin Phoenix. On the small screen, she was a regular on the new comedy series That's Life, playing the busybody mother of a grown woman who decides to go back to college to get her degree. By far her crowning achievement of that year, however, was her harrowing portrayal of a woman addicted to diet pills in the edgy, disturbing drama Requiem for a Dream, directed by Darren Aronofsky. The performance earned Burstyn a sixth overall Academy Award nomination, her fifth for Best Actress.
Since then, Burstyn has tackled a variety of television and film projects. She had a recurring role on Big Love. In 2012, Burstyn appeared in the television miniseries Political Animals with Sigourney Weaver and Carla Gugino. She won an Emmy Award for her work on the miniseries the following year. On the big screen, Burstyn has enjoyed roles in such films as Main Street (2010) and Another Happy Day (2011).
Burstyn has been married and divorced three times - to poet William C. Alexander (1950-55), director Paul Roberts (1957-59), and actor Neil Burstyn (1960-1971). She and Neil Burstyn adopted a son, Jefferson. In 2000, Burstyn became president of the Actors Studio.
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