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Facts about Edward Norton
Biography for Edward NortonEdward Harrison Norton (born Aug. 18, 1969 (44 years ago)) is an American movie actor, screenwriter and director. In 1996 (17 years ago), his supporting role in the courtroom drama Primal (8 walls) Fear garnered him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. A year later, his lead role as a reformed white power skinhead in American History X (4 walls) earned a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actor. His other movies include period dramas such as Kingdom of Heaven (2005, 8 years ago), The Illusionist (3 walls) (2006, 7 years ago), and The Painted Veil (2006, 7 years ago); and other notable movies such as Rounders (1998, 15 years ago), Fight Club (9 walls) (1999, 14 years ago), 25th Hour (2002, 11 years ago), Red Dragon (2002, 11 years ago), and The Incredible Hulk (2008, 5 years ago).
Aside from acting, Norton made his directorial debut with the movie Keeping the Faith (2000, 13 years ago) and is slated to direct the movie adaptation of the novel Motherless Brooklyn, set to be released in 2010 (3 years ago). He is a member of the board of trustees of Enterprise Community Partners, a non-profit organization for developing affordable housing, as well as a social activist.
Early lifeEdward Norton was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Columbia, Maryland. His mother, Robin (née Rouse), an English teacher, died of a brain tumor in 1997; his father, Edward James Norton, Sr., is an environmental lawyer and conservation advocate working in Asia, as well as a former federal prosecutor under the Carter administration. His maternal grandfather was the developer James W. Rouse (founder of The Rouse Company), who developed the city of Columbia, Maryland (where Norton grew up), helped develop Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Norfolk's Waterside Festival Marketplace, and Boston's Quincy Market, as well as co-founded the Enterprise Foundation with Norton's maternal stepgrandmother, Patty Rouse. Norton has two younger siblings—Molly and Jim, with whom he has professionally collaborated. From 1981 (32 years ago) to 1985 (28 years ago), along with his brother, he attended Camp Pasquaney, on the shores of Newfound Lake in Hebron, New Hampshire. There, he won the acting cup in 1984 (29 years ago) and later returned to the camp's council for two years, directing theater. He maintains close connections with the camp.
Norton graduated from Columbia's Wilde Lake High School in 1987 (26 years ago). He attended Yale University, where he acted in university productions alongside Ron Livingston and Paul Giamatti, graduating in 1991 (22 years ago) with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Following graduation, Norton worked in Osaka, Japan, consulting for his grandfather's company, Enterprise Foundation. Norton can speak some Japanese. He appeared in an ESL textbook, Only in America, used by Nova, a formerly major English language school.
Personal lifeNorton is generally known for his reluctance to embrace his celebrity status, and has said, "If I ever have to stop taking the subway, I'm gonna have a heart attack." Norton has stated in interviews that he is a fan of the Baltimore Orioles, and was involved in many of Cal Ripken Jr.'s retirement activities in 2001 (12 years ago) when he was asked to be a part of Ripken's biography for Major League Baseball (MLB). He attended Ripken's ceremony at the Hall of Fame in Jul. 2007 (6 years ago). Norton has a private pilot license and discussed his flight training when interviewed on episodes of The Late Show with David Letterman and Inside the Actor's Studio.
Norton was a strong supporter of former New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer. Norton is a member of the board of trustees of the Enterprise Foundation, a non-profit developer of affordable housing. He is also well-known for his support for environmental causes and renewable energy projects, such as BP's Solar Neighbors program. He also put time and money toward social activist causes, including improving the quality of living in low-income communities.
He dated singer Courtney Love from 1996 (17 years ago) to 1999 (14 years ago), and actress Salma Hayek (21 walls) from 1999 (14 years ago) to 2003 (10 years ago). He had broken engagements with both women. Norton is 6 feet (1.83 m) tall, according to his interview on The Daily Show. He lives in New York City.
CareerNorton moved to New York City and began his acting career in off-Broadway theater, breaking through with his 1993 (20 years ago) involvement in Edward Albee's Fragments at the Signature Theatre Company. His first major movie was 1996's Primal (8 walls) Fear, which tells a story of a defense attorney (Richard Gere), who defends Aaron Stampler, an altar boy (Norton), charged with the murder of a Catholic archbishop. The movie is an adaptation of William Diehl's 1993 (20 years ago) novel. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "Norton gives a performance that's fully the equal of Gere's -- he's as slyly self-effacing as Gere is slyly ostentatious." Alison Macor of The Austin Chronicle, in review of the film, wrote, "Norton's performance and the well-paced tension preceding the movie's climactic sequence provide an entertaining if slightly predictable thriller." Despite the mixed reviews, Norton won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
In 1998 (15 years ago), he took on the role of Derek Vinyard, a reformed neo-Nazi in the movie American History X. David Denby of The New Yorker noted that Norton gives Derek "ambiguous erotic allure; he's almost appealing". American History X (4 walls) received positive reception, and grossed over $23 million worldwide at the box office. His performance in the movie earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He packed on 30 pounds (13 kg) of muscle for his role in American History X (4 walls) but did not maintain the physique after production. Also in 1998 (15 years ago), Norton starred opposite Matt Damon (4 walls) in Rounders, a movie follows two friends who need to quickly earn enough cash playing poker to pay off a huge debt.
In the 1999 (14 years ago) movie Fight Club (9 walls), Norton played the nameless protagonist, an everyman and an unreliable narrator who feels trapped with his white-collar position in society. The film, an adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel of the same name, was directed by David Fincher. To prepare for the role, Norton took lessons in boxing, taekwondo, and grappling. Fight Club (9 walls) premiered at the 1999 (14 years ago) Venice International movie Festival. During promotion for the film, he said, "I feel that Fight Club (9 walls) really, in a way... probed into the despair and paralysis that people feel in the face of having inherited this value system out of advertising." The movie failed to meet expectations at the box office, and received polarized reactions from movie critics. However, it became a cult classic after its DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) release.
In 2002 (11 years ago), he starred as FBI profiler Will Graham in Brett Ratner's Red Dragon and in Spike Lee's 25th Hour. While Red Dragon received mixed reviews, it was commercially successful. 25th Hour was praised by critics, particularly for its examination of a post-9/11 New York City, but failed to break even.
He played himself in a cameo role in the experimental comedy show Stella, and won critical acclaim for his role as Baldwin IV, the leper king of Jerusalem, in Kingdom of Heaven. In 2006 (7 years ago), he starred in the independent movie The Illusionist (3 walls), which premiered at the Sundance movie Festival and later became a sleeper hit when it went into general release. Norton has also done uncredited script work on some of the movies he has appeared in, specifically Frida and The Score. In 2000 (13 years ago), he made his debut as a director with Keeping the Faith. He will also direct the movie adaptation of the novel Motherless Brooklyn. Norton portrayed Marvel (19 walls) comics superhero The Hulk in the second movie adaptation of The Incredible Hulk, released in 2008 (5 years ago).
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