An American actor, filmmaker, and activist, Edward Harrison Norton is best known for her roles in films like American History X
(1998), Fight Club
(1999), The Illusionist
(2006), and The Grand Budapest Hotel
(2014). Apart from working in cinema, Norton is an environmentalist, social activist, and philanthropist.
Edward Norton was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Edward Mower Norton Jr and Lydia Robinson. His father, a former Marine lieutenant worked as an environmental lawyer and a conservation advocate in Asia and mother was an English teacher who passed away in 1997 due to brain. Norton grew up in Columbia, Maryland along with his to two younger siblings, Molly and Jim. The two later, also collaborated with him professionally.
From 1981 to 1985, Norton along with his brother Jim attended Camp Pasquaney in Bristol, New Hampshire where he won the acting cup in 1984. The actor completed his graduation in 1987 from Wilde Lake High School, Columbia where his classmates as the best-selling author Robert Kolker.
In 2011, after dating for six years, Edward Norton proposed Shauna Robertson, a Canadian film producer and the two got married in 2012. The couple has one son together who was born in 2013.
As an Actor
Edward Norton started his career in 1996 with the American neo-noir crime thriller film, Primal Fear, which was based on the novel of the same name by William Diehl. The film directed by Gregory Hoblit earned mostly positive reviews and Norton for his brilliant work won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture and a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards. The same year, the actor appeared in two more films, Everyone Says I Love You
and The People vs. Larry Flynt
and both the films were well received by the critics.
The actor`s next major hit came in 1998 when he starred in the critically acclaimed American History X, a crime drama film Tony Kaye. The film earned him a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. The following year, the actor appeared in one of the most successful films of his career, Fight Club. The film directed by David Fincher and co-starring Brad Pitt
, Helena Bonham Carter
was one of the most controversial and talked-about films of 1999 and over the years it achieved a cult status.
By the start of the new millennium, the actor had already established himself as one of the most accomplished actors and he stamped his authority with yet another scintillating performance in Frida
, an American biopic drama film that released in August 2002. The film, which was based on the professional and private life of the surrealist Mexican painter Frida Kahlo was directed by Julie Taymor, and it featured Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Valeria Golino and Mia Maestro in the lead roles. The film received wide positive reviews from the critics and earned 56.3 million USD at the box office. His other releases of the year include Red Dragon and 25th Hour both of which received rave critic reviews with the former being a blockbuster at the box office.
In his solitary release of the year in 2003, the actor starred in the American heist film, The Italian Job which was directed F. Gary Gray and featured Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham and Seth Green in lead roles. The film, which was the remake of the 1960 British film of the same name got mostly positive reviews and it grossed 176 million USD worldwide.
With no releases to his name in 2004, the following year, Norton starred in two films; his first film of the year was the Kingdom of Heaven
which was directed by the acclaimed director, Ridley Scott
. The film starring Orlando Bloom, Ghassan Massoud, Eva Green, and Jeremy Irons was met with mostly positive reviews. In 2005, Scott released a director`s cut of the film, the version which he actually wanted to showcase and this too was met with wide critical appreciation. His other film of the year was the Down in the Valley
, which was first screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival 2005. The film starring Evan Rachel Wood
, David Morse
, and Rory Culkin
got mixed reviews with the acclaimed film critic, Roger Ebert in the review for Chicago Sun Times stated that he was happy to have seen the film and that Edward Norton nuanced acting was one of the biggest highlights of the film. At the same time, he questioned the film`s ending and said it was driven too much by the abstract idea behind the plot instead of the characters in it.
In 2006, director Neil Burger cast Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Beil, and Eleanor Tomlinson in the American romantic mystery film, The Illusionist
, which was loosely based on Steven Millhauser`s short story, `Eisenheim the Illusionist.` The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2006 where it got wide critical appreciation and upon release in, it emerged to be a commercial hit, grossing more than 87 million USD. Following the success of The Illusionist, the actor starred in the John Curran-directed American drama film, The Painted Veil, which was the third film adaptation of the Maugham Book of the same name. The film co-starring Naomi Watts, Live Schreiber, Toby Jones and Diana Rigg had only a limited release in the United States; it released only in four theatres but eventually expanded its showings in the US and Canada and it was screened in 287 theatres. Meghan Keane of the New York Sun stated, "May at times threaten to fall into an abyss of sentimentality and it has moments that seem mere transitions to propel the plot, but it manages a charming historic portrait without insulting the audience`s intelligence." For his brilliant performance in the film, Norton won a nomination at the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Debut but eventually lost to Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson.
Two years later, Norton portrayed the role of the Marvel Comics superhero character, Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk
directed by Louis Leterrier. The film co-starring Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, and Tim Blake Nelson premiered at the Gibson Amphitheater in Universal City, California 2008. Upon its theatrical release, the film got rave reviews, especially for its action sequences, improved visuals and Norton`s portrayal of the title role. It went to be the number one at the box office and grossed over 260 million USD worldwide.
In 2009, the actor appeared in a cameo role in the American fantasy romantic comedy film, The Invention of Lying. The film directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson is based in a time where the people in the world can only truth and lying are not invented yet. The film released in October 2009 and got positive reviews from the critics with a film critic from the Chicago Sun Times stating, "In its amiable, quiet, PG-13 way, it is a remarkably radical comedy."
From 2010 to 2012, the actor appeared in four films, viz. Leaves of Grass (2010), Stone (2010), Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and The Bourne Legacy (2012). Whilst the first two films did not garner any attention at the box office, both his films in 2012 received wide critical acclaim. The Bourne Legacy co-starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, and Albert Finney was the fourth installment in `The Bourne` series of films. The film grossed about 276 million USD.
Edward Norton started the year 2014 on a successful note as the starred in the critically acclaimed The Grand Budapest Hotel
, which was written and directed by Wes Anderson. The film featuring Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody and Willem Dafoe in the lead roles won Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy and also won nine Academy Awards nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. His other film of the year was the American satirical black comedy-drama film, Birdman
, which was directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu. The film featuring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough and Amy Ryan was a massive commercial and critical hit. It won nine Academy Award nominations and won the award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography. The film also won Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture at the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards.
In 2016, Norton made his debut as a voice artist as he lent his voice to Sammy Bagel, one of the characters in the computer-animated comedy film, Sausage Party
directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon. The film starring Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, James Franco and Michael Cera received positive critical reviews and grossed 139 million USD at the box office. His other film of the year includes Collateral Beauty
directed by David Frankel and co-starring Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren. He further worked as a voice actor in movies like The Guardian Brothers (2017) and Isle of Dogs (2018). His other project includes Motherless Brooklyn
(2019) and The French Dispatch