Edward Norton is an American actor and filmmaker.
His full name is Edward Harrison Norton.
Norton was born on August 18, 1969, in Boston, Massachusetts.
His father, Edward Mower Norton, Jr., was an environmental lawyer and conservationist, who works for the National Trust for Historic Preservation while his mother, Lydia Robinson “Robin” (née Rouse), was a high-school English teacher.
Edward has two younger siblings, James and Molly.
He has English, as well as small amounts of German, Scots-Irish (Northern Irish), and Swiss-German, ancestry.
Norton studied history at Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut, before moving to Ōsaka, where he worked briefly as a consultant. He then moved to New York City to pursue a full-time acting career.
In New York City he stared in the Off-Broadway theater, breaking through with his 1993 involvement in Edward Albee’s Fragments, at the Signature Theatre Company.
In his film debut Primal Fear (1996), Norton played Aaron Stampler, an altar boy who is charged with the murder of a Roman Catholic archbishop and is defended by Martin Vail (Richard Gere). For this role Norton won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Then he starred opposite Drew Barrymore in Woody Allen’s romantic comedy Everyone Says I Love You (1996) and appeared with Woody Harrelson in The People vs. Larry Flint (1996).
In 1998, Norton gained 14 kilograms (30 pounds) of muscle and transformed his look into that of a monstrous skinhead for his role as a violent white supremacist in American History X (1998). This performance earned him his second Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actor.
Then Norton starred with Matt Damon in Rounders, which follows two friends who urgently need to earn enough cash playing poker to pay off a huge debt.
In 1999, Norton performed alongside Brad Pitt in Fight Club (1999), a film portraying the lives of emotionally empty men who turn to underground combat as an outlet from their homogeneous lives in a materialistic and corporate-dominated society. To prepare for the role, Norton took lessons in boxing, taekwondo and grappling.
Norton made his directorial debut with romantic comedy Keeping the Faith in 2000, in which he starred opposite Ben Stiller and Jenna Elfman.
Norton later appeared alongside Anthony Hopkins in Red Dragon (2002), a prequel to the 1991 blockbuster Silence of the Lambs, and starred as a convicted drug dealer contemplating his life in the 24-hour period before his incarceration in Spike Lee’s 25th Hour (2002).
He returned to the stage in a 2002 production of Lanford Wilson’s Burn This and won an Obie Award for his performance.
In 2003, Paramount Studios forced Norton to star in The Italian Job (2003) by threatening to sue him under the terms of a three-film contract he had signed. Norton accordingly refused to promote the film’s release.
In 2003, Norton founded Class 5 Films with Stuart Blumberg, a friend of his since his Yale days.
Norton won critical praise for his role as Baldwin IV, the leper king of Jerusalem, in the epic historical drama Kingdom of Heaven (2005).
Then he stared in Down in the Valley (2006) as a cowboy who moves to California and gets involved with a younger woman.
In The Illusionist (2006), Norton portrayed Eisenheim, a magician who uses his skills to beguile the crown prince of Vienna.
Norton stared in The Painted Veil (2006), a historical drama of betrayal set in China during a cholera epidemic.
He portrayed Marvel Comics character Bruce Banner / The Hulk in the Marvel Studios film The Incredible Hulk (2008).
Norton next starred opposite Colin Farrell in the crime drama Pride and Glory (2008).
Then Norton turned in an acclaimed performance in the comedy-thriller Leaves of Grass (2009), playing both a buttoned-down philosophy professor and his hedonistic marijuana-growing twin brother.
Then he appeared as a devious convict opposite Robert De Niro in the crime drama Stone (2010).
In 2012, Norton appeared as a 1960s scoutmaster in Wes Anderson’s whimsical Moonrise Kingdom and as a retired Air Force colonel in The Bourne Legacy.
In 2014, Norton played Mike Shiner, a prickly Broadway actor in the black comedy film Birdman and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role.
In 2014 he also appeared as inspector Albert Henckels in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Norton next appeared in the sentimental Collateral Beauty (2016), playing the coworker of a grieving father.
Edward Norton has an estimated net worth of $80 million.
After six years of dating, Norton proposed to Canadian film producer Shauna Robertson in 2011 and they married in 2012. They have one son (born 2013).
Norton lives in New York City.
Alongside his work in cinema, Norton is an environmental and social activist, and is a member of the board of trustees of Enterprise Community Partners, a non-profit organization for developing affordable housing founded by his grandfather James Rouse.
Norton is president of the American branch of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. He ran in the 2009 New York City Marathon to raise money for the Trust.
Norton gained a reputation for being a perfectionist and managed to receive the final cut of American History X.
He has done uncredited work on the scripts for The Score (2001), Frida (2002), and The Incredible Hulk (2008).
During filming Fight Club (1999), he and co-star Brad Pitt took soap-making classes.
Norton worked as a waiter, a proofreader, and a director’s assistant to try to get his foot in the door in New York City. He applied to be a New York City cab driver, but he was rejected for the license because he didn’t meet the age requirement.
He speaks Spanish fluently.
Norton also speaks some French and some Japanese, which helped when he worked, briefly, for his grandfather’s company, The Enterprise Foundation.
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 says if he wasn’t an actor he would be a pilot.
He played guitar with Courtney Love’s band, Hole, in two gigs in Los Angeles, in December 1998.
His 5 favorite films are: 1. The Cruise (1998), 2. The King of Comedy (1982), 3. Tampopo (1986), 4. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) and 5. Ruggles of Red Gap (1935).