Ellen Burstyn

NEW YORK - JUNE 27: Actors Ellen Burstyn (L) and Holly Hunter attend the Grand Classics Screening of "The King of Marvin Gardens" sponsored by Karu & Y restaraunt at the Soho House on June 27, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
Getty Images/Peter Kramer
One of Ellen Burstyn's first gigs as a performer was as a showgirl on "The Jackie Gleason Show" in the 1950s. She later made her Broadway debut in 1957's "Fair Game."

Peter Bogdanovich's "The Last Picture Show" was Burstyn's big film break and earned her a Oscar nomination. In 1973, she was nominated again, this time for playing Linda Blair's mother in "The Exorcist." She finally received an Oscar for her portrayal of a waitress in 1974's "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore." Burstyn was featured on TV for much of the 1980s and 1990's, mostly in TV movies, though she landed her own short-lived comedy series in 1986.

More recently she starred in 2002's "The Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood," and NBC's critically acclaimed but short-lived series "The Book of Daniel."

In 2006, Burstyn received an Emmy nod for her 11-second appearance as "Ex-Lover #3" in the HBO miniseries "Mrs. Harris," a nomination that puzzled many Hollywood insiders.