Ellen Burstyn has been a star for longer than most of us have been alive. But would you recognise her on the street as she makes her way to her London theatre debut at the Comedy Theatre's production of The Children’s Hour?
At 78, this Oscar winner is still in demand, unlike most actresses near her age who have either disappeared or are no longer interested in working. But she is never in the tabloids, never photographed by the paparazzi, she doesn't Tweet, and she can walk on the street unnoticed. But she has had a career that almost any actress - dead or alive - would wish for.
Starting her acting career in her thirties, her first acting role was on American TV in The Greatest Show on Earth. A few years later, she was on another popular televison show called The Virginian. Then the 1970s came, and saw her career in film take off.
In 1971, she received the first of her many Academy Award nominations, playing Cybill Shepherd’s mother in The Last Picture Show. The Exorcist (1973) catapulted Burstyn into lead actress territory, when she played the mother of a possessed child (Linda Blair). The movie caused quite a sensation in cinemas due to Blair’s full-on portrayal of a child possessed by the devil, causing some cinema-goers to vomit in the aisles, and deem the film the scariest film of all time (at the time).
Her next film delivered her only Oscar. She played a widow who traveled across America with her preteen son in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. After her Oscar win, she continued to star in many popular movies - all the while staying out of the celebrity limelight - and films such Same Time Next Year and Resurrection brought two more Best Actress nominations. In the '80s and '90s Burstyn did lots of television, and in 2001 she returned to the big screen, and received another Best Actress Nomination for her performance as a older drug addict in Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream. Since then, she has appeared in more television roles, and as Barbra Bush in Oliver Stone's 2008 film, W.
Now, at the age of 78, she is making her London stage debut.
In The Children's Hour, Burstyn plays the grandmother of a girl at boarding school who starts a rumour that two female teachers are having an affair. Burstyn commands the stage and out acts the two leads, Keira Knightly and Elizabeth Moss. But of course, she would out act them - she has had decades of acting experience.
The Children’s Hour ends its run at the end of April, so you have a few weeks to book tickets. It is not everyday that you can see a pure Hollywood legend on stage in London, so don't miss this once in a lifetime experience.