Saturday, April 20, 2024

Oscar Winner Ellen Burstyn: “I Don’t Recommend Abortion to Anybody”


Ellen Burstyn is one of our finest actresses. She’s also a great lady who runs the Actors Studio in New York. Ellen stars in the upcoming “Interstellar.” Her Oscar was for Best Actress in “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” She was also nominated for “Requiem for a Dream.” On a new NPR podcast, Burstyn shared some surprising thoughts:

Some excerpts from the candid interview:

 On her difficult and sometimes emotionally and verbally abusive relationship with her mother:

Ellen Burstyn: know she did the best she could. She always said, well we always had food on the table and a roof over your head, didn’t you? Well that’s true. But the love was absent. And that’s, that becomes material you have to deal with in your life to transform. When you look at the stuff that got put into you, and didn’t get put into you, you say okay, this is what I have to work with


On why she doesn’t recommend abortion:

EB: I don’t recommend abortion to anybody. I don’t think it’s a good thing to do. At the same time, if women are pregnant and don’t want to have a baby, they will get an abortion one way or another. And if it’s illegal, they will get an illegal abortion. As I did. And it’s a scarring experience. The illegal abortion just botched me, so I couldn’t ever get pregnant again. That was a part of the trauma.


On what the police said when her husband assaulted her:

EB: When I called the police, they said, we don’t mix in household problems. And I said, he’s threatened to kill me. And he said, no, we don’t respond. And I said, well what is it you do? And he said, we apprehend criminals when a crime has been committed. And I said, you mean, I should call if he actually kills me. And he said, that’s right. 


On why she is the most proud of the relationship she has with her son:

EB: The thing I’m most proud of is that my son is the most outgoing, loving, available, good-hearted, fine human being, that somehow, with all of the turbulence in my life, and all of the unconventional upbringing he had, I didn’t ruin him. He survived it all with grace. And he’s somebody, I’d rather be around him than anybody I know.


On how she views herself:

EB: I know I’m a successful actress, but I don’t feel I’m necessarily a successful person. You know? I still have a lot of areas that need work. But I do strive to be better, and to learn what each stage of life offers. For development. And I don’t know if I talked before about letting go, that’s the big lesson for me. That’s a Buddhist concept of always letting go, not grasping on to what was, what you hoped to be, your expectations. Your ideas about yourself. But with each moment being present in the moment and letting go of everything else. And that is where I am in my life now.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News