Edward Norton

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This article is about the actor. For the television fictional character, see Ed Norton (Honeymooners). For other uses, see Edward Norton (disambiguation).
Edward Norton
Edward Norton 2012.jpg
Norton in Africa, March 2012
Born Edward Harrison Norton
(1969-08-18) August 18, 1969 (age 44)
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Alma mater Yale University
Occupation Actor, director, producer, screenwriter, activist
Years active 1996–present
Spouse(s) Shauna Robertson (m. 2012)
Children 1

Edward Harrison Norton[1] (born August 18, 1969) is an American actor, screenwriter, film director and producer. In 1996, in his debut film, his supporting role in the courtroom drama Primal Fear garnered him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Two years later, his lead role as a reformed white power skinhead in American History X earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

His other performances are diverse in range and include supporting roles in the biographical drama The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), the comedy Everyone Says I Love You (1998), and the comedy-dramas Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, starring roles in the cult hit Fight Club (1999), 25th Hour (2002), The Illusionist (2006) and Leaves of Grass (2009) (in which he acted against himself), a rare villain turn in The Italian Job (2003) and an unrecognizable appearance in Kingdom of Heaven (2005).

In addition to acting, Norton has experience writing and directing films. He made his directorial debut with the film Keeping the Faith (2000). In addition to this, he performed uncredited work on the scripts for The Score, Frida, and The Incredible Hulk. He also appeared as a character in all of these films. He starred as Jack Teller in The Score, alongside Robert De Niro, and as Dr. Bruce Banner, the alter-ego of the Marvel Comics superhero the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk. He also had a minor role in Frida as Nelson Rockefeller.

In his private life, Norton is an environmental and social activist. He 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.[2] He ran in the 2009 New York City Marathon to raise money for the Trust.[3] He also raises money for charity through Crowdrise, a social networking community for volunteers and a micro-donations fundraising platform.[4] In July 2010, Norton was designated as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.[5] On 2 July 2014, Edward Norton was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustee to Signature Theatre, a not-for-profit theater Company in New York.[6] Edward has been on Signature's board since 1996, and served as the co-Chair of the Capital Campaign during the building of The Pershing Square Signature Center.[7]

Early life[edit]

Edward Norton was born in Boston, Massachusetts,[8] and raised in Columbia, Maryland.[9] His father, Edward Mower Norton, Jr., was an environmental lawyer and conservation advocate working in Asia, as well as a former federal prosecutor in the Carter administration. His mother, Lydia Robinson "Robin" (née Rouse), a teacher of English, died of a brain tumor in 1997.[10][11] His maternal grandfather was the developer James Rouse (founder of The Rouse Company), who developed the city of Columbia, Maryland (where Norton grew up), helped develop Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Norfolk's Waterside Festival Marketplace, and Boston's Quincy Market, as well as co-founded Enterprise Community Partners with Norton's maternal step-grandmother, Patty Rouse.[10] Norton has two younger siblings—Molly and Jim, with whom he has professionally collaborated. From 1981 to 1985, along with his brother, Norton attended Camp Pasquaney, on the shores of Newfound Lake in Hebron, New Hampshire. There, he won the acting cup in 1984, and later returned to the camp's council for two years, directing theater. He maintains close connections with the camp.[10]

Norton was raised Episcopalian.[12] He graduated in 1987 from Columbia's Wilde Lake High School, where his classmates included New York City Council member Mark Levine[13] and best-selling author Robert Kolker.[14] He attended Yale University, where he was a competitive rower[15] and acted in university productions alongside Ron Livingston and Paul Giamatti, graduating in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in History.[10]

Following graduation, Norton worked in Osaka, Japan, consulting for his grandfather's company, Enterprise Community Partners. Norton speaks some Japanese.[16][17] He appeared in an EFL textbook, Only in America, used by Nova, a formerly major English language school in Japan.[18]

Career[edit]

Norton moved to New York City and began his acting career in Off-Broadway theater,[10] breaking through with his 1993 involvement in Edward Albee's Fragments, at the Signature Theatre Company. His first film was 1996's Primal Fear, which tells a story of a defense attorney (Richard Gere), who defends Aaron Stampler (Norton), an altar boy charged with the murder of a Roman Catholic archbishop. The movie is an adaptation of William Diehl's 1993 novel.[19] Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "Norton gives a performance that's fully the equal of Gere's – he's as slyly self-effacing as Gere is slyly ostentatious."[20] Alison Macor of The Austin Chronicle, in review of the film, wrote, "Norton's performance and the well-paced tension preceding the movie's climactic sequence provide an entertaining if slightly predictable thriller."[21] Despite the mixed reviews,[22] Norton won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.[23][24] That same year, Norton appeared as lawyer Alan Isaacman in The People vs. Larry Flynt.

In 1998, he played Derek Vinyard, a reformed neo-Nazi, in the film American History X.[25] David Denby of The New Yorker noted that Norton gives Derek "ambiguous erotic allure; he's almost appealing".[26] American History X received positive reviews[27] and grossed over $23 million worldwide at the box office.[28] His performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.[24] Also in 1998, Norton starred opposite Matt Damon in Rounders, a movie following two friends who need to quickly earn enough cash playing poker to pay off a huge debt.[29]

In the 1999 film Fight Club, Norton played the nameless protagonist, an everyman and an unreliable narrator who feels trapped with his white-collar position in society. The film, an adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel of the same name, was directed by David Fincher.[30] To prepare for the role, Norton took lessons in boxing, taekwondo, and grappling.[31] Fight Club premiered at the 1999 Venice International Film Festival.[32] During promotion for the film, he said, "I feel that Fight Club really, in a way ... probed into the despair and paralysis that people feel in the face of having inherited this value system out of advertising."[33] The film failed to meet expectations at the box office,[34] and received polarized reactions from film critics.[35] However, it became a cult classic after its DVD release.[36] In 2008, Fight Club was named the 10th greatest movie of all time by Empire Magazine in its issue of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.

In 2002, he starred in Brett Ratner's Red Dragon as FBI profiler Will Graham and in Spike Lee's 25th Hour. While Red Dragon received mixed reviews, it was commercially successful. 25th Hour was praised by critics, particularly for its examination of a post-9/11 New York City, but failed to break even.[37][38] In 2003 Norton was forced by Paramount Studios, under threat of lawsuit having signed a three-film contract when he signed up for Primal Fear, to appear in The Italian Job (2003), for which he accordingly refused to promote upon its release.[39][40] Norton won critical acclaim for his role as Baldwin IV, the leper king of Jerusalem, in Kingdom of Heaven.[41] Norton portrayed Marvel Comics character Bruce Banner / the Hulk in the Marvel Studios film The Incredible Hulk, released in 2008.[42] Norton's failed attempt to rewrite the film along lines of his own choosing resulted in his refusal to promote the film.[40] He had been expected to reprise his role as the character in the 2012 film The Avengers,[43] but the role was later confirmed to have been given to Mark Ruffalo.[44]

Norton in March 2010

In 2006, Norton starred in two films: Down in the Valley, as a dangerous drifter affecting to be a cowpoke, and in The Illusionist, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and later became a sleeper hit when it went into general release. In 2010, Norton appeared in two films again: in Leaves of Grass, as estranged identical twins (one a small-time drug dealer and the other a Harvard professor); and in Stone, which reunited Norton with his The Score cast-mate Robert De Niro, and in which Norton plays a convict trying to con his parole officer (De Niro) into an early release. In 2008, Norton starred in New Line Cinema's Pride and Glory, as an honest detective assigned to investigate the precinct run by his older brother. The film was not well received by critics, not strongly supported by the studio, and despite also starring Colin Farrell and Jon Voight, its worldwide grosses totaled only $31.1 million, against a production budget of $30 million.[45]

Norton played himself in a cameo role in the experimental comedy show Stella,[46] and made another comedic television appearance on the Emmy award-winning ABC show Modern Family in 2010, playing a fictional member of real life '80s new wave band Spandau Ballet. In the 2012 movie The Bourne Legacy, he is the antagonist Eric Byer.

Norton has also done uncredited script work on some of the films he has appeared in, specifically The Score, Frida,[47] and The Incredible Hulk. In 2000, Norton made his debut as a director with Keeping the Faith. He will also direct the film adaptation of the novel Motherless Brooklyn.

Norton has a reputation of being a perfectionist. He managed to receive final cut of American History X, clashed with the director while shooting Red Dragon, and (with the director) clashed with the studio during the shooting of The Incredible Hulk (and refused to do promotion for it).[48]

In 2013, Norton starred in The Lonely Island's music video, Spring Break Anthem, alongside Andy Samberg, Zach Galifinakis, James Franco, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. The video premiered on Funny or Die's Between Two Ferns during a segment between Galifinakis and Franco.[49]

On February 20, 2014, it was announced that Norton would begin production of the long-gestating adaptation of Motherless Brooklyn in fall 2014, with Brett Ratner acting as producer.[50]

In June 2014, Norton's Class 5 Films and RatPac Entertainment acquired the movie rights to the non-fiction article American Hippopotamus, by Jon Mooallem, about the meat shortage in the U.S. in 1910 and the attempts made by Major Frederick Russell Burnham, Captain Fritz Joubert Duquesne and Congressman Robert Broussard to import hippopotamuses into the Louisiana bayous and to convince Americans to eat them. The movie will highlight the Burnham - Duquesne rivalry, two famous spies who had previous been under orders to assassinate each other. Norton, William Migliore and Brett Ratner will produce this feature film.[51]

Personal life[edit]

Norton at the premiere of the Metropolitan Opera's 2009 season

After six years of dating, Norton became engaged to Canadian film producer Shauna Robertson in 2011, and they married in 2012.[52] They have one son, born in March 2013.[53]

Norton is generally known for his reluctance to embrace his celebrity status, and has said, "If I ever have to stop taking the subway, I'm gonna have a heart attack."[54] Norton has stated in interviews that he is a fan of the Baltimore Orioles,[55] and was involved in many of Cal Ripken Jr.'s retirement activities in 2001 when he was asked to be a part of Ripken's biography for Major League Baseball (MLB).[55] He attended Ripken's ceremony at the Hall of Fame in July 2007.[56] 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.[57]

Norton was a strong supporter of former New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer.[58] Norton is a member of the board of trustees of Enterprise Community Partners, a non-profit developer of affordable housing based in his hometown. He is also well known for his support for environmental causes and renewable energy projects, such as Enterprise's Green Communities Initiative and BP's Solar Neighbors program.[59][60][61] He also put time and money toward social activist causes, including improving the quality of living in low-income communities.[62][63]

Norton's work with the HBO documentary By the People: The Election of Barack Obama led to a soundtrack, with proceeds going to Enterprise Community Partners and United Way. Norton also participated in a 2008 Fast Company story about Enterprise's green affordable housing.[64]

Norton is president of the American branch of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.[65] To raise money for the trust, Norton fielded a team of 30 runners in the New York City Marathon on November 1, 2009.[66] The team included Alanis Morissette and David Blaine.[67] Norton finished the event first among celebrities with a time of 3 hours, 48 minutes.[3] Norton and his team raised over $1 million for the Trust.[3][68] In May 2010, Norton launched a website called Crowdrise, which uses a social networking platform to help raise funds for charity.[69]

In May 2012, Norton played football for an 'England vs. The Rest of the World' match the charity event Soccer Aid along with other actors such as Will Ferrell and Woody Harrelson. The event eventually raised over £4,000,000 for UNICEF UK.[70]

Filmography[edit]

Films and awards
Year Title Role Notes
1996 Primal Fear Aaron Stampler Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chicago Film Critics Award – Most Promising Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Society of Texas Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
The People vs. Larry Flynt Alan Isaacman Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chicago Film Critics Award – Most Promising Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor
Everyone Says I Love You Holden Spence Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chicago Film Critics Award – Most Promising Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor
1998 Rounders Lester "Worm" Murphy Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
American History X Derek Vinyard Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actor
1999 Fight Club The Narrator Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Fight
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
2000 Keeping the Faith Father Brian Finn Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
The Simpsons Devon Bradley TV series: Episode: "The Great Money Caper"
2001 The Score Jack Teller
2002 Death to Smoochy Sheldon Mopes/Smoochy the Rhino
Frida Nelson Rockefeller
Red Dragon Will Graham
25th Hour Monty Brogan Sant Jordi for Best Foreign Actor
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
2003 The Italian Job Steve Frazelli
2005 Down in the Valley Harlan Fairfax Carruthers
Kingdom of Heaven King Baldwin IV Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
2006 The Illusionist Eisenheim
The Painted Veil Walter Fane Gotham Awards–Tribute Award
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Male
2008 The Incredible Hulk Bruce Banner Nominated—National Movie Award for Best Performance – Male
Nominated—Scream Award for Best Superhero
Pride and Glory Ray Tierney
2009 The Invention of Lying Traffic Cop Cameo
Modern Family Izzy LaFontaine TV series; Episode: "Great Expectations"
2010 Leaves of Grass Bill Kincaid / Brady Kincaid
Stone Gerald "Stone" Creeson
2012 Moonrise Kingdom Scout Master Randy Ward Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Acting
Nominated—Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Ensemble Cast (2nd place)
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Performance
Nominated—Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble (2nd place)
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
The Bourne Legacy Eric Byer
The Dictator Himself Uncredited cameo
2013 The Simpsons Church Associate Minister and Rev Elijah Hooper TV series; Episode: "Pulpit Friction"[71][72]
Saturday Night Live Host TV series; Episode: "Edward Norton/Janelle Monáe"
2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel Henckels
Birdman
2016 Sausage Party Filming
Director
Year Title
2000 Keeping the Faith
TBA Motherless Brooklyn
Producer
Year Title
2000 Keeping the Faith
2002 25th Hour
2006 Down in the Valley
Painted Veil, TheThe Painted Veil
2008 Pride and Glory
2009 By the People: The Election of Barack Obama
2010 Leaves of Grass
2012 Thanks for Sharing[73]

Music credits[edit]

Music credits
Year Title Song performed
1996 Everyone Says I Love You "Just You, Just Me"
"My Baby Just Cares for Me"
"I'm Through With Love"
2000 Keeping the Faith "Ready to Take a Chance Again"
2002 Death to Smoochy "My Stepdad's Not Mean (He's Just Adjusting)" (also songwriter)
"Smoochy's Methadone Song"
"Smoochy's Magic Jungle Theme"
"The Friends Song" (also lyrics)

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Gross, Doug (September 10, 2009). "Edward Norton plays marathon man to fund African conservation". CNN. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c Zembik, Josh (November 2, 2009). "Fast Facts on Sunday's Record-Breaking Field". New York Road Runners. Retrieved December 1, 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Edward Norton on Crowdrise". Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
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  11. ^ "Miss Lydia Rouse Wed". The Baltimore Sun. May 15, 1966. Retrieved July 10, 2010. 
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  13. ^ Alpert, Lukas (July 24, 2010). "Little-known politician Mark Levine has star-studded backin' with Ed Norton". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 18, 2013. 
  14. ^ Kolker, Robert (10/6/2010). "The Vulture Transcript: Stone’s Edward Norton on Acting, Whether in Fight Club or The Incredible Hulk". New York Magazine. Retrieved November 18, 2013. 
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  16. ^ "Vogue January 1997". Vogue. Edward-Norton.org. Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
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  20. ^ Tucker, Ken (April 12, 1996). "Stuck in Low Gere". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 28, 2009. 
  21. ^ Macor, Alison (April 1996). Primal Fear. The Austin Chronicle. 
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  30. ^ Sragow, Michael (October 19, 1999). "'Fight Club': It 'Just sort of clicked'". Salon.com (CNN). p. 2. Retrieved December 31, 2008. 
  31. ^ Garrett, Stephen (July 1999). "Freeze Frame". Details. 
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  33. ^ Schaefer, Stephen (October 1999). "Brad Pitt & Edward Norton". MrShowbiz.com. Archived from the original on April 17, 2001. Retrieved April 28, 2009. 
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  38. ^ Stark, Jeff (December 20, 2002). "25th Hour". Salon.com. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  39. ^ Lee, Chris (June 13, 2008). "A history of flexing his muscles". Los Angeles Times. 
  40. ^ a b Hubert, Andrea (June 14, 2008). "The incredible sulk". The Guardian (London). 
  41. ^ Moore, Jack. "Kingdom of Heaven: Director's Cut DVD Review". The Movie Insider. Retrieved July 5, 2008. [dead link]
  42. ^ Friedman, Josh (June 13, 2008). "New 'Incredible Hulk' may be bigger than old one". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  43. ^ "Edward Norton ditched from The Avengers film". The Daily Telegraph. July 12, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  44. ^ "Mark Ruffalo Confirmed As The Hulk in THE AVENGERS Movie". SoulCulture. July 25, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  45. ^ Box Office Mojo, retrieved December 15, 2011 
  46. ^ Thomas, Rob (June 29, 2005). "Media musings: The state of The State". The Capital Times. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
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  48. ^ Lee, Chris (June 13, 2008). "A history of flexing his muscles". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  49. ^ Smith, Jami (May 8, 2013). "Edward Norton's Spring Break Plan: Marry a Man!". Advocate.com. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  50. ^ Fleming, Jr., Mike. "Edward Norton Will Helm Passion Project ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ With RatPac Funding". Deadline. Deadline.com. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  51. ^ Fleming, Mike. "RatPac, Edward Norton’s Class 5 Options ‘American Hippopotamus’". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  52. ^ Chen, Joyce (April 18, 2013). "Edward Norton and Shauna Robertson Secretly Wed Before Son's Birth". Us Weekly. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  53. ^ Saad, Nardine (April 18, 2013). "Report: Edward Norton welcomes baby with fiancee Shauna Robertson". Los Angeles Times. 
  54. ^ Handelman, David (January 1997). "Wanted: Edward Norton". Vogue. Retrieved April 28, 2008. 
  55. ^ a b Kubatko, Roch (July 8, 2001). "New Stage for Norton". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  56. ^ Botello, Elizabeth M. (July 26, 2007). "TWIB devotes show to Ripken, Gwynn". MLB.com. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  57. ^ "Inside the Actors Studio — Edward Norton". Inside the Actors Studio. Season 9. Episode 906. January 12, 2003. Bravo.
  58. ^ Hakim, Danny (January 16, 2008). "As Spitzer's Popularity Fell, Donors Rallied to His Side". New York Times. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  59. ^ "Ed Norton, BP Solar and the High Line". Treehugger.com. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  60. ^ "Edward Norton". solarneighbors.com. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
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  62. ^ "Edward Norton". Enterprise community. Archived from the original on January 21, 2008. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  63. ^ Heger, Monica (January 1, 2006). "Hollywood stars heat up solar power". CNN. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  64. ^ "Magazine October 2010 Issue 149". Fast Company. Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  65. ^ "Edward Norton plays marathon man to fund African conservation". CNN. September 10, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  66. ^ "Edward Norton to Run ING New York City Marathon with Maasai Warriors". New York City Marathon. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  67. ^ "Meet the Runners". Maasai Marathon. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  68. ^ "Maasai Marathon — Sponsor". Maasai Marathon. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  69. ^ Banjo, Shelly (May 11, 2010). "Edward Norton's Toughest Role: Fund-Raiser - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  70. ^ "Soccer Aid 2014 – The Teams". UNICEF. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  71. ^ Fowler, Tara. "Edward Norton to guest star on 'Simpsons' as Reverend Lovejoy rival". Digital Spy. 
  72. ^ 'The Simpsons': Edward Norton to guest as 'the most lovable minister in the world' – EXCLUSIVE
  73. ^ Thanks for Sharing at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]