Kate Burton (actress)
Burton in 2014
September 10, 1957
|Years active||1969; 1982–present|
|Spouse(s)||Michael Ritchie (m. 1985)|
|Children||Morgan (b. 1988)
Charlotte (b. 1998)
Katherine "Kate" Burton (born September 10, 1957) is a Swiss-born Welsh-American actress and the daughter of actor Richard Burton and Sybil Burton. On television, Burton received critical acclaim for performances in Shonda Rhimes drama series as Ellis Grey on Grey's Anatomy, and as Vice President Sally Langston on Scandal. She has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards and three Tony Awards.
Burton was born in Geneva, Switzerland, the daughter of producer Sybil Burton (née Williams; 1929–2013) and actor Richard Burton (1925–1984). She was thus the stepdaughter of actress Elizabeth Taylor and of Sybil's second husband Jordan Christopher. In 1979, Burton earned a bachelor's degree in Russian studies and European history from Brown University. She was also on the board of Production Workshop, one of the university's student theatre groups. She furthered her devotion to theatre by studying at Yale University School of Drama, from which she graduated in 1983. In 2007, Burton was given an honorary doctorate from Brown University.
Burton's first notable role on Broadway in a 1982 production of the Noël Coward play Present Laughter, which was directed by George C. Scott. The following year, she appeared in the Broadway production of Doonesbury, playing J.J. Several key roles followed, including roles in Wendy Wasserstein's An American Daughter and Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane.
In 2002, she portrayed two roles and was nominated for a Tony Award for both. She was nominated as Best Actress in a Play for her portrayal of the title role in Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, and for Best Featured Actress in a Play for the role of Pinhead/Mrs. Kendal in the revival of The Elephant Man. This dual nomination made her one of only five actors, along with Amanda Plummer, Dana Ivey, Jan Maxwell and Mark Rylance to be Tony-nominated for two acting awards in the same year.
In 2006 Burton was in the Off-Broadway play opposite Tony Goldwyn in The Water's Edge. The same year she was nominated for Best Leading Actress again in 2006 in W. Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife. In 2007, she played Ranevskaya in The Cherry Orchard at Boston's Huntington Theatre. Burton was also part of the cast of the Broadway musical Spring Awakening. She started on December 21, 2007 and replaced actress Christine Estabrook in the role of the Adult Women. Kristine Nielsen took over for her on March 2 for a short stint until Estabrook assumed the role again. She played the role of actress Katharine Cornell in "The Grand Manner" during the summer of 2010 at Lincoln Center in New York.
Film and television
Early films of Burton's include Alice in Wonderland, Anne of the Thousand Days, Big Trouble in Little China, The First Wives Club, Life with Mikey and The Ice Storm. Burton has said of these roles that she usually plays "the sweet wife, or the sweet dead wife". Burton has also appeared in a number of roles in independent films.
Burton has been perhaps most prolific in her work on television. She made many appearances in the late 1980s and 1990s on episodic television, including appearances on Spenser: For Hire, All My Children, and Brooklyn Bridge. In 1996, Burton won a Daytime Emmy award for her performance as a mother dying of breast cancer in the ABC Afterschool Special, 'Notes For My Daughter'. More recently, she made guest appearances as recurring characters on Law & Order, The Practice, The West Wing, Judging Amy and Medium. She also appeared on the HBO miniseries Empire Falls.
Her recent recurring television roles both involved a subplot concerning Alzheimer's disease. On the FX cable network's Rescue Me, she played the role of Rose, a friend and possible romantic interest to Chief Jerry Reilly. Reilly's wife is in a facility with the disease and Rose, having cared for her husband who was also an Alzheimer's victim, is hired by Jerry to provide assistance and emotional support. Also, in perhaps her most visible and well-known role to date as the mother of Dr. Meredith Grey (the titular character on the well-known ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy), Burton played Dr. Ellis Grey, the former trailblazing surgeon, who dies of Alzheimer's. In 2006 and 2007, Burton was nominated for an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Ellis Grey. In 2011, Burton appeared as a veteran monster hunter in the opening episodes of the NBC supernatural drama Grimm. As of 2012, she portrays the extreme right-wing Vice President Sally Langston, a secondary antagonist, in the ABC hit show Scandal created by Shonda Rhimes.
Burton has narrated numerous audiobooks, including works by: Patricia Cornwell, Lisa Scottoline, Iris Johansen, and Dean Koontz. Kate Burton appeared in 1984 with her father Richard Burton in the television mini-series Ellis Island.
In June 1985, Burton married Michael Ritchie, Artistic Director of the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles and one of the producers of the Broadway musicals The Drowsy Chaperone and Curtains. They had met in 1982, while Ritchie was stage managing a revival of Noël Coward's Present Laughter at the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York City in which Burton was playing the character Daphne. They have two children, a son Morgan Ivor (born May 14, 1988) and a daughter Charlotte Frances (born January 19, 1998).
|1969||Anne of the Thousand Days||Serving Maid||Uncredited|
|1984||Ellis Island||Vanessa Ogden||Television film|
|1986||Big Trouble in Little China||Margo Litzenberger|
|1987||Uncle Tom's Cabin||Ophelia||Television film|
|1993||Life with Mikey||Mrs. Burns|
|1993||Love Matters||Deborah||Television film|
|1996||First Wives Club, TheThe First Wives Club||Woman in Bed|
|1996||Mistrial||Katherine Donohue||Television film|
|1997||Ice Storm, TheThe Ice Storm||Dorothy Franklin|
|1997||Ellen Foster||Abigail Montford||Television film|
|2000||Opportunists, TheThe Opportunists||Rest Home Sister|
|2002||Obsessed||Sara Miller||Television film|
|2003||Diary of Ellen Rimbauer, TheThe Diary of Ellen Rimbauer||Connie Posey||Television film|
|2003||Paper Mache Chase, TheThe Paper Mache Chase||Martha||Short film|
|2005||Empire Falls||Cindy Whiting||Television film|
|2007||Lovely by Surprise||Helen|
|2008||What Just Happened||Dr. Randall|
|2008||Quid Pro Quo||Merilee|
|2008||Max Payne||Nicole Horne|
|2009||Kings of Appletown, TheThe Kings of Appletown||Aunt Birdy|
|2010||127 Hours||Aron's Mom|
|2012||2 Days in New York||Bella|
|2013||Adam Shaw||Dr. Wilson|
|2014||Shiva and May||Martha|
|1983||Great Performances||Alice||Episode: "Alice in Wonderland"|
|1985||Evergreen||Agatha Bradford||Episode: "1.2"|
|1987–1988||Spenser: For Hire||Randy Lofficier||2 episodes|
|1988||American Playhouse||Agnes Bolton O'Neill||Episode: "Journey Into Genius"|
|1992||Law & Order||Sister Bettina||Episode: "Sisters of Mercy"|
|1992||Home Fires||Anne Kramer||6 episodes|
|1993||Brooklyn Bridge||Susan Lowenberg Jones||Episode: "Keeping Up with the Joneses"|
|1994||Monty||Fran Richardson||13 episodes|
|1994||All My Children||Dr. Renee Peters||Unknown episodes|
|1995||ABC Afterschool Special||Brenda Gardner||Episode: "Notes for My Daughter"
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Special
|1997–2004||Practice, TheThe Practice||A.D.A. Susan Alexander||9 episodes|
|2001–2009||Law & Order||Erica Gardner||4 episodes|
|2001||100 Centre Street||Sheila Byrne||Episode: "My Brother's Keeper"|
|2001||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Stephanie Uffland||Episode: "The Pardoner's Tale"|
|2004||West Wing, TheThe West Wing||Sarah Brainerd||Episode: "Slow News Day"|
|2005||Judging Amy||Dr. Sheri Jordan||Episode: "Silent Era"|
|2005||American Masters||Voice of Novels||Episode: "Ernest Hemingway: Rivers to the Sea"|
|2005||Numb3rs||Anthropologist||Episode: "Bones of Contention"|
|2005–2006||Rescue Me||Rose||6 episodes|
|2005–2012||Grey's Anatomy||Ellis Grey||16 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (2006–07)
|2006||Justice||Sarah Miller||Episode: "Death Spiral"|
|2007||Supreme Courtships||Justice Suzanne Mary Lynch||Unsold TV pilot|
|2008||Medium||Bonnie Barrister||Episode: "To Have and to Hold"|
|2009||Eleventh Hour||Gepetto / Miranda Cochran||Episode: "Pinocchio"|
|2009–2012||Good Wife, TheThe Good Wife||Victoria Adler||3 episodes|
|2010||Deep End, TheThe Deep End||Grace Graham||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2011||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Annette Cole||Episode: "Bully"|
|2011||Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior||Deirdre Norris||Episode: "Smother"|
|2011||Closer, TheThe Closer||Kate Wycoff||Episode: "Forgive Us Our Trespasses"|
|2011||Grimm||Marie Kessler||2 episodes|
|2012||Veep||Barbara Hallowes||2 episodes|
|2012||Made in Jersey||Lorraine Beckett||Episode: "Cacti"|
|2012–present||Scandal||Vice President Sally Langston||23 episodes
Pending—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (2014)
|2013||Revolution||Dr. Jane Warren||Episode: "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia"|
|2014||Rake||Holly Phillips||Episode: "Hey, Good Looking"|
- by Team TVLine (2013-12-12). "Kate Burton in ‘Scandal’: ‘A Door Marked Exit’ — Performer of the Week". TVLine. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
- The Broadway League. "Kate Burton | IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". IBDB. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
- "Kate Burton Film Reference biography". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "‘Scandal’: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ veteran Kate Burton joins Shonda Rhimes’ new show - Zap2it". Blog.zap2it.com. 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
- "Audioeditions". Audioeditions. 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Hetrick, Adam (2007-07-03). "Kate Burton Makes Williamstown's The Corn Is Green a Family Event". Playbill (Philip S Birsh). Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "Kate Burton Biography". Yahoo Movies. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
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