Edward Burns

Edward Burns Headshot

Actor

Birth Name: Edward Fitzgerald Burns

Birth Date: January 29, 1968

Age: 56 years old

Birth Place: Woodside, New York

Spouses: Christy Turlington

Like Steven Soderbergh, Quentin Tarantino and Allison Anders, actor-writer-director Edward Burns rose to prominence during the indie film boom of the mid-1990s on the strength of his debut film, "The Brothers McMullen" (1995). A thoughtful, good-natured comedy-drama about three Irish-Catholic siblings, it won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and established Burns as a director on the rise. Unfortunately, some of his subsequent efforts, which included "She's The One" (1996), "Sidewalks of New York" (2001) and "Nice Guy Johnny" (2010) felt like rehashes of "McMullen" in their wordiness and low-wattage conflicts. Burns also enjoyed an occasional side career as an actor, most notably in "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), but his tenacity and dedication to intimate dramas - for better or worse - were his calling cards for his decade-plus career.

Edward J. Burns Jr., born Jan. 28, 1968 in Woodside, Queens County, NY, was the son of police sergeant Edward J. Burns, Sr. and his wife Molly, a Federal Aviation Administration manager at Kennedy Airport in New York. Burns grew up with his older sister Mary and younger brother Brian in Valley Stream, Long Island; there, he enjoyed a typical Irish-Catholic upbringing, including time served as a alter boy. His parents, both dyed-in the-wool movie buffs, encouraged their children to pursue goals that would take them far beyond their neighborhood. Film eventually became his chosen medium, and after time at Oneonta College and State University of New York at Albany, he transferred to Hunter College, where he began making short films.

After graduation, Burns found work as a production assistant on a variety of television news programs, including "Entertainment Tonight" (syndicated, 1981- ), while writing and directing the 45-minute short "Brandy," which made its way into the 1992 Independent Feature Film Market. The following year, he began work on a feature about his Irish-American roots in suburban New York. Shot on 16mm film at the home of Burns' parents for less than $30,000 - some of which came from Burns' father, who was credited as an executive producer - and utilizing a crew of fellow "Entertainment Tonight" staffers, "The Brothers McMullen" was a surprisingly heartfelt, funny picture about a trio of siblings who learn to contend with their collective past as their lives take a variety of turns in regards to love, fidelity, maturity and family. Burns himself led the cast of unknowns as brother Barry, who struggled with committing to Audrey, played by Burns' real-life girlfriend, Maxine Bahns."

"McMullen" was a major hit at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, capturing its Grand Jury Prize and making Burns a rising star in the burgeoning world of independent features. Released theatrically by Fox Searchlight Pictures, it netted $10 million at the box office, which in turn yielded a green light for a second Burns film. The follow-up, 1996's "She's the One," featured several cast and crew members from "McMullen," including Bahns and co-star Mike McGlone, but the success of the first film allowed him a $3 million budget that afforded such name performers as Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz, as well as an original song score by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. A romantic comedy about a pair of Irish-Catholic brothers (Burns and McGlone) who wrestle with heartbreak, broken marriages and new loves, "She's the One" received mixed reviews, many of which cited its similarity to "McMullen," and it did not perform as well with moviegoers. The picture also signaled the end of Burns' personal relationship with Bahns; after news that the pair would marry, they split in March of 1997.

Undaunted, Burns forged ahead with this third film, "No Looking Back" (1998), a lower budget romantic drama with Lauren Holly as a restless small-town waitress who escapes the doldrums of her life via an old flame, played by Burns. A major disappointment in the wake of "McMullen" and "She's the One," it failed to lure Burns' fans to theaters, and was largely overshadowed by tabloid reports that Burns and Holly had become an item during production. Both dismissed the news items, but Burns would soon develop a reputation for dating his female leads in subsequent films.

While Burns' efforts as director occasionally struggled to find an appreciative audience, his turns as an actor caught the eye of Hollywood. His laconic, dry-witted delivery and model-grade good looks received a first-class introduction to mainstream audiences through Steven Spielberg's World War II epic, "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), which cast him as Private Robert Reiben, one of only three members of Army Captain Tom Hanks' team to survive a mission to save missing a GI called home by the government. However, subsequent efforts to mint him as a leading man, including the cop thriller "15 Minutes" (2001) with Robert De Niro, and "A Sound of Thunder" (2006), with Burns as a time-traveling scientist, were dismal failures, though he made for an appealing con man in the thriller "Confidence" (2003) with Dustin Hoffman. In later years, Burns seemed more comfortable in supporting roles, frequently as a boyfriend or fiancé whose disinterest spurs the female lead to seek romance elsewhere, as in "The Holiday" (2006) or "27 Dresses" (2008). Burns also enjoyed a brief stint as a boyfriend of Grace Adler (Debra Messing) in season three of "Will and Grace" (NBC, 1998-2006), and a season-long run as himself on "Entourage" (HBO, 2004-11) that centered on him penning a television series for the struggling Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon).

Burns returned to the director's chair in 2001 for "Sidewalks of New York," a gentle comedy-drama about a group of romantically damaged Big Apple residents - again led by Burns, but also featuring Rosario Dawson, Dennis Farina, Stanley Tucci and Brittany Murphy - who try to overcome their fear of commitment. Shot in 17 days for less than $1 million, it received modest praise and turned a profit, which brought Burns back into the indie fold. It also served as the terminal point for his relationship with co-star Heather Graham, whom he had been dating since his breakup with Lauren Holly in 1998. The pair officially split in 2000, prior to the film's release. That same year, he began dating model Christy Turlington, with whom he would endure a tumultuous relationship for several years. Initially engaged in 2001, they broke up shortly after the attacks on New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. They reunited and were married in 2003, the same year Turlington gave birth to their daughter, Grace. A son, Finn, followed in 2006.

Burns' directorial career saw diminishing returns in the years that followed "Sidewalks of New York." "Ash Wednesday" (2002), with Burns as a guilt-ridden Irish-Catholic and a woefully miscast Elijah Wood as his long-lost brother, opened in only two theaters and grossed less than $3,000. Its follow-up, "Looking for Kitty," reunited Burns with some of his veteran players, including David Krumholtz and Connie Britton, in a comedy-drama about a basketball coach (Krumholtz) who hires a mouthy PI (Burns) to find his missing wife. It received more positive reviews, but again, only garnered a limited release. Burns tried his hand at television with "The Fighting Fitzgeralds" (NBC, 2001) a comedy about an Irish firefighter (Brian Dennehy) whose retirement is routinely interrupted by his family, but the series - co-produced by Burns' brother Brian under their joint production company, Irish Twins - lasted less than a season.

Despite growing critical sentiment that Burns had squandered the goodwill generated by his debut, he was still able to raise the financing for film projects. In 2006, he saw the release of "The Groomsmen," with Burns again drawing from life as a groom-to-be that is about to marry his longtime girlfriend (Brittany Murphy), who, like Turlington, is five months pregnant at the time of the ceremony. Though his supporting cast, which included Jay Mohr, John Leguizamo, Donal Logue and Matthew Lillard, received solid reviews, the film performed poorly during its theatrical run. The romantic drama "Purple Violets" (2007), with Selma Blair and Patrick Wilson, did not even make it to theaters; instead, the film earned the distinction for being the first feature to debut on iTunes. Burns also kept himself busy with a graphic novel, Dock Walloper, in 2007 and a series of noir-styled Internet shorts called "The Lynch Pin," with Burns as a hired killer, in 2009. The following year saw him back on the festival trail with his latest film, "Nice Guy Eddie," with Burns now playing the libertine uncle to Matt Bush's title character, the sort of congenial good guy that Burns himself played a decade prior.

Credits

Bridge and TunnelStream

Actor
Artie
Series
2021
29%

Bridge and TunnelStream

Creator
Series
2021
29%

Bridge and TunnelStream

Director
Series
2021
29%

Bridge and TunnelStream

Executive Producer
Series
2021
29%

Bridge and TunnelStream

Writer
Series
2021
29%

Bridge and Tunnel: Extras

Director
Show
2021

Seaver

Director
Show
2019

Today With Hoda & Jenna

Guest
Show
2019

Holly Star

Executive Producer
Movie
2018

Summer Days, Summer NightsStream

Actor
Jack Flynn
Movie
2018

Summer Days, Summer NightsStream

Director
Movie
2018

Summer Days, Summer NightsStream

Producer
Movie
2018

Summer Days, Summer NightsStream

Screenwriter
Movie
2018

Film Hawk

Self
Movie
2016

Public MoralsStream

Actor
Terry Muldoon
Series
2015
82%

Public MoralsStream

Creator
Series
2015
82%

Public MoralsStream

Executive Producer
Series
2015
82%

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

Guest
Talk
2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

Guest
Talk
2014

Blue Gold: American Jeans

Narrator
Movie
2014

Mob CityStream

Actor
Ben "Bugsy" Siegel
Series
2013
66%

Katie

Guest
Talk
2012

CBS This Morning

Guest
Show
2012

Man on a Ledge

Actor
Det. Jack Dougherty
Movie
2012

Alex CrossStream

Actor
Thomas Kane
Movie
2012
11%

The Fitzgerald Family Christmas

Actor
Gerry
Movie
2012

The Fitzgerald Family Christmas

Director
Movie
2012

The Fitzgerald Family Christmas

Producer
Movie
2012

The Fitzgerald Family Christmas

Screenwriter
Movie
2012

Doggy Bags

Director
Movie
2012

The Mortified Sessions

Guest
Show
2011

Vietnam in HD

Voice
Show
2011

The Chew

Guest
Talk
2011

Friends With KidsStream

Actor
Kurt
Movie
2011
66%

Newlyweds

Actor
Buzzy
Movie
2011

Newlyweds

Director
Movie
2011

Newlyweds

Producer
Movie
2011

Newlyweds

Screenwriter
Movie
2011

ConanStream

Guest
Talk
2010

Access Hollywood Live

Guest
Show
2010

LouieStream

Guest Star
Ed
Series
2010
93%

Nice Guy Johnny

Actor
Uncle Terry
Movie
2010

Nice Guy Johnny

Director
Movie
2010

Nice Guy Johnny

Producer
Movie
2010

Nice Guy Johnny

Screenwriter
Movie
2010

ES.TV

Guest
Show
2009

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Guest
Talk
2009

Echelon Conspiracy

Actor
John Reed
Movie
2009

One Missed Call

Actor
Det. Jack Andrews
Movie
2008

27 DressesStream

Actor
George
Movie
2008
40%

The Knights of ProsperityStream

Guest Star
Series
2007
74%

Purple VioletsStream

Actor
Michael Murphy
Movie
2007

Purple VioletsStream

Director
Movie
2007

Purple VioletsStream

Producer
Movie
2007

Purple VioletsStream

Screenwriter
Movie
2007

The HolidayStream

Actor
Ethan
Movie
2006
50%

The GroomsmenStream

Actor
Paulie
Movie
2006
53%

The GroomsmenStream

Director
Movie
2006
53%

The GroomsmenStream

Producer
Movie
2006
53%

The GroomsmenStream

Writer
Movie
2006
53%

Made in Hollywood

Guest
Series
2005

The River King

Actor
Abel Grey
Movie
2005

A Sound of Thunder

Actor
Travis Ryer
Movie
2005

EntourageStream

Guest Star
Ed Burns
Series
2004
65%

Looking for Kitty

Actor
Jack Stanton
Movie
2004

Looking for Kitty

Director
Movie
2004

Looking for Kitty

Producer
Movie
2004

Looking for Kitty

Writer
Movie
2004

The Breakup Artist

Self
Movie
2004

Flight of the Phoenix

Screenwriter
Movie
2004

Confidence

Actor
Jake Vig
Movie
2003

Last Call With Carson Daly

Guest
Talk
2002

Life or Something Like It

Actor
Pete
Movie
2002

Ash Wednesday

Actor
Francis Sullivan
Movie
2002

Ash Wednesday

Director
Movie
2002

Ash Wednesday

Producer
Movie
2002

Ash Wednesday

Writer
Movie
2002

The Fighting Fitzgeralds

Executive Producer
Show
2001

Live With Regis and Kelly

Guest
Show
2001

15 Minutes

Actor
Jordy Warsaw
Movie
2001

Sidewalks of New York

Actor
Tommy
Movie
2001

Sidewalks of New York

Director
Movie
2001

Sidewalks of New York

Producer
Movie
2001

Sidewalks of New York

Writer
Movie
2001

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

Guest
Talk
1999

Will & GraceStream

Guest Star
Nick
Series
1998

No Looking Back

Actor
Charlie Ryan
Movie
1998

No Looking Back

Director
Movie
1998

No Looking Back

Producer
Movie
1998

No Looking Back

Writer
Movie
1998

Saving Private RyanStream

Actor
Private Richard Reiben
Movie
1998
94%

She's the OneStream

Actor
Mickey Fitzpatrick
Movie
1996
62%

She's the OneStream

Director
Movie
1996
62%

She's the OneStream

Producer
Movie
1996
62%

She's the OneStream

Writer
Movie
1996
62%

The Brothers McMullen

Actor
Barry/Finbar McMullen
Movie
1995

The Brothers McMullen

Director
Movie
1995

The Brothers McMullen

Producer
Movie
1995

The Brothers McMullen

Writer
Movie
1995

CBS News Sunday MorningStream

Guest
News
1979

Today

Guest
News
1952

News aboutEdward Burns