Edward Harrison Norton (born August 18, 1969) is an American actor and filmmaker. Raised in Columbia, Maryland, Norton aspired to be an actor in his childhood years thanks to his fascination with theatrical productions he saw at local venues. After graduating from Yale University in 1991, Norton worked for a few months in Japan before relocating to New York City to pursue an acting career. He gained immediate recognition for his debut in Primal Fear (1996), which earned him a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and an Academy Award nomination in the same category. His role as a reformed neo-Nazi in 1998's American History X earned him a second Academy nomination for Best Actor. He also starred in the film Fight Club (1999), which has garnered a cult following.
Norton has emerged as a filmmaker since the 2000s decade. He established the production company Class 5 Films in 2003, and was director or producer for the films Keeping the Faith (2000), Down in the Valley (2005) and The Painted Veil (2006). He has continued to receive critical acclaim for his roles in various ventures, namely The Score (2001), 25th Hour (2002), The Illusionist (2006), Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). His greatest commercial successes have been Red Dragon (2002), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), The Incredible Hulk (2008) and The Bourne Legacy (2012). For his role in the 2014 black comedy Birdman, Norton earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor category, his third nomination overall.
Norton has been regarded as one of his generation's most talented actors by critics, with versatile roles and no definite onscreen archetype. However, he has gained a notoriety for being hard to work with, with incidents including editing the final cuts and rewriting screenplays against other producers' will. He is discreet about his personal life and expresses disinterest in overt stardom. Alongside his work in cinema, Norton is an environmental activist and social entrepreneur. He is a trustee of non-profit organization for affordable housing Enterprise Community Partners, president of the American branch of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, and the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity. Norton is currently married to Canadian film producer Shauna Robertson, with whom he has one child.