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Edward Norton was born on August 18, 1969 to parents Edward, an attorney who works for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Robin Norton, a former foundation executive and teacher who passed away of brain cancer on March 6, 1997. Edward also has two younger siblings named James and Molly. From the age of 5 onward, the Yale graduate (majoring in history) has always been interested in acting. At the age of 8, he would ask his drama teacher what his motivation in a scene was. He attended theater schools throughout his life, and eventually managed to find work on stage in New York as a member of the Signature players, who produced the works of playwright and director Edward Albee. Around the time when he was appearing in Albee's Fragments, in Hollywood, they were looking for a young actor to star opposite Richard Gere in a new courtroom thriller, Primal Fear (1996). The role was offered to Leonardo DiCaprio but he turned it down. Gere was on the verge of walking away from the project, fed up with the wait for a young star to be found, when Edward auditioned and won the role over 2000 other hopefuls. Before the film was even released, his test screenings for the part were causing a Hollywood sensation, and he was soon offered roles in Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You (1996) and The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996). Edward won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Primal Fear (1996). In 1998, Norton gained 30 pounds of muscle and transformed his look into that of a monstrous skinhead for his role as a violent white supremacist in American History X (1998). This performance would earn him his second Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actor. In 1999 came the critically acclaimed Fight Club (1999) and in 2000 came his directorial debut in Keeping the Faith (2000).