Edward Norton has acted in the films Primal Fear, Everyone Says I Love You, The People vs Larry Flynt, American History X, Rounders, Fight Club, Keeping the Faith, The Score, Death to Smoochy, Frida, Red Dragon, The 25th Hour, The Italian Job, Down in the Valley, The Kingdom of Heaven, The Illusionist, The Painted Veil, The Incredible Hulk, Pride & Glory, Leaves of Grass and Stone.
He has been nominated for two Academy Awards, for Primal Fear and American History X, and won a Golden Globe along with numerous other awards for his performances.
He produced and directed Keeping the Faith and also produced Down in the Valley (Cannes Film Festival selection), The Painted Veil, Leaves of Grass and the documentary By The People: The Election of Barack Obama.
Norton also founded and runs Class 5 Films in partnership with writer Stuart Blumberg and producer Bill Migliore. Class 5’s first two features, Down in the Valley and The Painted Veil, were released in 2006. Class 5 more recently produced Leaves of Grass (written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson, starring Norton, Susan Sarandon, Keri Russell, Tim Blake Nelson and Richard Dreyfus) and is developing adaptations of Dan O’Brien’s Buffalo for the Broken Heart and Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn for which Norton is writing the screenplay.
Class 5’s documentary productions include: The Great Rivers Expedition, a film made by Jim Norton for the Outdoor Life Network about an historic whitewater adventure that took place in China in 2003; and Dirty Work, a film by David Sampliner that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on the Sundance Channel. Class 5 also collaborated with the Sea Studios Foundation on their highly acclaimed, multi-million dollar series about earth system sciences for National Geographic, Strange Days on Planet Earth, which Norton hosted and narrated, and which premiered on PBS in April 2008.
Class 5 recently completed By The People: the Election of Barack Obama, a feature length documentary film about the Presidential campaign of Barack Obama, produced by Norton, Migliore and Blumberg and directed by Amy Rice and Alicia Sams. The film was released by HBO in November 2009.
Class 5 is currently working in partnership with Brad Pitt’s Plan B and National Geographic to produce an epic seven part series for HBO based on Stephen Ambrose’s acclaimed book Undaunted Courage about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Norton and Brad Pitt will executive produce the series.
Norton is also a committed social and environmental activist.
President’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities
Norton was recently appointed by President Obama to his committee for the Arts and Humanities. The committee advises the President on strategies to promote the arts and humanities in America, not only for their intrinsic cultural value but as key components in the administration’s education and economic development agendas.
Enterprise Community Partners
He serves on the Board of Trustees of Enterprise, which works to move families up and out of poverty and transform low-income communities through the development of decent affordable housing and social service networks. Enterprise works in over 250 American cities and is one of the largest non-profit developers of affordable housing in America with well over 200,000 new affordable homes created in the last two decades. Edward Co-Chaired Enterprise’s successful $125 million capital campaign which he led with a personal contribution of $1.1 million. Enterprise was created by Norton’s grandfather, James Rouse, the celebrated developer and philanthropist.
In recent years, Enterprise has made special efforts to confront the challenge of greening affordable housing. Enterprise’s Green Communities Initiative, a $500 million commitment to promoting sustainable and efficient development practice, puts the foundation in a leadership role nationwide on this issue. Norton founded the Solar Neighbors program as a pilot project within Green Communities and he recently testified on behalf of Enterprise before the Congressional Select Committee on Climate Change in their hearing to explore the central role of development and construction on greenhouse gas emissions.
Solar Neighbors Program
Norton conceived and negotiated a groundbreaking arrangement with BP Solar to provide solar power technology to low-income homeowners in Los Angeles and New York. Through the Solar Neighbors program, each time a celebrity or public figure buys a home solar system, BP donates a full system to a low-income family, eliminating most or all of their electricity costs for as long as they own their home. Over 25 actors, musicians, politicians and broadcasters have purchased systems for their homes and BP has donated nearly 75 systems to low-income families. The selection of the families and administration of the fund are handled by the Enterprise Foundation’s Los Angeles office.
Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust
Norton is the President of the Board of MWCT, a community conservation organization that partners with traditional communities in East Africa to conserve key ecosystems by developing sustainable, natural resource-based economic revenues. Norton recently ran the NY Marathon with 3 young Maasai warriors from Kenya and raised $1.2 million dollars for MWCT’s programs.
Middle East Peacemakers Fund
Another of Norton’s projects is the Peacemakers Fund at Yale University. As a response to the events of September 11th and the increasing conflict in the Middle East, Norton contributed $100,000 to establish a fund that will provide travel study grants that give college undergraduates opportunities to study in the Middle East. In the interests of increasing our understanding of the people and cultures of that region, the fund provides a minimum of five grants a year while raising an endowment to expand the program. Fundraising for the fund’s endowment is ongoing.
Signature Theater Company
Norton has been on the Board of New York’s Signature Theater Company since 1994 when he made his Off-Broadway debut there. Signature is the only theater in the country that devotes an entire season each year to the work of one living American playwright. Edward Albee, Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Horton Foote, John Guare, Lanford Wilson are just a few of the playwrights who have spent a season in residence with Signature. In its fifteen years, Signature has been repeatedly recognized as one of the most important and outstanding new theaters in America, winning every award available to an Off-Broadway theater.
In 2006, Signature’s productions virtually swept the Lucille Lortel Awards for outstanding achievement in Off-Broadway theater.
Friends of the High Line
Norton is also one of the founding Board members of Friends of the High Line, an advocacy group working to convert an abandoned freight rail line into a unique and spectacular park. Running over two miles through Manhattan’s industrial West Side, the High Line will be one of the largest additions of public space in the history of New York City. Norton has hosted FoHL’s gala fundraisers for the last three years and has been a major financial supporter of the effort. In less than five years, FoHL has prevented the destruction of this major piece of historic infrastructure and secured the city, state, federal and private support necessary to redevelop the line as a park. Groundbreaking on the project took place in April 2006 and the first section of the new park will be opened in the summer of 2009.
In addition to these efforts, Norton is a major financial supporter of: the Nature Conservancy’s Yunnan Great Rivers conservation project, the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, the Grand Canyon Trust, and EarthJustice.
The benefit premieres of his films at the historic Senator Theater in Baltimore have raised over $750,000 for a variety of Baltimore organizations and causes including the Johns Hopkins Neuro-oncology Research Lab.