In 1946, Lancaster made his feature-film debut in the classic film noir The Killers, earning him instant critical and popular success. He soon became known for his versatility, playing a variety of roles in Westerns, comedies and melodrama. In 1954, he earned his first Oscar nod for From Here to Eternity and won the statuette for his role as a sleazy circus-tent evangelist in Elmer Gantry (1960).
Lancaster went on to receive two more Oscar nominations for Birdman of Alcatraz and Atlantic City. His other notable films include Sorry, Wrong Number; The Rainmaker; Sweet Smell of Success; and Field of Dreams. He died Oct. 20, 1994.