Edward Harrison Norton (born August 18, 1969) is an American film actor, screenwriter and director. In 1996, his supporting role in the courtroom drama Primal Fear garnered him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Two years later, his lead role as a reformed white power skinhead in American History X earned a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actor. His other films include period dramas such as Kingdom of Heaven (2005), The Illusionist (2006), and The Painted Veil (2006); and other notable films such as Rounders (1998), Fight Club (1999), 25th Hour (2002), Red Dragon (2002), and The Incredible Hulk (2008).
Edward Norton was born and raised in Columbia, Maryland, near Baltimore. His mother, Lydia Robinson "Robin" (née Rouse), a teacher of English, died of a brain tumor in 1997; his father, Edward Mower Norton, Jr., is an environmental lawyer and conservation advocate working in Asia, as well as a former federal prosecutor under the Carter administration. His maternal grandfather was the developer James Rouse (founder of The Rouse Company), who developed the city of Columbia, Maryland (where Norton grew up), helped develop Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Norfolk's Waterside Festival Marketplace, and Boston's Quincy Market, as well as co-founded Enterprise Community Partners with Norton's maternal stepgrandmother, Patty Rouse. Norton has two younger siblings—Molly and Jim, with whom he has professionally collaborated. From 1981 to 1985, along with his brother, he attended Camp Pasquaney, on the shores of Newfound Lake in Hebron, New Hampshire. There, he won the acting cup in 1984 and later returned to the camp's council for two years, directing theater. He maintains close connections with the camp.
Norton was raised Episcopalian. He graduated from Columbia's Wilde Lake High School in 1987. He attended Yale University, where he acted in university productions alongside Ron Livingston and Paul Giamatti, graduating in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Following graduation, Norton worked in Osaka, Japan, consulting for his grandfather's company, Enterprise Community Partners. Norton can speak some Japanese. He appeared in an ESL textbook, Only in America, used by Nova, a formerly major English language school.
He dated singer Courtney Love from 1996 to 1999, and actress Salma Hayek from 1999 to 2003. He ended his relationships with both women. Norton is 6 feet (1.83 m) tall, according to his interview on The Daily Show. He lives in New York City.
In May 2010, Norton launched a website called Crowdrise, which uses a social networking platform to help raise funds for charity.
Norton is rumored to have the Black Flag logo tattooed on his shoulder. He has played numerous tattooed characters in his film roles.