Norman Burton

Norman Burton (December 5, 1923 November 29, 2003), occasionally credited as Normann Burton, was an American stage film and television actor.

Norman Burton
Born(1923-12-05)December 5, 1923
DiedNovember 29, 2003(2003-11-29) (aged 79)
OccupationFilm, television actor
Years active19571993

Early life

Born in New York City, Burton was a student of The Actor's Studio. After early work on stage, he broke into films with a minor role in Fright (1956).


His career in film and television was long and relatively successful, but he never achieved major recognition. He played the Hunt Leader, a gorilla, in the science fiction film Planet of the Apes, notable as being the first ape to be seen by both Taylor and the audience, and also appeared as a (human) army officer in the second sequel Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971). In film, he is perhaps best known for his unconventional (and frequently disparaged) performance as Felix Leiter in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever (1971). He played Will Giddings, an ill fated engineer, in the action film The Towering Inferno (1974), and his later films included The Gumball Rally (1976), Crimes of Passion (1984) and Deep Space (1988). He played Dennis Christopher's mean and ill fated boss in the slasher Fade To Black (1980).

On television, he is best known for his performance as Inter-Agency Defense Command's supervisor Joe Atkinson during the second season of the DC Comics-based fantasy adventure drama series The New Adventures of Wonder Woman starring Lynda Carter. He also played Burt Dennis in the situation comedy The Ted Knight Show in the spring of 1978, and appeared as General George Marshall in the 1988 television miniseries War and Remembrance. Throughout his life, Burton was a devotee of the method school of acting, and taught method acting in Lakeside, California.


Burton was just six days short of his 80th birthday when he died as a result of an auto accident while returning from Ajijic, Mexico near the California-Arizona state line.[1]

Selected filmography


Preceded by
Rik Van Nutter
Felix Leiter actor
Succeeded by
David Hedison
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