His Own Man: Burt Lancaster (1913-1994)

He is remembered by the laugh. His muscular head would snap back, and out would come three bold, staccato barks: "Ha. Ha. Ha." That laugh helped define Burt Lancaster's personality and gave amiable employment to a generation of mimics. But the cool thing about the Lancaster laugh was that it could mean anything; it might express amusement or a jolly contempt. His smile, a CinemaScope revelation of perfect teeth, had the same enigmatic edge to it. Was it benediction or absolution? Was it seductive or -- perhaps -- a predatory baring of fangs?

This mystique made Lancaster, who died last week...

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