Lancaster held leadership positions and was an ardent supporter and fund-raiser.
During the last decades of his life, Lancaster was so completely committed to his charitable and advocacy work with the ACLU, that the organization became his religion.
Then he entered puberty, his voice changed, and his dreams of singing career came to an end.
Concert pianist was also out; he took piano lessons, but he never developed an aptitude for the instrument. What saved [young Burt] Lancaster from the city's mean streets [East Harlem, New York City]--aside from his family--was the Union Settlement House.
"I saw the way she treated black people who lived in the neighborhood," he said.
"She would invite them in for tea and coffee and talk to them, the way she related to the Jewish people there.
It sprogram included the first kindergarten in East Harlem, the first public bathhouses, and the first playground for small children. For them, the Settlement House was a treasture trove of fun and exciting things to learn--arts and crafts, foreign languages, dramatics, sports, woodworking.By the second half of the nineteenth century, the Lancasters and the Roberts family, his [Burt Lancaster's] mother's Belfast people--working-class Northern Irish Protestants--were poor and trapepd by the island's limitations.His paternal grandfather James emigrated to New York in the mid-1860s, more than a decade after the Great Famine...This was our Bible of our upbringing." In 1916, when Burt was three...Burt made his acting debut in the Christmas pageant at the Church of the Son of Man.