Born in Boston, Massachusetts and raised in Columbia, Maryland, Norton was drawn to theatrical productions at local venues as a child. After graduating from Yale College in 1991, he worked for a few months in Japan before moving to New York City to pursue an acting career. He gained immediate recognition and critical acclaim for his debut in Primal Fear (1996), which earned him a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and an Academy Award nomination in the same category. His role as a reformed neo-Nazi in American History X (1998) earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He also starred in the film Fight Club (1999), which garnered a cult following.
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