Ellen Burstyn Chronicles Life's Turbulent Journey In her memoir, Lessons in Becoming Myself, actress Ellen Burstyn recounts how sorrow has informed her long acting career. Burstyn won an Oscar for best actress in 1974 for her role in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.

Ellen Burstyn Chronicles Life's Turbulent Journey

Ellen Burstyn Chronicles Life's Turbulent Journey

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Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn's new memoir is called Lessons in Becoming Myself. Scroll down to read an excerpt. Howard Schatz hide caption

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Howard Schatz

In 1974, Ellen Burstyn won an Academy Award for her role in Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. In it, Burstyn portrays Alice Hyatt, who hits the road in search of her future after her husband's death.

When it comes to depicting sorrow and searching, Burstyn has a natural advantage: She has lived it.

Burstyn's memoir, Lessons in Becoming Myself, is about her journey, both professionally and spiritually. She examines her career, which spans five decades on stage, television and film, and her troubled family life: an undermining mother, an absent father, transitory stepfathers and broken marriages -- her last to a man who became psychotic.