Kate Burton
2015 Shondaland TGIT Party - Kate Burton 01
Biographical Information
Date of Birth: September 10, 1957
Birth Place: Geneva, Switzerland
Full Name: Katherine Burton
Appearance Information
Portrays: Sally Langston
First appearance: "Crash and Burn"
Final appearance: "Over A Cliff"
Appearance Count: 42

Kate Burton is a Swiss-born Welsh actress who portrayed Sally Langston on ABC's Scandal.


Kate Burton is a Swiss-born Welsh-American actress, daughter of actor Richard Burton and Sybil Burton. On television, Burton received critical acclaim for performances in Shonda Rhimes's drama series as Ellis Grey on Grey's Anatomy, and as Vice President Sally Langston on Scandal. She has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards and three Tony Awards.

Personal Background

Kate was born in Switzerland but raised in Manhattan after her famous parents, Richard Burton & Sybil Williams divorced. Her step-father is actor Jordan Christopher.

She attended Brown University in Rhode Island intending to have a diplomatic career majoring in European History & Russian Studies; but in her senior year she was swayed by her acting heritage to start a career in acting. She went on to earn her MFA at the Yale University School of Drama. She was given an honorary doctorate from Brown University.

She met her husband, Artistic Director, Michael Ritchie while she was making her Broadway debut in "Present Laughter" in 1982; he was the stage manager. They married in 1984; and have two children, Morgan Ritchie and Charlotte Ritchie.

She has an autistic sister, Jessica, and a half-sister, Amy Christopher, from mother's marriage to actor Jordan Christopher.


Burton's first screen appearance was in the 1969 film Anne of the Thousand Days, starring her father, with whom she later appeared as Alice opposite his White Knight in the 1983 Great Performances broadcast of Alice in Wonderland, and in the 1984 CBS miniseries Ellis Island. Other films include Big Trouble in Little China, The First Wives Club, Life with Mikey, and The Ice Storm. Burton has said of these roles that she usually plays "the sweet wife, or the sweet dead wife."

Burton has been perhaps most prolific in her work on television. She made many television appearances in the late 1980s and 1990s on such episodic shows as Spenser: For Hire, All My Children, and Brooklyn Bridge. About playing the mother, in her late thirties, of David Schwimmer's character in the short-lived 1994 FOX sitcom, Monty, she said, "you don't really start playing moms in Hollywood until you're in your 40s, and usually the kids are almost your age! When I played Schwimmer's mother, I was 37 and he was, I think, 28. . . that happens a lot in TV and film; you really do end up being close in age to your child, which is nonsensical." In 1996, Burton won a Daytime Emmy award for her performance as a mother dying of breast cancer in the ABC Afterschool Special, 'Notes For My Daughter'. More recently, she made guest appearances as recurring characters on Law & Order, The Practice, The West Wing, Judging Amy and Medium. She also appeared on the HBO miniseries Empire Falls.

Her recent recurring television roles have involved subplots concerning Alzheimer's disease. On FX network's Rescue Me, she played the role of Rose, a friend and possible romantic interest to Chief Jerry Reilly. Reilly, whose wife is in a facility suffering from Alzheimer's, hires Rose, a caregiver for her husband who was also a victim, to provide assistance and emotional support. In perhaps her most visible and well-known role to date as the mother of Dr. Meredith Grey (the titular character on the well-known ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy), Burton played Dr. Ellis Grey, the former trailblazing surgeon, who dies of Alzheimer's. In 2008, the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association singled her out for her compelling performances in both shows. In 2006 and 2007, Burton received Emmy nominations for her Grey's Anatomy role.

In 2011, Burton appeared as Marie Kessler, a veteran monster hunter, and the aunt of Nick Burkhardt in the opening episodes of the NBC supernatural drama Grimm. Since 2012, she plays the recurring role of Vice President Sally Langston in the ABC hit show Scandal, for which she again received an Emmy nomination. In 2015 it was reported that Burton was cast in a leading role in the U.S. remake of the French-language film Martyrs, which opened theatrically in January 2016. In March 2017, she reprised her role as Aunt Marie Kessler in the series finale of Grimm.


→ See and enjoy 29 pictures of Kate Burton at Images of Kate Burton.

External Links

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