Scandal actress Kate Burton to join Dramatic Arts faculty

From President to professor · Actress Kate Burton plays Vice President Sally Langston on ABC’s hit drama show Scandal. Photo from USC News

Kate Burton, a three-time Emmy and Tony Award nominee, will join the faculty of the USC School of Dramatic Arts as a professor starting this fall.

Burton earned a bachelor’s degree in Russian studies and European history from Brown University in 1979 and a master’s degree from Yale School of Drama in 1982. She is known for her work on both the stage and the screen.

Burton made her Broadway debut in 1982 in a production of Noël Coward’s Present Laughter. In 2002, she received Tony Award nominations in two separate categories: Best Actress in a Play, for her role in Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, and Best Featured Actress in a Play for her portrayals of Pinhead and Mrs. Kendal in Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man. She is one of five actors to be nominated for Tony awards in two different categories in the same year. In 2006, she received another Tony nomination for Best Leading Actress in a Play for her role in W. Somerset Maugham’s The Constant Wife.

In the late 1980s and 1990s, Burton made several television appearances on shows such as Spenser: For Hire, All My Children and Brooklyn Bridge. More recently, she has made guest appearances on Law & Order, The Practice, The West Wing, Medium, Rescue Me and Grimm.

In 1996, Burton was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for her appearance on ABC Afterschool Special. Burton is most well-known for her performance as Ellis Grey on the ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, for which she received two nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in both 2006 and 2007. In 2014, Burton was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Vice President Sally Langston on the ABC show Scandal.

Burton has directed the plays Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard and The Seagull for the Master’s of Fine Arts Acting Repertory at USC. She also taught at Fordham University and Brown University in the bachelor’s of fine arts and MFA programs, respectively. She has also directed two evenings of Shakespeare and Tchaikovsky. She is currently starring in the Broadway revival of Present Laughter with Kevin Kline.

Under the leadership of School of Dramatic Arts Dean David Bridel, the school seeks to expand its professional influence and outreach and adopt a contemporary approach to performance training. As a faculty member at SDA, Burton will teach and direct undergraduate and graduate students.

“[The] breadth and depth of her professional experience will be of great benefit to our students as we prepare them to enter today’s professional landscape,” Bridel told USC News.

Burton is excited to start a new chapter in her career and to share her experiences and connections with the USC community.

“I am greatly honored to be joining the faculty at USC and working with the wonderful Dean Bridel as he moves the School of Dramatic Arts toward new horizons,” Burton told USC News. “I have had some magnificent experiences working with the USC faculty and students over the last years and feel blessed to be asked to join them in a more profound way.”