Edward Norton is of English, as well as smaller amounts of German, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, and Swiss-German ancestry.
Edward Norton was born on August 18, 1969, in Boston, Massachusetts, the United States. His mother, Lydia Robinson "Robin" (Rouse), was a foundation executive and teacher of English, and a daughter of famed real estate developer James Rouse, who developed Columbia; she passed away of brain cancer on March 6, 1997. His father, Edward Mower Norton, Jr., was an environmental lawyer and conservationist, who works for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Edward is the eldest of three children and has two younger siblings, James and Molly.
He grew up in the progressive, multicultural community of Columbia, Maryland, which was founded by his grandfather. Norton was an extremely bright and serious young boy, deciding at the age of 5 to pursue acting, after watching a babysitter perform in the play If I Were a Princess. Shortly after, he commanded the stage in Annie Get Your Gun at Orenstein's Columbia School for Theatrical Arts and is rumored to have asked questions like, "What is my objective in this scene?" at the tender age of 8.