Shirley Maclaine – Actress

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Shirley MacLaine

Shirley MacLaine (born April 24, 1934) is an American film and theater actress, dancer, activist, and author, well-known for her beliefs in new age spirituality and reincarnation. She has written a large number of autobiographical works, many dealing with her spiritual beliefs as well as her Hollywood career. In 1983, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Terms of Endearment. She is the elder sister of actor Warren Beatty.

Early Life

Named after Shirley Temple, MacLaine was born Shirley MacLean Beaty in Richmond, Virginia. Her father, Ira Owens Beaty,[1] was a professor of psychology, public school administrator, and real estate agent, and her mother, Kathlyn Corinne (née MacLean), was a drama teacher born in Nova Scotia, Canada; MacLaine’s grandparents were also teachers. The family was devoutly Baptist.[2][3] While she was still a child, MacLaine’s father moved the family from Richmond to Norfolk, and then to Arlington, Virginia and Waverly, eventually taking a position at Arlington’s Thomas Jefferson Junior High School.

Shirley had very weak ankles as a child, so her mother decided to enroll her in ballet class. Strongly motivated by ballet throughout her youth, she never missed a class. In classical romantic pieces like “Romeo & Juliet” and “Sleeping Beauty,” being the tallest in the class, she always played the boys’ role due to the total absence of males in the class. Eventually, MacLaine decided that professional ballet wasn’t for her. In her own words, she grew too tall (she would be over 6-feet tall en Pointe) and did not have the “beautifully constructed feet” (high arches, high insteps). After leaving ballet, MacLaine pursued Broadway dancing. Eventually, she turned to acting.

She attended Washington-Lee High School, where she was on the cheerleading squad and acted in the school’s productions. The summer before her senior year, she was in New York to try acting on Broadway with some success. After she graduated, she returned and within a year she became an understudy to actress Carol Haney in The Pajama Game; Haney broke her ankle, and MacLaine replaced her. A few months after, with Haney still out of commission, film producer Hal B. Wallis was in the audience, took note of MacLaine, and signed her to work for Paramount Pictures. She later sued Wallis over a contractual dispute, a suit that is credited with ending the old-style studio star system of actor management.[4]


Career

MacLaine made her debut in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Trouble with Harry (1955), for which she won the Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year – Actress. In 1956, she had roles in Hot Spell and Around the World in Eighty Days. At the same time, she starred in Some Came Running, the film that gave her her first Academy Award nomination – one of five that the film received – and a Golden Globe nomination.

Her second nomination came two years later for The Apartment, starring with Jack Lemmon. The film won 5 Oscars, including Best Director for Billy Wilder. She later said, “I thought I would win for The Apartment, but then Elizabeth Taylor had a tracheotomy”. She starred in The Children’s Hour (1961) also starring Audrey Hepburn, based on the play by Lillian Hellman. She was again nominated, this time for Irma la Douce (1963), for which she reunited with Wilder and Lemmon. Don Siegel, her director on Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970), in which she starred opposite Clint Eastwood, once said, “It’s hard to feel any great warmth to her. She’s too unfeminine and has too much balls. She’s very, very hard.”[5]

In 1975, she received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature for her documentary film The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir. Two years later, she was once again nominated for The Turning Point co-starring Anne Bancroft, in which she portrayed a retired ballerina much like herself. In 1983 she won her first Oscar for Terms of Endearment. The film won another four Oscars; one for Jack Nicholson and three for director James L. Brooks. In 1988, MacLaine won a Golden Globe for Best Actress (Drama) for Madame Sousatzka.

She continued to star in major films, such as Steel Magnolias with Julia Roberts. She made her feature-film directorial debut in Bruno, MacLaine starred as Helen in this film, which was released to video as The Dress Code. In 2007 she completed Closing the Ring, directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Christopher Plummer. Other notable films in which MacLaine has starred include Sweet Charity (1968), Being There (1979) with Peter Sellers, Postcards From the Edge (1990) with actress Meryl Streep, playing a fictionalized version of Debbie Reynolds with a screenplay by Reynolds’s daughter, Carrie Fisher, Used People with Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates, Guarding Tess (1994) with Nicolas Cage, Rumor Has It… (2005) with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Aniston and In Her Shoes with Cameron Diaz.

MacLaine is also set to star in Poor Things, a drama.

MacLaine has also appeared in numerous television projects including an autobiographical miniseries based upon the book Out on a Limb, The Salem Witch Trials, These Old Broads written by Carrie Fisher and co-starring Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds, and Joan Collins, and Coco, a Lifetime production based on the life of Coco Chanel. She also had a short-lived sit-com called Shirley’s World.

MacLaine has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1165 Vine Street.


Personal Life

MacLaine was married to businessman Steve Parker until they divorced in 1982. They had a daughter, Sachi Parker (born 1956). Shirley shares a birthday (April 24) with her good friend, Barbra Streisand, and they traditionally spend it together each year.

MacLaine has a strong and enduring interest in spirituality. Many of her best-selling books, such as Out on a Limb and Dancing in the Light, have it as their central theme. Her interests have led her to such forms of spiritual exploration as walking El Camino de Santiago, working with Chris Griscom,[citation needed] and practicing Transcendental Meditation.[6]

Her well-known interest in New Age spirituality has made its way into several of her films. In Albert Brooks’s 1991 romantic comedy Defending Your Life, the recently deceased lead characters, played by Brooks and Meryl Streep, are astonished to find MacLaine introducing their past lives in the “Past Lives Pavilion.” In the 2001 made-for-television movie These Old Broads, starring MacLaine, Debbie Reynolds, Joan Collins, and Elizabeth Taylor, and written by Reynolds’s daughter, Carrie Fisher, MacLaine’s character is a devotee of New Age spirituality.

MacLaine found her way into many law casebooks when she sued Twentieth Century-Fox for breach of contract. She was to play a role in a film titled Bloomer Girl, but the production was canceled. Twentieth Century-Fox offered her a role in another film, Big Country, Big Man, in hopes of getting out of its contractual obligation to pay her for the canceled film. MacLaine’s refusal led to an appeal by Twentieth Century-Fox to the Supreme Court of California in 1970, where the Court ruled against Fox, calling the studio’s alternate role offer “different or inferior” employment. Parker v. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., 474 P.2d 689 (Cal. 1970).

She also is godmother to the daughter of U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat and former mayor of Cleveland, Ohio.[7]


Stage Work

Productions Date of Productions
Shirley MacLaine on Broadway
[Special, Original]

  • Starring: Shirley MacLaine [Performer]
Apr 19, 1984 – May 27, 1984
Shirley MacLaine
[Special, Solo, Revue, Original]

  • Starring: Shirley MacLaine
Jul 09, 1976 – Jul 24, 1976
Shirley MacLaine
[Special, Solo, Revue, Original]

  • Starring: Shirley MacLaine
Apr 19, 1976 – May 01, 1976
The Pajama Game
[Musical, Comedy, Original]

  • Performer: Shirley MacLaine [Dancer]
  • Understudy: Shirley MacLaine [Gladys]
May 13, 1954 – Nov 24, 1956
Me and Juliet
[Musical, Comedy, Original]

  • Performer: Shirley MacLaine [Dancing Ensemble]
May 28, 1953 – Apr 03, 1954

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1955 The Trouble with Harry Jennifer Rogers Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
Artists and Models Bessie Sparrowbrush
1956 Around the World in 80 Days Princess Aouda
1958 Some Came Running Ginnie Moorehead Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
The Sheepman Dell Payton
Hot Spell Virginia Duval
The Matchmaker Irene Molloy
Ask Any Girl Meg Wheeler BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
9th Berlin International Film Festival: Silver BeaFilmographyr for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1959 Career Sharon Kensington
1960 Ocean’s Eleven Tipsy girl uncredited cameo
Can-Can Simone Pistache
The Apartment Fran Kubelik BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Volpi Cup
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
1961 The Children’s Hour Martha Dobie Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
All in a Night’s Work Katie Robbins
Two Loves Anna Vorontosov
1962 Two for the Seesaw Gittel Mosca
My Geisha Lucy Dell/Yoko Mori
1963 Irma la Douce Irma la Douce Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
1964 The Yellow Rolls-Royce Mae Jenkins
What a Way to Go! Louisa May Foster Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
1965 John Goldfarb, Please Come Home Jenny Erichson
1966 Gambit Nicole Chang Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1967 Woman Times Seven Paulette/Maria Teresa/Linda/Edith/Eve Minou/Marie/Jeanne Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1968 The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom Harriet Blossom
1969 Sweet Charity Charity Hope Valentine Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1970 Two Mules for Sister Sara Sara
1971 Desperate Characters Sophie Bentwood Silver Bear for Best Actress at Berlin
1972 The Possession of Joel Delaney Norah Benson
1975 The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir Herself Documentary
Writer, direct, producer
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary
1977 The Turning Point Deedee Rodgers Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
1979 Being There Eve Rand Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1980 A Change of Seasons Karyn Evans
Loving Couples Evelyn
1983 Terms of Endearment Aurora Greenway Academy Award for Best Actress
David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
1984 Cannonball Run II Veronica
1987 Out on a Limb Herself Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
1988 Madame Sousatzka Madame Yuvline Sousatzka Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Volpi Cup
1989 Steel Magnolias Ouiser Boudreaux Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1990 Postcards from the Edge Doris Mann Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Waiting for the Light Aunt Zena
1991 Defending Your Life “Past Lives Pavilion” host
1992 Used People Pearl Berman Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1993 Wrestling Ernest Hemingway Helen Cooney
1994 Guarding Tess Tess Carlisle Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1995 The West Side Waltz Margaret Mary Elderdice
1996 The Evening Star Aurora Greenway
Mrs. Winterbourne Grace Winterbourne Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1997 A Smile Like Yours Martha uncredited
1999 Joan of Arc Madame de Beaurevoir
2000 Bruno Helen Directed by Shirley MacLaine
2001 These Old Broads Kate Westbourne
2002 Salem Witch Trials Rebecca Nurse
Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay Mary Kay Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
2003 Carolina Grandma Millicent Mirabeau
2005 Rumor Has It… Katharine Richelieu
Bewitched Iris Smythson/Endora
In Her Shoes Ella Hirsch Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
2007 Closing the Ring Ethel Ann
2008 Coco Chanel Coco Chanel Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning Amelia Thomas
2010 Valentine’s Day Estelle Paddington

 


Video Clips

 

 

TV Work

Shirley’s World (1971–1972) and a 1977 one hour special.
Where Do We Go From Here? (1978) Winner of the Rose D’Or
Out on a Limb (1987)

References

1. New England Historic Genealogical Society
2. “The religion of Warren Beatty, actor, director”. Adherents.com. 2005-08-30. Retrieved 2010-03-06.
3. Public Affairs (2005-05-21). “Actor Warren Beatty gives public-policy graduates — and Gov. Schwarzenegger — some advice on power”. Berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2010-03-06.
4. Hanrihan v. Parker, 19 Misc. 2d 467, 469 (N.Y. Misc. 1959)
5. McGilligan (1999), p.182
6. “LA Times, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi”. Latimes.com. 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2010-03-06.
7. “Shirley MacLaine: I Believe In UFOs More Than Ever, Support Kucinich”. Huffingtonpost.com. 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2010-03-06.
8. “Berlinale 1959: Prize Winners”. berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
9. “Berlinale 1971: Prize Winners”. berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-03-13.

 


Bibliography

MacLaine, Shirley (1970). Don’t Fall Off the Mountain. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Limited. ISBN 9780393073386.

MacLaine, Shirley (1972). McGovern: The Man and His Beliefs. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Limited. ISBN 9780393053418.

MacLaine, Shirley (1975). You Can Get There from Here. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Limited. ISBN 9780393074895.

MacLaine, Shirley (1983). Out on a Limb. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group. ISBN 9780553050356.

MacLaine, Shirley (1986). Dancing in the Light. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 9780553761962.

MacLaine, Shirley (1987). It’s All in the Playing. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 9780553052176.

MacLaine, Shirley (1989). Going Within: A Guide to Inner Transformation. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 9780553678.

MacLaine, Shirley (1991). Dance While You Can. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 9780553076073.

MacLaine, Shirley (1995). My Lucky Stars: A Hollywood Memoir. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 9780553097177.

MacLaine, Shirley (2000). The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit. New York: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group. ISBN 9780743400725. (Published in Europe as:

MacLaine, Shirley (2001). The Camino: A Pilgrimage of Courage. London: Pocket Books. ISBN 0743409213. )

MacLaine, Shirley (2003). Out on a Leash: Exploring the Nature of Reality and Love. New York: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group. ISBN 9780743485067.

MacLaine, Shirley (2007). Sage-ing While Age-ing. New York: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group. ISBN 9781416550419.

McGilligan, Patrick (1999). Clint: The Life and Legend. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-00-638354-8..

External Links

MacLaine’s Official Website

Shirley MacLaine at the Internet Movie Database

Shirley MacLaine at the Internet Broadway Database

Shirley MacLaine at Yahoo! Movies

Shirley MacLaine interviewed by Ginny Dougary (2005)