Shirley MacLaine (born Shirley MacLean Beaty; April 24, 1934) is an American film, television, and theater actress, singer, dancer, activist, and author. An Oscar winner, MacLaine received the 40th AFI Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 2012, and received the Kennedy Center Honors for her lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts in 2013. She is known for her New Age beliefs, and has an interest in spirituality and reincarnation. She has written a series of autobiographical works that describe these beliefs, document her world travels, and describe her Hollywood career.
Publicity photo of MacLaine in 1960 for The Apartment
Shirley MacLean Beaty
April 24, 1934
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
|Residence||Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.|
|Occupation||Actress, singer, dancer, author, activist|
(m. 1954; div. 1982)
|Relatives||Warren Beatty (brother)|
Her first film was Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble With Harry in 1955. A six-time Academy Award nominee, MacLaine received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature for The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir (1975), and Best Actress nominations for Some Came Running (1958), The Apartment (1960), Irma la Douce (1963), and The Turning Point (1977), before winning Best Actress for Terms of Endearment (1983). She twice won the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress, for Ask Any Girl (1959), and The Apartment (1960); and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy-Variety or Music Special for the 1976 TV special, Gypsy In My Soul. She has also won five competitive Golden Globe Awards, (from nineteen nominations), and received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 1998 ceremony.
Named after actress Shirley Temple (who was six years old at the time), Shirley MacLean Beaty was born on April 24, 1934, in Richmond, Virginia. Her father, Ira Owens Beaty, was a professor of psychology, public school administrator, and real estate agent, and her mother, Kathlyn Corinne (née MacLean), was a drama teacher, originally from Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. MacLaine's younger brother is the actor, writer, and director Warren Beatty; he changed the spelling of his surname when he became an actor. Their parents raised them as Baptists. Her uncle (her mother's brother-in-law) was A. A. MacLeod, a Communist member of the Ontario legislature in the 1940s. While MacLaine was still a child, Ira Beaty moved his family from Richmond to Norfolk, and then to Arlington and Waverly, then back to Arlington eventually taking a position at Arlington's Thomas Jefferson Junior High School in 1945. MacLaine played baseball on an all-boys team, holding the record for most home runs, which earned her the nickname "Powerhouse". During the 1950s, the family resided in the Dominion Hills section of Arlington.
As a toddler, she had weak ankles and would fall over with the slightest misstep, so her mother decided to enroll her in ballet class at the Washington School of Ballet at the age of three. This was the beginning of her interest in performing. Strongly motivated by ballet, she never missed a class. In classical romantic pieces like Romeo and Juliet and The Sleeping Beauty, she always played the boys' roles due to being the tallest in the group and the absence of males in the class. Eventually, she had a substantial female role as the fairy godmother in Cinderella; while warming up backstage, she broke her ankle, but then tightened the ribbons on her toe shoes and proceeded to dance the role all the way through before calling for an ambulance. Ultimately she decided against making a career of professional ballet because she had grown too tall and was unable to acquire perfect technique. She explained that she didn't have the ideal body type, lacking the requisite "beautifully constructed feet" of high arches, high insteps and a flexible ankle. Also slowly realizing ballet's propensity to be too all-consuming, and ultimately limiting, she moved on to other forms of dancing, acting and musical theater.
She attended Washington-Lee High School, where she was on the cheerleading squad and acted in school theatrical productions.
The summer before her senior year of high school, MacLaine went to New York City to try acting on Broadway, having minor success in the chorus of Oklahoma! After she graduated, she returned and was in the dancing ensemble of the Broadway production of Me and Juliet (1953–1954). Afterwards she became an understudy to actress Carol Haney in The Pajama Game; in May 1954 Haney injured her ankle during a Wednesday matinee, and MacLaine replaced her. A few months later, with Haney still injured, film producer Hal B. Wallis saw MacLaine's performance, and signed her to work for Paramount Pictures.
MacLaine made her film debut in Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble with Harry (1955), for which she won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress. This was quickly followed by her role in the Martin and Lewis film Artists and Models (also 1955). Soon afterwards, she had a role in Around the World in 80 Days (1956). This was followed by Hot Spell and a leading role in Some Came Running (both 1958); for the latter film, she gained her first Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination. Her second Oscar nomination came two years later for The Apartment (1960), starring with Jack Lemmon. The film won five 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 and James Garner, based on the play by Lillian Hellman, and directed by William Wyler. She was again nominated, this time for Irma la Douce (1963), which reunited her with Wilder and Lemmon. Don Siegel, her director on Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970), said of her: "It's hard to feel any great warmth to her. She's too unfeminine, and has too much balls. She's very, very hard." At the peak of her success, she replaced Marilyn Monroe in Irma la Douce and What a Way to Go! (1964). Other films from this period include Gambit (1966), with Michael Caine, and the film version of the musical Sweet Charity (1968), based on the script for Fellini's Nights of Cabiria released a decade earlier.
MacClaine was cast as a photojournalist in a short-lived television sitcom, Shirley's World (1971–1972), co-produced by Sheldon Leonard and ITC and shot in the United Kingdom. Her documentary film The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir (1975), co-directed with Claudia Weill, concentrates on the experiences of women in China. It was nominated for the year's Documentary Feature Oscar. In 1976 MacLaine appeared in a series of concerts at the London Palladium and New York's Palace Theatre. The latter of these was released as the acclaimed live album Shirley MacLaine Live at the Palace. Co-starring with Anne Bancroft in The Turning Point (1977), MacLaine portrayed a retired ballerina much like herself; she was nominated for an Oscar as the Best Actress in a Leading Role. In 1978, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry. She appeared with Peter Sellers in the satire Being There (1979).
MacLaine starred in A Change of Seasons (1980) alongside Anthony Hopkins, and won the Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar for Terms of Endearment (1983), playing Debra Winger's mother. She won a Golden Globe for Best Actress (Drama) for Madame Sousatzka (1988).
MacLaine has continued to star in major films, such as Steel Magnolias (1989) with Sally Field, Julia Roberts, and other stars. She starred in Postcards from the Edge (1990), with Meryl Streep, playing a fictionalized version of Debbie Reynolds from a screenplay by Reynolds's daughter, Carrie Fisher; Used People (1992), with Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates; Guarding Tess (1994), with Nicolas Cage; Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), with Ricki Lake and Brendan Fraser; The Evening Star (1996)Rumor Has It… (2005) with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Aniston; In Her Shoes (also 2005), with Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette; and Closing the Ring (2007), directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Christopher Plummer.
In 2000, she made her feature-film directorial debut, and starred in Bruno, which was released to video as The Dress Code.
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 appeared in the third and fourth seasons of the British drama Downton Abbey as Martha Levinson, mother to Cora, Countess of Grantham (played by Elizabeth McGovern), and Harold Levinson (played by Paul Giamatti) in 2012–2013.
In 2016, MacLaine starred in Wild Oats with Jessica Lange. On February 2016, it was announced that MacLaine will star in the live-action family film A Little Mermaid, based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, to be produced by MVP Studios.
MacLaine sued Hal Wallis over a contractual dispute, a suit that has been credited with ending the old-style studio star system of actor management.
In 1966, MacLaine sued Twentieth Century-Fox for breach of contract when the studio reneged on its agreement to star MacLaine in a film version of the musical Bloomer Girl, to be filmed in Hollywood, offering her instead the female dramatic lead in a Western to be filmed in Australia. The case was decided in Maclaine's favor, and affirmed on appeal by the California Supreme Court in 1970; the case is often cited in law-school textbooks as a major example of employment-contract law.
MacLaine was married to businessman Steve Parker from 1954 until their divorce in 1982; they have a daughter, Sachi. In April 2011, while promoting her new book, I'm Over All That, she revealed to Oprah Winfrey that she had had an open relationship with her husband. MacLaine also told Winfrey that she often fell for the leading men she worked with, with the exceptions of Jack Lemmon (The Apartment, Irma la Douce) and Jack Nicholson (Terms of Endearment). MacLaine also had a long-running affair with Australian politician and two-time Liberal leader Andrew Peacock.
MacLaine has also gotten into feuds with such notable co-stars as Anthony Hopkins (A Change of Seasons), who said that "she was the most obnoxious actress I have ever worked with", and Debra Winger (Terms of Endearment).
She has a strong interest in spirituality and metaphysics, the central theme of some of her best-selling books, including Out on a Limb and Dancing in the Light. She has undertaken such forms of spiritual exploration as walking the Way of St. James, working with Chris Griscom, and practicing Transcendental Meditation.
Her well-known interest in New Age spirituality has also made its way into several of her films. In Albert Brooks's romantic comedy Defending Your Life (1991), 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 Postcards from the Edge (1990), MacLaine sings a version of "I'm Still Here", with customized lyrics created for her by composer Stephen Sondheim. One of the lyrics was changed to "I'm feeling transcendental – am I here?" In the 2001 television movie These Old Broads, MacLaine's character is a devotee of New Age spirituality.
She has an interest in UFOs, and gave numerous interviews on CNN, NBC and Fox news channels on the subject during 2007–08. In her book Sage-ing While Age-ing (2007), she described alien encounters and witnessing a Washington, D.C. UFO incident in the 1950s. On an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show in April 2011, MacLaine stated that she and her neighbor observed numerous UFO incidents at her New Mexico ranch for extended periods of time.
Along with her brother, Warren Beatty, MacLaine used her celebrity status in instrumental roles as a fundraiser and organizer for George McGovern's campaign for president in 1972. That year, she wrote the book McGovern: The Man and His Beliefs.
In 2015, she sparked criticism for her comments on Jews, Christians, and Stephen Hawking. In particular she claimed that victims of the Holocaust were experiencing the results of their own karma, and suggested that Hawking subconsciously caused himself to develop ALS as a means to focus better on physics.
Awards and honors
MacLaine was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts in December 2013. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1617 Vine Street and in 1999 was awarded the Honorary Golden Bear at the 49th Berlin International Film Festival, and her likeness has been sculpted in wax for Madame Tussauds Las Vegas.
In 2011, the government of France made her a Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur.
In 2019 she won the Movies For Grown Ups with AARP the Magazine's Life Time Achievement Award.
- Shower of Stars (1955) (2 episodes)
Gypsy in my soul(1976) tv special with Lucille Ball
- Shirley's World (1971–1972) and a 1977 one-hour special
- Where Do We Go From Here? (1978); winner of the Rose D'Or
Shirley Maclaine at the Lido (1979)
- MacLaine, Shirley (1970). Don't Fall Off the Mountain. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Limited. ISBN 978-0-393-07338-6.
- MacLaine, Shirley (1972). McGovern: The Man and His Beliefs. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Limited. ISBN 978-0-393-05341-8.
- MacLaine, Shirley (1975). You Can Get There from Here. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Limited. ISBN 978-0-393-07489-5.
- MacLaine, Shirley (1983). Out on a Limb. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-553-05035-6.
- MacLaine, Shirley (1986). Dancing in the Light. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0-553-76196-2.
- MacLaine, Shirley (1987). It's All in the Playing. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0-553-05217-6.
- MacLaine, Shirley (1990). Going Within: A Guide to Inner Transformation. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 978-055-328-3310.
- MacLaine, Shirley (1991). Dance While You Can. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0-553-07607-3.
- MacLaine, Shirley (1995). My Lucky Stars: A Hollywood Memoir. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0-553-09717-7.
- MacLaine, Shirley (2000). The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit. New York: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-7434-0072-5. (Published in Europe as: MacLaine, Shirley (2001). The Camino: A Pilgrimage of Courage. London: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-0921-3.)
- MacLaine, Shirley (2003). Out on a Leash: Exploring the Nature of Reality and Love. New York: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-7434-8506-7.
- MacLaine, Shirley (2007). Sage-ing While Age-ing. New York: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-4165-5041-9.
- MacLaine, Shirley (2011). I'm Over All That: And Other Confessions. New York: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-4516-0729-1.
- MacLaine, Shirley (2013). What If...: A lifetime of questions, speculations, reasonable guesses, and a few things I know for sure. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-47113-139-4.
- MacLaine, Shirley (2016). Above the Line: My 'Wild Oats' Adventure. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1501136412.
- Walsh, John (September 1, 2012). "Shirley MacLaine: Tough at the top". The Independent. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- Gary Boyd Roberts (Revised April 18, 2008) #83 Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources: A Third Set of Ten Hollywood Figures (or Groups Thereof), with a Coda on Two Directors. New England Historic Genealogical Society
- Kohn, David; Mike Wallace (May 16, 2000). "Shirley MacLaine's Recent Lives". 60 Minutes. CBS News. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
- "The religion of Warren Beatty, actor, director". Adherents.com. August 30, 2005. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
- Suzanne Finstad. "Warren Beatty: A Private Man". Books.google.ca. p. 396. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
- Peter Biskind (May 13, 2010). "Star: The Life and Wild Times of Warren Beatty". Books.google.ca. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
- Laura Trieschmann; Paul Weishar & Anna Stillner (May 2011). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Dominion Hills Historic District" (PDF).
- Denis, Christopher (1980). The films of Shirley MacLaine. Citadel Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-8065-0693-7. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
- MacLaine, Shirley (November 1, 1996). My Lucky Stars: A Hollywood Memoir. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-553-57233-9. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
- "Shirley MacLaine Biography". Biography.com. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
- Shirley MacLaine at the Internet Broadway Database
- Finstad, Suzanne, Warren Beatty: A Private Man (2005, NY, Random House) page 106. The exact nature of Haney's injury - a sprain, a torn ligament, a break, a fracture - varies from source to source.
- Patrick McGilligan, Clint: The Life and Legend (1999), p. 182
- "Shirley MacLaine - Live at the Palace at Discogs". discogs.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
- "Shirley MacLaine Live at the Palace Gets CD Release April 23". Playbill. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
- Archived June 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- O'Connell, Michael (January 30, 2012). "'Downton Abbey' Adds Shirley MacLaine for Season 3". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- Itzkoff, Dave (March 3, 2013). "Shirley MacLaine to Return to 'Downton Abbey', but Others Are Leaving the Series". The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
- McNary, Dave (February 23, 2016). "Shirley MacLaine Starring in 'A Little Mermaid' Movie". Variety. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
- Hanrihan v. Parker, 19 Misc. 2d 467, 469 (N.Y. Misc. 1959).
- "Parker v. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., 474 P. 2d 689 - Cal: Supreme Court 1970". Google Scholar. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
- "Parker v. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. (Cal.)". Prentice-Hall, Inc. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
- "Parker v. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation (California 1970)". CaseBriefSummary.com. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
- "Shirley MacLaine interviewed on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'". BestSyndication.com. April 11, 2011.
- "Shirley MacLaine admits she slept with three people in one day". The Daily Telegraph. April 13, 2011. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
- "Shirley MacLaine reveals all on her affair with former Foreign Minister Andrew Peacock". The Daily Telegraph. April 17, 2011. Retrieved April 17, 2011.
- Bletchly, Rachael (September 19, 2012). "Facelifts, fame, and UFOs: Downton Abbey's Shirley MacLaine on her wacky beliefs". Daily Mirror. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- Hoffman, Barbara (November 1, 2014). "At 80, Shirley MacLaine still talking — and not looking — back". New York Post. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- Hawkes, Rebecca (February 13, 2015). "10 on-screen couples who hated each other in real life". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- Graham, Mark (September 6, 2008). "After All These Years, Debra Winger Still Can't Stand Shirley MacLaine's Guts". Gawker. Archived from the original on June 7, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
- Brew, Simon (September 27, 2013). "14 Co-stars Who Really Didn't Get Along". Dennis Publishing. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
- "Debra Winger: The return of a class act". The Independent. October 24, 2008. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
- Quin, Eleanor. "TERMS OF ENDEARMENT". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
- Farha, Bryan (2007). A Critical Analysis; Paranormal Claims. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-7618-3772-5.
- Chryssides, George D. (2001). The A to Z of New Religious Movements. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-8108-5588-5.
- Haederle, Michael (February 6, 1992). "School Founder Listened to That Little Voice". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
- "Maharishi Mahesh Yogi". Los Angeles Times. February 6, 2008. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
- "NBC, Today show: Shirley MacLaine: Older and much wiser". today.msnbc.msn.com. November 7, 2007. Archived from the original on October 5, 2012.
- "Hollywood Legend Shirley MacLaine". oprah.com. April 11, 2011.
- "Shirley MacLaine: I Believe In UFOs More Than Ever, Support Kucinich". The Huffington Post. December 19, 2007. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
- MacLaine, Shirley, McGovern: The Man and His Beliefs, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1972.
- McGovern, George S., Grassroots: The Autobiography of George McGovern, New York: Random House, 1977, pp. 126, 172.
- White, Theodore H., The Making of the President 1972, Atheneum Publishers, 1973, pp. 236, 258, 425.
- Lucky Me. Penguin Group
- Gostin, Nicki (February 12, 2013). "Shirley MacLaine's Daughter Says 'My Mom Thought My Dad Was Clone Astronaut'". Fox News.
- Creighton, Sam (February 13, 2015) [12 February 2015]. "Outrage as Shirley MacLaine Asks Were Holocaust Victims Paying for Sins in Past Lives?". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
- Deutschmann, Jennifer (February 17, 2015). "Shirley MacLaine Suggests the Holocaust Was a Form of Karma". Inquisitr. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
- Little, Ryan (December 30, 2013). "10 Best Moments From the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
- "Berlinale: 1999 Programme". Berlinale. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
- O'brien, Dennis (February 17, 2006). "Face Value". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
- "Berlinale 1959: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
- "Berlinale 1971: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
- Shirley Maclaine Emmy Nominated. Emmys.com (April 5, 2011). Retrieved on 2016-02-10.
- Erens, Patricia (1978). The Films of Shirley MacLaine. South Brunswick: A. S. Barnes. ISBN 0-498-01993-4.
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