Shirley MacLaine (born Shirley MacLean Beaty; April 24, 1934) is an American film and theater actress, singer, dancer, activist and author. She has won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy twice, for her roles in The Apartment and Irma la Douce, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama twice for Terms of Endearment and Madame Sousatzka. She was honored with the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1998 .She was nominated for an Academy Award five times before winning theAcademy Award for Best Actress in 1983 for her role as Aurora Greenway in Terms of Endearment. She won the 1976 Emmy Award for Outstanding Special – Comedy-Variety or Music forGypsy in My Soul. Her younger brother is Warren Beatty. She is known for her New Age beliefs, 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 2012 she was honored with the 40th AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film, by the American Film Institute.
On set with Frank Sinatra The actress admits she was often attracted to her co-stars
Named after Shirley Temple, Shirley MacLean Beaty was born 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 grandparents were also teachers. Her parents raised their children 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 she was still a child, Ira Beaty moved his family from Richmond to Norfolk, and then to Arlington, Virginia and Waverly, eventually taking a position at Arlington’s Thomas Jefferson Junior High School.
She had very weak ankles as a child, so her mother decided to enroll her in ballet class. Strongly motivated by ballet, she never missed a class. In classical romantic pieces like “Romeo & Juliet” and “Sleeping Beauty”, she always played the boys’ roles, being the tallest in the group, due to the absence of males in the class. She got to play a substantial female role as the fairy godmother in “Cinderella.” While warming up backstage, she broke her ankle, but proceeded to dance the role all the way through. MacLaine ultimately decided that professional ballet wasn’t for her because she had grown too tall, was not good enough to make it a career, and didn’t have the requisite “beautifully constructed feet” (high arches, high insteps). She also found ballet too limiting. After leaving ballet, she pursued dancing and 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 forParamount Pictures. She later sued Wallis over a contractual dispute, a suit that has been credited with ending the old-style studio star system of actor management.
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. In 1956, she had roles inHot Spell and Around the World in 80 Days. At the same time she starred in Some Came Running, the film that gave 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 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 (Ben-Hur (1959 film)). 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.”
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 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. In 1980, she starred in A Change of Seasons alongsideAnthony Hopkins. The pair famously didn’t get along, with Hopkins saying of MacLaine: “[S]he was the most obnoxious actress I have ever worked with.” In 1983, she won an Oscar forTerms 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) forMadame Sousatzka.
The men in her life ‘Quite a relationship’ with Robert Mitchum ..
She continued to star in major films, such as Steel Magnolias with Julia Roberts and many other stars. 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, Mrs. Winterbourne(1996), with actress and talk show host, Ricki Lake and actor Brendan Fraser, Rumor Has It… (2005) with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Aniston and In Her Shoes with Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette.
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 had a short-lived sitcom called Shirley’s World. She will be appearing in the third series of the British drama Downton Abbey as Martha Levinson, mother to Cora, Countess of Grantham.
MacLaine has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1165 Vine Street and in 1999 was awarded the Honorary Golden Bear at the 49th Berlin International Film Festival.
MacLaine was married to businessman Steve Parker until their divorce in 1982. In April 2011, while promoting her new book, “I’m Over All That”, she told Oprah Winfrey that she had an open relationship with her husband. They had a daughter, Sachi.
MacLaine has a strong interest in spirituality and metaphysics. 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] and practicing Transcendental Meditation.
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 1990’s Postcards from the Edge (with a screenplay by Carrie Fisher), MacLaine, playing a character loosely based on Debbie Reynolds, sings a special version of “I’m Still Here”, with customized lyrics created especially for her by composer Stephen Sondheim. One of the lyrics was changed to “I’m feeling transcendental–am I here?” In the 2001 made-for-television movie These Old Broads – written by Reynolds’s daughter – starring MacLaine, Debbie Reynolds, Joan Collins,Elizabeth Taylor and Carrie Fisher, MacLaine’s character is a devotee of New Age spirituality.
She has such a serious interest in UFOs that she has given numerous interviews on CNN, NBC and Fox news channels on the subject through 2007-2008. In her 2007 released book “Sage-ing While Age-ing” she mentioned her alien encounters and witnessing of Washington DC UFO incidents in 1950s.
She found her way into the law books 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, to avoid its contractual obligation to pay her for the canceled film. MacLaine’s refusal led to a suit appealed 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 (see Parker v. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, 474 P.2d 689 (Cal. 1970)).
MacLaine is godmother to the daughter of U.S. Representative, Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat and former mayor of Cleveland, Ohio.
Like Warren Beatty, MacLaine also used her celebrity status in instrumental roles as a fundraiser and organizer for George McGovern’s campaign for president in 1972. That year, she authored the book McGovern: The Man and His Beliefs.
By SHIRLEY MACLAINE
Yes, I made love to three men in one day… but sex leaves me cold now
In an outrageous new memoir, the actress holds court on plastic surgery, the joys of growing older and why she prefers her pet dog to men.
Shirley MacLaine caused a storm this week when she admitted she once slept with three men in one day. Here, in an exclusive extract from her new memoir, the 76-year-old Hollywood legend shares her unique approach to love, life and sex . . .
I have had many love affairs, but I have not had many sexual affairs. I was not sophisticated enough for that. I had to have the emotional component.
Screen siren: Shirley MacLaine, in 1959, was always attracted to her male co-stars
I have found that since sex and I have got over each other in my advancing years, it is such a relief.
My relationships with my male friends are less fraught, and more equal and honest. When the sexual component slows down, we tell each other the truth.
My close female friends, for whom sex is also slowing down, are my friends for life. We talk about what we did for love and what it felt like when that sexual feeling slunk away.
Shirley in 1963’s Irma la Douce, in which she starred alongside Jack Lemmon
‘I slept with three men in one day’: Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine’s surprising past
When I look back over my life, I wonder what I was doing with all my hormones and attraction and longings, when I always felt such a strong need for freedom.
Most of the men I was with wanted to get married. I was already married [Shirley was in an open marriage with businessman Steve Parker for 30 years until their divorce in 1982, and he has since died] and stayed that way, so it wouldn’t become an issue.
My husband and I had a liberal arrangement when it came to each other’s lovers. We were friends. We stayed married so we wouldn’t be tempted to marry again.
Open relationship: Shirley with her late husband Steve Parker and their daughter Stephanie
I don’t understand the need for the institution of marriage, and I could never live a life where I felt tied down to a promise just because my love hormones were raging at the time I made it.
I live alone now with my darling rat terrier Terry, with my creativity, my friends, and the freedom I have always loved and continue to cherish.
SEX AND THE MOVIE-SET
I must confess, I’ve always been attracted to my male co-stars. I found male actors very intriguing.
Everyone on the outside wants to know about what happens on a movie set.
When filming a love scene, if an aggressive actor takes off all his clothes and jumps on top of the leading lady, who may or may not peel off hers in turn, the crew will go right on lighting and moving equipment, the director will wave his hand to keep filming and say ‘OK, this is good for the characters’, the publicist will roll his eyes, the front office will immediately hear about it and start to gossip, and if the two under-clad actors actually do like each other — who knows?
The above story really happened. It’s happened among many co-stars, sometimes including me, but that’s another story.
It’s a rare and mature relationship that survives after the romance of the fantasy world of the movies is gone. I know. It happened to me quite often. But as I look back on my romantic movie-world relationships, sex was basically a non-issue. To me and the man involved, it was more about exploring identity and communicating emotionally.
The bugaboo of sex can interfere with communication because it is so complicated, fraught with guilt and power plays, no matter how physically satisfying.
On set with Frank Sinatra: The actress admits she was often attracted to her co-stars
SEX AND POWER
A political campaign arouses intense sexual power. Once, during a campaign, I decided I would be daring like everyone else. I had sex with three men in one day. It was stupid, and brought me no satisfaction.
Before he was President, Jack Kennedy often drove me in his convertible when he visited Hollywood.
We’d go to Mulholland Drive, look out over the lights of the city, and talk. He never made a pass at me. In fact, I wondered what was wrong with me.
Open relationship Shirley with her late husband Steve Parker and their daughter Stephanie
THINGS I’M OVER
The latest fashions
Events I should attend in order to be seen
Red Carpet madness
Scheming for films or roles
What other people think
Driving at night
Going to funerals
Being in Bobby Kennedy’s company was another story. Once, during the Kennedy campaign, Bobby and his cohorts invited a bunch of us Hollywood types to spend a weekend in Palm Springs. Some time after midnight, we retired to our hotel rooms.
When I was half asleep, my door opened and a man climbed into bed with me. I didn’t know who it was.
I rolled over on to the floor. I had to know a little something about the person I was having sex with. The man climbed back out of bed and left.
I got back into bed. Fifteen minutes later, another man came in and climbed in bed with me. I had no idea who he was either. Again, I rolled out of bed on to the floor.
This went on all night until I finally slept on the floor. I have no idea who the men were, or whether it was the same man.
When I got up the next morning, everyone was gone. Maybe that was the way the Kennedy crowd did sex — anonymously.
I’ve developed an ‘extended’ tummy, so I like trousers with a forgiving waistline. I went to a plastic surgeon and asked him if liposuction would help.
He said it wouldn’t — at my age he couldn’t get to the fat underneath — and I’d have to go on a starvation diet to lose my tummy. So I decided to relax and enjoy the reality that my dancer’s figure is gone.
The important thing now is to be happy and healthy.
My dog Terry is the love of my life. I have never known friendship and companionship like it.
Perhaps I am bonded so closely to her because we are together every moment of the day and night.
We go for a long walk together every day, travel in cars and planes together (she has her own seat), and when I’m working she waits for me in my trailer.
We sleep cuddled up together every night, so it’s a good thing I don’t have a man in my life.
Terry is 11 years old and starting to get white whiskers. Already I’m rearranging where we will sleep in the house so she won’t have to negotiate the stairs.
I’ve often wondered how I would put up with her possessiveness if she were a man, but that’s the point. I’d rather have a good, funny, loyal dog than a man. It’s taken me a few years to come to that conclusion, and I’m happier for it.
My love for Terry brings me to tears because she has made me know, understand and love myself more.
She has also made it possible for me to know that I am capable of unconditional love. I never knew that before. That’s what dogs are for: unconditional love.
THE FAME DRUG
Fame is a drug of annihilation. Why do so many people want to be famous when they see how it can destroy your life?
The price of fame is the isolation of the soul. Fame is not real. It is a 15-minute illusion. Famous people often cannot see the reality because they are blinded by the glare of the attention.
People in show business desperately want to know how we can wrestle love from ‘civilians’. We understand we wouldn’t be famous if it weren’t for them. We want to be adored by them, but we want to hang on to our fame for one more day, or for a decade, or for a lifetime, because we never want to be like them — not famous.
Shirley’s little brother Warren Beatty, of whom she said ‘When we were kids, I really did protect him’
The spotlight can blind a person, sentencing you to a life of emotional isolation in its glare. So much of the life a famous person lives is pretence. We think we need to look or seem a certain way.
Perhaps the biggest negative is what often happens to the children of the famous. They grow up as elitists, feeling they are entitled to special treatment even though they have done nothing to earn it.
Fame is a false god. Talent and hard work are not.
Anti-ageing: The star isn’t ashamed to admit she’s had a face lift
I couldn’t tell you what the real colour of my hair is now — somewhere between white and faded mouse-grey.
When I’m travelling and away from a hair salon, it can be embarrassing.
An actress needs to know where to sit. If it’s daytime, you should sit facing the outside light. Natural light is flattering for the skin, as long as it’s not direct sunlight.
Never sit where there is an overhead light — it makes you look like Grandma Moses.
The actress Marlene Dietrich taught me how to light myself when we made the film 80 Days.
She also taught me a new use for small pearls — putting them in the centre of my bra cups so they looked like nipples.
Marlene also showed me how to string a small, nearly invisible chain under my chin which was then attached to hair-grips on either side of my face.
This was the Dietrich facelift. I had a headache by lunchtime, but it was worth it.
MOVIE STAR SECRETS
I introduced Mike Todd to Elizabeth Taylor. I loved to overhear the negotiations for diamonds and rubies between them, just for him to get her to go out to dinner.
Elizabeth was no fool, and Mike was no cheap-skate. I sometimes wondered what a roll in the hay would cost him.
Every man I ever introduced her to fell in love with her. She saw to that.
I remember one night, shortly after Mike had died in a tragic plane crash, Elizabeth had taken up with Eddie Fisher.
The entire country was upset with her for stealing Eddie from Debbie [Reynolds], and for doing it so soon after Mike’s death.
THINGS I’M NOT OVER
Having my hair coloured
Going to the movies
Eating a good dinner (I’m learning to dine out alone)
Visiting a sick friend
A lingering fear that being a reclusive, happy, older woman may not be entirely healthy
There was a party at her agent’s house. She asked me to sit with her at a small table, next to a candle-lit patio.
She was drinking champagne from a sparkling crystal glass. Very subtly, she positioned herself between me and the outside candles. She began to talk quietly about her love for Mike, and why Eddie meant so much to her because of his relationship with Mike.
Her violet eyes welled with tears as she held her glass close to her face. As the tears were about to fall, she moved her champagne glass under her eyes.
I’ll never forget it. Her tears splashed like diamonds into the champagne as she talked about missing Mike.
I’d never seen anything more beautiful or moving, and the entire party seemed to pause in wonder for a moment.
It all worked because her words were true, and because she used her extensive experience in front of the camera to accentuate her emotions.
She was a great lady and the personification of the saying that all life is show business.
When I was a teenager I was embarrassed by my red hair and freckles, and I had a tiny birthmark under my left arm which today I hardly notice.
I never cared how I looked or how I dressed until I was about 50. My roles in films weren’t dependent on beauty. But in my mid-50s I noticed I was getting a lot of offers of grandmother roles and I didn’t see myself that way.
So I had my face lifted. Never do that in the middle of a love affair because it’s disconcerting to your partner.
And forget about having sex during recovery time. That’s the best way to pop your stitches.
I loved how I looked afterwards. I became quite enamoured of my face, and preferred to have dinner wherever there were mirrors.
I’ve never done drugs. At a party once, the hostess served cocaine in a silver bowl. I thought it was a sugar substitute and put a spoonful of it in my coffee.
Somebody told me I’d just stirred hundreds of dollars into my drink. That was the last time I was invited to her house.
As the older sister of Warren Beatty, you’d expect Shirley MacLaine to have a bit of a wild streak.
But even the great Hollywood lothario might blush at her latest confessions.
The Oscar-winning actress, now 76, has revealed she once slept with three men in the same day.
She also told U.S. chat-show queen Oprah Winfrey that she had a 30-year ‘open marriage’ with her former husband, producer Steve Parker.
Miss MacLaine claimed the code of silence in Hollywood’s heyday meant most of her illicit trysts slipped under the radar.
‘I had many love affairs – and a lot of awful lovers. I wasn’t into “sexscapades” but I did try it once. I had three people in one day,’ she told a shocked Oprah.
‘It was on a political campaign, where everybody was doing the same thing,’ she added, laughing. ‘I just didn’t want to be left out.’
She divorced from her only husband in 1982, but she said they remained on good terms.
‘I had an open relationship with my husband. I had other affairs and so did he. But we were very good friends. I would never marry again.
‘I had quite a relationship with Robert Mitchum. And Yves Montand. I was attracted to some of the directors.’
Actor Robert Mitchum: One of America’s greatest silver screen acting legends
Yves Montand: Italian-born French singer and actor married to French actress Simone Signoret
Danny Kaye: American singer, comic and actor, famous for role in Hans Christian Andersen, White Christmas
Andrew Peacock: Former Foreign Minister to Australia
As well as Mitchum, one of America’s greatest tough-guy actors, and singer and actor Montand, the actress romanced Danny Kaye and former Australian foreign minister Andrew Peacock.
But Miss MacLaine was keeping tight-lipped about some of her other lovers.
‘Everyone knows that what happened on a set stays on a set. No one talked,’ she said.
Despite her sexual transgressions, the Terms of Endearment star went on to say that sleeping around was ‘not her style’ and she was a ‘serial monogamist’ – and had to be emotionally involved with men to have sex with them.
When quizzed about being attracted to her long list of leading men, Miss MacLaine said: ‘I wasn’t attracted to Jack Lemmon. He was a sweetheart.
‘He didn’t have that dangerous, complicated sexual thing that I liked helping the man I was attracted to figure out.
‘Jack Nicholson had too much of it. He is authentically dangerous.’
She also spoke about hanging out with her old Rat Pack co-stars including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.
‘The brilliance of old Hollywood, particularly with the live performers, is they always told the truth about everything.
‘There was authenticity about their lives, about what they were afraid of. I was 19, 20, 21. I didn’t know who they were.’
She joked: ‘They treated me like their mascot and picked up their mess.’
She added that the late Elizabeth Taylor was her ‘oldest friend in Hollywood’.
‘I met her when I was 21. She was wonderful and very loving,’ she added.
Miss MacLaine was appearing on Oprah to promote her new book, I’m Over That And Other Confessions.
The actress, famous for her views on New Age spirituality and reincarnation, is now happy living alone with her rat terrier, Terry.
‘I’d rather have a good, funny, loyal dog than a man,’ she wrote in her book.
With her beloved dog Terry
Closing the Ring(2007)
Rumor Has It (2005)
In Her Shoes(2005)
A Smile Like Yours (1997)
The Evening Star (1996)
Mrs. Winterbourne (1996)
The Celluloid Closet(1996)
Guarding Tess (1994)
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993)
Used People (1992)
Waiting for the Light (1990)
Postcards from the Edge (1990)
Steel Magnolias (1989)
Madame Sousatzka (1988)
Cannonball Run II (1984)
Terms of Endearment(1983)
Loving Couples (1980)
A Change of Seasons (1980)
Being There (1979)
The Turning Point (1977)
The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972)
Desperate Characters (1971)
Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
Sweet Charity (1969)
The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom (1968)
Woman Times Seven (1967)
The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1965)
John Goldfarb, Please Come Home (1964)
What a Way to Go! (1964)
Irma la Douce (1963)
Two for the Seesaw (1962)
My Geisha (1962)
The Children’s Hour (1962)
All in a Night’s Work (1961)
Two Loves (1961)
Ask Any Girl (1959)
Some Came Running(1958)
Hot Spell (1958)
The Sheepman (1958)
Around the World in 80 Days(1956)
Artists and Models(1955)
The Trouble With Harry(1955)