Mar. 31st, 1934
Charleroi, Pennsylvania, USA
Shirley Jones' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Named after child star 'Shirley Temple', Shirley Jones started singing at the age of six. She started formal training at the age of 12 and would dream of singing with her idol, 'Gordon MacRae'.
Upon graduating from high school, Shirley went to New York to audition for the casting director of 'Rodgers & Hammerstein'. Taken by Shirley's beautifully trained voice, Shirley was signed as a nurse in the Broadway production of "South Pacific". Within a year, she would be in Hollywood to appear in her first film "Oklahoma!"(1955) as Laurie, the farm girl in love with cowboy 'Gordon MacRae'.
"Oklahoma!" would be filmed in CinemaScope and Todd-AO wide screen and would take a year to shoot. After that, Shirley returned to Broadway for the stage production of "Oklahoma!" before returning to Hollywood for "Carousel" (1956). But by this time, musicals were a dying art and she would have a few lean years.
She would work on a television in programs like "Playhouse 90" (1956). With a screen image comparable to peaches-n-cream, Shirley wanted a darker role to change her image. In 1960, she would be cast as the vengeful prostitute in the 'Richard Brooks' dramatic film "Elmer Gantry" (1960). With a brilliant performance against an equally brilliant 'Burt Lancaster', Shirley would win the Oscar for Supporting Actress. But the public wanted the good Shirley so she was cast as Marion, the librarian, in the successful musical "The Music Man" (1962). 'Robert Preston' had played the role on Broadway and his performance along with Shirley was magic. Shirley would again work with little 'Ronny Howard' in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" (1963).
But the movies changed in the 60's and Shirley's image did not fit so she would see her movie career stop in 1965. There were always nightclubs, but Shirley would be remembered by another generation as Shirley Partridge in the television series "The Partridge Family" (1970). While the success of the show would do more for her stepson, teen idol 'David Cassidy', it would keep her name and face in the public view for the four years that the series ran. The show still plays in reruns.
After the show ended, Shirley would spend the rest of the 70's in the land of television movies. The television movie "The Lives of Jenny Dolan" (1975) would be made as a pilot for a series that was not picked up. In 1979, Shirley appeared in a comedy show called "Shirley" (1979), but the show lasted only one season. Shirley would appear infrequently in the 80's and in video's extolling fitness and beauty at the end of the decade.
In February 1986, Shirley Jones unveiled her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Vine Street just around the corner from Hollywood Boulevard.
On August 5, 1956, Jones married actor Jack Cassidy, with whom she had three sons, Shaun, Patrick, and Ryan. 'David Cassidy', Jack's only child from his first marriage to actress 'Evelyn Ward', became her stepson. Divorcing Cassidy in 1974, she later married comic/actor 'Marty Ingels' on November 13, 1977. Despite drastically different personalities and several separations (she filed, then withdrew, a divorce petition in 2002), they remain married.
Jones was friends with her late co-star 'Gordon MacRae' and his ex-wife Sheila, and he was named godfather to her first son, Shaun Cassidy. She also admitted that she had a crush on MacRae and was starstruck when she worked opposite him on Oklahoma! and states she is the one who convinced MacRae to take the part as Billy Bigelow in Carousel.
On the evening of December 11, 1976, after Jones had refused an offer of reconciliation from Jack Cassidy, she received news that her ex-husband's penthouse apartment was on fire. Apparently, the fire started from his lit cigarette when he fell asleep on the couch; the following morning, firefighters found Cassidy's body inside the gutted apartment. Jack "wanted to come back (to me) right up to the day he died", Jones said in a 1983 newspaper interview. "And as I realized later, I wanted him. That's the terrible part. Much as I love Marty and have a wonderful relationship – I'd say this with Marty sitting here – I'm not sure if Jack were alive I'd be married to Marty." Jones was 20 years old when she met Cassidy, who was eight years her senior and refers to him as the most influential person in her life.
Jones is a supporter of PETA.
Jones is the grandmother of nine: Caitlin, Jake, Juliet, Caleb, Roan, Lila and Marian Cassidy, from son Shaun, and Cole and Jack, from son Patrick.
- When asked which of her musicals was her favorite, she has said it was _The Music Man (1962)_ (qv). While she says she has special memories of _Oklahoma! (1955)_ (qv) because it was her first movie, _Carousel (1956)_ (qv) is her favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein score.
- Had her first date with 'Jack Cassidy (I)' (qv) in Paris while both were touring in a European stage production of "Oklahoma!"
- Received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Point Park College (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Began her career on Broadway at 18 in the original production of "South Pacific" in 1952.
- Had wanted to become a veterinarian.
- Winner of the 1952 Miss Pittsburgh Pageant
- Strongly considered for Roberta Hertzel in _About Schmidt (2002)_ (qv), but lost to 'Kathy Bates (I)' (qv). Shirley was very disappointed by the decision.
- Best known by the public for her starring role as Shirley Partridge on _"The Partridge Family" (1970)_ (qv).