Apr. 24th, 1934
Richmond, Virginia, USA
Shirley MacLaine's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Known as the girl with big red curls and weak ankles, Shirley MacLaine was born Shirley MacLean Beaty on April 24, 1934, to Virginia native Ira Owens Beaty and his wife, Kathlyn. Ira and Kathlyn gave up their dreams to raise their family. Before Shirley was three years old, her brother and rival Warren Beatty was born on March 30 or 31, 1937. Shirley was the tallest in her ballet classes at the Washington School of Ballet. She had an excellent batting average in baseball but, as she discovered, it wasn't a good thing for a girl to do, so she tossed aside her cleats for a pair of pom-poms and joined the cheerleading squad in her high school, Washington-Lee. As soon as she graduated she packed her bags and headed for New York. While auditioning for Richard Rodgers (I) and Oscar Hammerstein II's "Me and Juliet", she had a problem with the producer, who kept mispronouncing her name. He asked, "Okay, Beaty. Do you have another name, kid?" She then changed her name from Shirley MacLean Beaty to Shirley MacLaine. She later had a role in "The Pajama Game". With her high-octane performance, she won a part and the role as an understudy to Carol Haney. Unfortunately, Haney was known for having never missed a performance in her life. A few months into the run, Shirley was going to ditch the show for the lead role in "Can-Can". She left for the theatre after being 15 minutes late because the train broke down. She then heard that Haney had broken her ankle and she was to go on in her place. Despite making many mistakes, she endeared herself to the audience. She replaced Carol again three months later following another injury. Shirley knew her lines this time and knocked them dead. Movie producer Hal B. Wallis was in the audience that night and signed her to a five-year contract to Paramount Pictures. Three months later she was off to shoot The Trouble with Harry (1955). She then took roles in Hot Spell (1958) and Around the World in Eighty Days (1956), completed not too long before her daughter Sachi Parker (born Stephanie) was born. With Shirley's career on track, she played one of her most challenging roles: Ginny Moorhead in Some Came Running (1958), for which she received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. She went on to do The Sheepman (1958) and The Matchmaker (1958). In 1960 she got her second Academy Award nomination for The Apartment (1960). Three years later she received a third nomination for Irma la Douce (1963). In 1969 she brought her friend Bob Fosse from Broadway to direct her in Sweet Charity (1969), from which she got her "signature" song, "If My Friends Could See Me Now". After a five-year hiatus Shirley made a documentary on China called The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir (1975), for which she received an Oscr nomination for best documentary. In 1977 she got her fourth Best Actress Oscar nomination for The Turning Point (1977). In 1979 she worked with Peter Sellers in Being There (1979) shortly before his death. After 20 years in the film industry, she finally took home the Best Actress Oscar for Terms of Endearment (1983). After a five-year hiatus, Shirley made Madame Sousatzka (1988), a critical and financial hit that took top prize at the Venice Film Festival. In 1989 she starred with Dolly Parton, Sally Field and Julia Roberts (I) in Steel Magnolias (1989). She received rave reviews playing Meryl Streep's mother in Postcards from the Edge (1990) and for Guarding Tess (1994). In 1996 she reprised her role from "Terms of Endearment" as Aurora Greenway in The Evening Star (1996), which didn't repeat its predecessor's success at the box office. In mid-1998 she directed Bruno (2000), which starred Alex D. Linz. In February 2001 Shirley worked with close friends once again in These Old Broads (2001) (TV), and co-starred with Julia Stiles in Carolina (2003/I) and with Kirstie Alley in Salem Witch Trials (2002) (TV). She created her own website, www.shirleymaclaine.com, in June 2000, which includes her own radio show and interviews, the Encounter Board, and Independent Expression, a members-only section of the site. In the past few years Shirley starred in a CBS miniseries based on the life of cosmetics queen Mary Kay Ash--Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay (2002) (TV), and wrote two more books, "The Camino" in 2001, and "Out On A Leash" in 2003. After taking a slight hiatus from motion pictures, Shirley returned with roles in the movies that were small, but wonderfully scene-stealing: Bewitched (2005) with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, In Her Shoes (2005) with Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette, in which Shirley was nominated for a Golden Globe in the best supporting actress category, and Rumor Has It... (2005) with Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Costner. She's recently completed filming of Closing the Ring (2007), directed by Sir Richard Attenborough, due for theatres in 2007 and working on her next book, the working title of which is Saging (sage-ing) and Aging.
- Father was a professor, then a real estate agent. Mother was a teacher.
- When writing _The Exorcist (1973)_ (qv), 'William Peter Blatty' (qv) based the character of "Chris O'Neil" on MacLaine, who was a friend of his.
- Her childhood dinner for many years consisted of tabasco and saltine crackers (which often resulted in bad dreams--her missing the bus to ballet class).
- Sister-in-law of actress 'Annette Bening' (qv).
- Attended Washington-Lee H.S. in Arlington, VA.
- Dropped out of the _The Blue Bird (1976)_ (qv) before shooting began.
- Member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1967.
- About 1975, while starring in a special musical show that played at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk, VA, she walked out on the show because of the poor acoustics and sound system. Chrysler Hall was well known for this problem at the time, and Miss MacLaine was not the only performer to complain about it. Years later, the theatre closed for a while and underwent extensive renovations to improve the acoustics, thanks in part to the star's vigorously vocal objections.