- Category : Actress
- Type : PE
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (12)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Unexpected 1
Shirley MacLean Beatty (born April 24, 1934), known professionally as Shirley MacLaine, 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 the Academy 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 for Gypsy in My Soul. Her younger brother is Warren Beatty. She is known for her New Age beliefs and interest in 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.
Named after Shirley Temple, Shirley MacLean Beatty was born in Richmond, Virginia. Her father, Ira Owens Beatty, 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 Beatty 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 played baseball on a team where all the other players were boys. She even held the record for most home-runs, earning the nick-name "Powerhouse."
She had very weak ankles as a toddler, so her mother decided to enroll her in ballet class 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 & Juliet and Sleeping Beauty, she always played the boys' roles due to being the tallest in the group and 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. She also claimed she didn't have the ideal body type--she didn't have the requisite "beautifully constructed feet" (high arches, high insteps and a flexible ankle). Nor was she able to acquire perfect technique. She also found ballet too limiting. After leaving ballet, she pursued other forms of 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 for Paramount 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 in Hot 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). 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 alongside Anthony Hopkins. The pair famously didn't get along, with Hopkins saying of MacLaine: "She was the most obnoxious actress I have ever worked with." In 1983, she won an 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 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 appeared in the third season 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. They had a daughter, Sachi. In April 2011, while promoting her new book, I'm Over All That, she revealed to Oprah Winfrey that she had an open relationship with her husband. According to her, she had had affairs with prime ministers and leading actors.
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 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, 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 made-for-television movie These Old Broads (2001) – written by Reynolds' daughter Carrie Fisher – 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 book Sage-ing While Age-ing (2007), she mentioned her alien encounters and witnessing of Washington DC UFO incidents in the 1950s.
MacLaine is godmother to the daughter of U.S. Representative, Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat and former mayor of Cleveland, Ohio.
Like 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 authored the book McGovern: The Man and His Beliefs.
On February 7, 2013, Penguin Group USA published Sachi Parker's autobiography Lucky Me: My Life With – and Without – My Mom, Shirley MacLaine. MacLaine has called the book "virtually all fiction".