- Birth name:
- Shirley MacLean Beaty
- Date of Birth:
- 24 April 1934 Richmond, Virginia, USA
- 5' 7" (1.70 m)
Shirley MacLaine was born Shirley MacLean Beaty on April 24, 1934, to Virginia native Ira Owens Beaty and his wife, Kathlyn. Before Shirley was three years old, her and rival Warren Beatty was born on March 30, 1937. Shirley was the tallest in her ballet classes at the Washington School of Ballet. Just after she graduated from Washington-Lee High School, she packed her bags and headed for New York. While auditioning for Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's "Me and Juliet", the producer kept mispronouncing her name. She then changed her name from Shirley MacLean Beaty to Shirley MacLaine. She later had a role in "The Pajama Game," as a member of the chorus and understudy to Carol Haney. A few months into the run, Shirley was going to leave the show for the lead role in "Can-Can". She left for the theatre after being 15 minutes late because the train broke down. Following her arrival, Shirley discovered that Haney had broken her ankle and could not perform. She would fill in for 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 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. Shirley completed filming of Closing the Ring (2007), directed by Sir Richard Attenborough, in 2007. Her latest book is entitled 'Saging and Aging'; Shirley's next film is 'Valentine's Day,' debuting in theaters February 12, 2010.