Biography and 15 the Best Shirley MacLaine Movies

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15.Can-Can

Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine

Released: 1960

Directed by: Walter Lang

Can-Can is a 1960 musical film made by Suffolk-Cummings productions and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Walter Lang, produced by Jack Cummings and Saul Chaplin…

14.My Geisha

Shirley MacLaine, Edward G. Robinson

Released: 1962

Directed by: Jack Cardiff

My Geisha is a 1962 American comedy film directed by Jack Cardiff, starring Yves Montand, Shirley MacLaine, and Edward G. Robinson, and released by Paramount Pictures. The film was…

13.Some Came Running

Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine

Released: 1958

Directed by: Vincente Minnelli

Some Came Running is a 1958 film directed by Vincente Minnelli..

12.My Geisha

Shirley MacLaine, Edward G. Robinson

Released: 1962

Directed by: Jack Cardiff

My Geisha is a 1962 American comedy film directed by Jack Cardiff, starring Yves Montand, Shirley MacLaine, and Edward G. Robinson, and released by Paramount Pictures. The film was..

11.The Trouble with Harry

Shirley MacLaine, Alfred Hitchcock

Released: 1955

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

The Trouble with Harry is a 1955 American black comedy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The screenplay by John Michael Hayes was based on the 1950 novel by Jack Trevor Story. It starred

10.In Her Shoes

Cameron Diaz, Shirley MacLaine

Released: 2005

Directed by: Curtis Hanson

In Her Shoes is a 2005 American comedy-drama film based on the novel of the same name by Jennifer Weiner. It is directed by Curtis Hanson with an adapted screenplay by Susannah Grant..

9.The Turning Point

Shirley MacLaine, Anne Bancroft

Released: 1977

Directed by: Herbert Ross

The Turning Point is a 1977 drama film centered on the world of ballet in New York City, written by Arthur Laurents and directed by Herbert Ross. The film stars Shirley MacLaine and Anne..

8.Sweet Charity

Shirley MacLaine, Sammy Davis

Released: 1969

Directed by: Bob Fosse

Sweet Charity, full title of which is Sweet Charity: The Adventures of a Girl Who Wanted to Be Loved, is a 1969 American musical film directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, written by..

7.Guarding Tess

Nicolas Cage, Shirley MacLaine

Released: 1994

Directed by: Hugh Wilson

Guarding Tess is a 1994 film starring Shirley MacLaine and Nicolas Cage, directed by Hugh Wilson. MacLaine plays a fictional former First Lady protected by an entourage of Secret Service..

6.Irma la Douce

Shirley MacLaine, James Caan

Released: 1963

Directed by: Billy Wilder

Irma la Douce ([iʁ.ma la dus], “Irma the Sweet”) is a 1963 American romantic comedy film starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, directed by Billy Wilder. It is based on the 1956…

5.Two Mules for Sister Sara

Clint Eastwood, Shirley MacLaine

Released: 1970

Directed by: Don Siegel

Two Mules for Sister Sara is an American-Mexican western film starring Shirley MacLaine set during the French intervention in Mexico. The film was released in 1970 and directed by Don…

4.Being There

Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers

Released: 1979

Directed by: Hal Ashby

Being There is a 1979 American comedy-drama film directed by Hal Ashby. Adapted from the 1970 novella by Jerzy Kosinski, the screenplay was written by Kosinski and the uncredited..

3.The Children’s Hour

Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine

Released: 1961

Directed by: William Wyler

The Children’s Hour is a 1961 American drama film directed by William Wyler. The screenplay by John Michael Hayes is based on the 1934 play of the same title by Lillian Hellman. The film…

2.Terms of Endearment

Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito

Released: 1983

Directed by: James L. Brooks

Terms of Endearment is a 1983 comedy-drama film adapted from the novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry, directed, written, and produced by James L. Brooks and starring Shirley..

1.The Apartment

Shirley MacLaine, Jack Lemmon

Released: 1960

Directed by: Billy Wilder

The Apartment is a 1960 American comedy-drama film produced and directed by Billy Wilder, which stars Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray. It was Wilder’s next movie..

Who Is Shirley MacLaine?

Shirley MacLaine began her career on Broadway and in the mid-1950s, she started working in film, with a decades-long career in classics like Can-CanThe ApartmentSweet CharityIrma La Douce and Terms of Endearment, for which she won an Oscar. She is also a prolific writer, having authored several books. In 2013 she received the Kennedy Center Honors.

Early Life & Brother

Born on April 24, 1934, in Richmond, Virginia, Shirley MacLaine has enjoyed an impressive career in film, television and the theater for more than six decades. She was originally named Shirley MacLean Beaty. Her first name was reportedly inspired by the famed child actress Shirley Temple. She later adapted her mother’s maiden name, “MacLean,” into her stage name of “MacLaine.”

The daughter of a drama teacher, she started out as a dancer. Her parents enrolled her in ballet when she was a toddler. MacLaine soon got a taste for performing at a dance school recital. Around this time, she became a big sister with the birth of her brother Warren Beatty. He would grow up to be a successful actor in his own right.

Movies and TV Shows

‘The Apartment’

In 1960, MacLaine delivered one of her best performances in The Apartment. She co-starred with Jack Lemmon in this Billy Wilder classic, playing a young elevator operator named Fran Kubelik who has an affair with the company’s big boss but later falls for Lemmon’s character. MacLaine picked up an Academy Award nomination for the film. The critical success of The Apartment helped propel her career as a dramatic actress, opening the door to such serious works as The Children’s Hour (1961) with Audrey Hepburn and Two for the Seesaw (1962) with Robert Mitchum.

‘Irma la Douce,’ ‘Sweet Charity’

MacLaine reunited with Wilder and Lemmon for the 1963 romantic comedy Irma la Douce. In the film, she plays the title character, a Parisian prostitute. MacLaine received her third Academy Award nomination for her work in the movie. In the musical Sweet Charity (1969), she plays another type of working girl — a taxi dancer. The production gave her a chance to return to her musical theater roots and to work with the legendary Bob Fosse. Richardo Montalban, Chita Rivera and Davis Jr. also appeared in the film.

In a 2014 interview, MacLaine recalled working with Wilder, “Billy was not exactly acquainted with feminist equality, let’s put it that way. He could be very harsh with women,” she says. “I think that’s one of the things that bothered Marilyn [Monroe, who Wilder directed in the comedy classic Some Like It Hot]. She was afraid of him, so she would be late and stuff like that.”

‘Terms of Endearment’

MacLaine continued to give strong performances in the 1970s and the 1980s. In The Turning Point (1977), she stars as a former dancer who gave up her career to have a family. Her daughter follows in her footsteps, and MacLaine’s character is forced to confront her old dance rival (Anne Bancroft). Once again nominated for an Academy Award, she went home empty-handed this time around.

 

 

In 1983 MacLaine finally claimed her Oscar statue for Terms of Endearment. She plays Aurora Greenway, a woman with a troubled relationship with her daughter, in the film. Debra Winger stars as her daughter and Jack Nicholson as her love interest in this popular tearjerker. In her acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, MacLaine said “I have wondered for 26 years what this would feel like,” according to the Hollywood ReporterVanity Fair also notes that she added “I deserve this.”

‘Steel Magnolias’

MacLaine appeared in the 1989 ensemble drama Steel Magnolias with Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts. She tackled the role of one of her real-life contemporaries the following year. In Postcards from Edge, based on Carrie Fisher’s memoir, MacLaine plays actress Debbie Reynolds. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Reynolds gave MacLaine at least one critique of her performance. “She didn’t think I should have put vodka in the smoothie,” MacLaine said.

‘Bewitched,’ ‘Rumor Has It’

MacLaine tried to recapture the success of Terms of Endearment with the 1994 sequel The Evening Star, but without much success. She returned to comedy in 2005 with a trio of releases — BewitchedRumor Has It and In Her Shoes. She plays the witch Endora opposite Nicole Kidman’s Samantha in this adaptation of the classic television series. In both Rumor Has It and In Her Shoes, MacLaine plays the grandmother to the likes of such stars as Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz and Toni Colette.

‘Downton Abbey’

MacLaine continues to seek out new roles and challenges. She played the legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel in the 2008 television movie Coco Chanel. In 2011 MacLaine co-starred with Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey in the light-hearted crime drama Bernie.

MacLaine moved to the small screen to join the cast of the much beloved British period drama Downton Abbey for its third season. MacLaine plays the American mother of Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, on the show. Viewers enjoyed watching her character match wits with the Dowager Countess of Grantham played by Maggie Smith. In 2013 MacLaine was recognized for her role in influencing American culture through her art by as a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.

Books

MacLaine has enjoyed a substantial second career as an author. She published her first memoir, Don’t Fall Off the Mountain, in 1970. Since then, MacLaine has chronicled her experiences and explored numerous aspects of her life in several more volumes. She wrote about her 1973 tour of China in You Can Get There From Here and delved into her New Age beliefs and reincarnation in 1983’s Out on a Limb.

More books soon followed, including Going Within (1989), in which she delves into her spirituality. She also explored her family life in Dance While You Can (1991) and her career in 1995’s My Lucky Stars: A Hollywood Memoir. In 2000 she shared her personal pilgrimage in Camino: A Journey of the Spirit. In her more recent works, MacLaine has given readers her perspectives as one of society’s more mature members. She penned Sage-ing while Age-ing (2007) and I’m Over All That (2011).

Personal Life

MacLaine was married to Steve Parker, a producer and businessman, from 1954 to 1982. The couple had a daughter, Stephanie, better known as Sachi. The pair had an unusual relationship with Parker spending much of his time living in Japan. Her daughter Sachi also spent part of her youth living abroad with her father.

In 2013, Sachi Parker shared her experiences as MacLaine’s daughter in the memoir Lucky Me: My Life With—and Without—My Mom, Shirley MacLaine. She claimed that her mother pressured her to lose her virginity as a teen and had a pair of sex therapists in the house during her first sexual experience, according to the New York Daily News. MacLaine has dismissed the book, saying “I’m shocked and heartbroken that my daughter would make statements about me that are virtually all fiction” in the same article.

 

 

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