Shirley MacLaine
Birth Date:
April 24, 1934
Birth Place:
Richmond, Virginia, USA
5' 7
Famous for:
Oscar win for 'Terms of Endearment' (1983)
actress, author
Washington-Lee High School, Arlington, Virginia
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Terms of Endearment


“I was always a character actress and never a sex symbol. Even when I was the leading lady, I was a character actor.” Shirley MacLaine

Academy Award-winning actress Shirley MacLaine, the older sister of Warren Beatty, got her start on Broadway before eventually moving to Hollywood and garnering rave reviews for her role as quirky matriarch Aurora Greenway in the film adapted by James L. Brooks from the novel by Larry McMurtry, “Terms of Endearment” (1983). She had previously been nominated for an Academy Award for her starring roles in "Some Came Running" (1958), "The Apartment" (1960), "Irma la Douce" (1963), and "The Turning Point" (1977).

“I love to win Oscars. Love it. The only part about it I don't like is the red carpet and getting a dress and walking around in high heels and holding in my stomach. I hate that.” Shirley MacLaine

MacLaine also played lead roles in "Gambit" (1966), "Sweet Charity" (1969), "Steel Magnolias" (1989), "Postcards from the Edge" (1990), "Guarding Tess" (1994), "Bewitched" (2005), "In Her Shoes" (2005), and "Rumor Has It..." (2005). She will next be seen in the upcoming film "Poor Things" and is rumored to be starring in "Rosemont." A film star since the 1950s, MacLaine has a star on the Walk of Fame at 1615 Vine Street.

On the small screen, MacLaine starred in the sitcom "Shirley's World" from 1971 to 1972 and the TV movies "Joan of Arc" (1999), "These Old Broads" (2001), "Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay" (2002), and "Coco Chanel" (2008), which earned her Golden Globe and SAG nominations.

MacLaine, who became known for her faith in new age spirituality and reincarnation in the 1980s, is also an author and has released a number of best-selling books, including “Out on a Limb” (1983) and “Dancing in the Light” (1986).

On a more personal note, this 5' 7" Hollywood veteran was married to businessman Steve Parker and has one daughter.

“I don't need a man to rectify my existence. The most profound relationship we'll ever have is the one with ourselves.” Shirley MacLaine

Virginia Roots

Childhood and Family:

“Some people think I look like a sweet potato, I consider myself a spud with a heart of gold.” Shirley MacLaine

Daughter of Ira Owens Beaty, a professor of psychology, public school administrator, and real estate agent who died in 1987, and Kathlyn Corinne, a Nova Scotia-born drama teacher who died in 1994, Shirley MacLean Beaty (named after Shirley Temple) was born on April 24, 1934, in Richmond, Virginia. She is the older sister of actor/director Henry Warren Beaty (aka Warren Beatty; born on March 30, 1937) who garnered an Academy Award for directing the film “Reds” (1981) and starred in “Dick Tracy” (1990) and “Bugsy” (1991).

Young Shirley attended Washington-Lee High School, in Arlington, Virginia, where she was a cheerleader and acted in school's productions. She was also trained at the Washington School of the Ballet, in Washington, D.C., where she was the tallest and often played a boy.

On September 17, 1954, Shirley married businessman Steve Parker (born on February 6, 1922; died on May 13, 2001). They have one daughter, Sachiko Parker (actress; born on September 1, 1956). Shirley divorced Steve in 1982.

“The best way to get husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they are too old to do it.” Shirley MacLaine

Shirley's sister-in-law is actress Annette Bening (born on May 29, 1958), who has been married to Warren Beatty since 1992. Her nieces are Ella Corinne Beatty (born on April 8, 2000), Isabel Ira Ashley Beatty (born on January 11, 1997), and Kathlyn Elizabeth Bening Beatty (born on January 8, 1992).

Shirley is a horse lover. She is close friends with actress Julie Christie, who lived with brother Warren Beatty for over a decade. Shirley lives in northern New Mexico.

“An actor has many lives and many people within him. I know there are lots of people inside me. No one ever said I'm dull.” Shirley MacLaine

Some Came Running


"I was never good enough to be a soloist. Quatre ballet was about all I could handle. I didn't have those beautifully constructed feet [high arches, high insteps]. My extension on my left leg was pretty good, but I didn't point my foot with that grace that suggests true beauty.” Shirley MacLaine (about considering ballet as a profession)

At the tender age of three, Shirley MacLaine began taking ballet and always played the boy's role because she was the tallest in her class. She made her first public appearance as a dancer at age four and made her professional dance debut at age 12 with the National Symphony Orchestra.

In 1950, MacLaine appeared briefly in the New York City revival of “Oklahoma.” Two years later, she moved to New York where she worked as a model and appeared in commercials. She also tried acting on Broadway and received her first big break in 1954 when she became an understudy to actress Carol Haney in “The Pajama Game,” where she replaced Haney who suffered an ankle injury in the first week.

Not long after, MacLaine made her film acting debut with John Forsythe and Edmund Gwenn in Alfred Hitchcock's dark comedy based on the novel by Jack Trevor Story, “The Trouble with Harry” (1955). She also earned her first Academy Award nomination as Best Actress for her role of the flamboyant Ginnie Moorehead, opposite Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, in Vincente Minnelli's film adaptation of James Jones' novel, “Some Came Running” (1958).

In the early 1960s, MacLaine earned her second Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Miss Fran Kubelik in Billy Wilder's comedy “The Apartment,” starring Jack Lemmon. She teamed up again with Wilder and Lemmon for the comedy “Irma la Douce” (1963) and earned a third Academy Award nomination for the role. She also costarred with Michael Caine in Ronald Neame's “Gambit” (1966) and earned a Best Actress Golden Globe nomination for her work.

MacLaine was a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1967. In 1969, she starred in “Sweet Charity,” which was directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse and written by Neil Simon.

Entering the 1970s, MacLaine starred in the short-lived ABC sitcom “Shirley's World” (1971-1972). She then co-directed (with Claudia Weill) and wrote the documentary feature about her travels through China, “The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir” (1974), which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature. She also appeared on the talk show "Straight Talk" on March 14, 1975, promoting her book "You Can Get There From Here" and spoke about her trip to China.

After dropping out of the “The Blue Bird” (1976) before shooting began, MacLaine returned to the stage in the one-woman show, “A Gypsy in My Soul” (1976). In 1977, she once again was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as a ballerina who gives up the stage to have a family in Herbert Ross' “The Turning Point,” opposite Anne Bancroft.

“I think in my 40s, right around the time of ‘The Turning Point’ in 1977 that I began to address myself more to the future. See, I wasn't afraid of getting old because I never had the problems the other actresses my age had. I was never a great beauty. I was never a sex symbol. I did, however, have great legs because I was a dancer. But I didn't have that baggage. I wasn't interested in my stature as a star, ever. I was just interested in good parts.” Shirley MacLaine

MacLaine turned down the role of Diane Freeling in “Poltergeist” (1982) to play Aurora Greenway, Debra Winger's mother and Jack Nicholson's love interest, in the romantic comedy-drama film adapted by James L. Brooks from the novel by Larry McMurtry, “Terms of Endearment” (1983), which won her an Academy Award. Her performance in the film is also ranked #81 on Premiere Magazine's “100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.”

"I am going to cry because this show has been as long as my career! I have wondered for 26 years what this would feel like! Thank you for terminating the suspense.” Shirley MacLaine (on accepting her Oscar)

MacLaine next played herself in the autobiographical ABC miniseries “Out on a Limb” (1987) and won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her starring role in “Madame Sousatzka” (1988). She also offered a memorable performance as Louisa "Ouiser" Boudreaux in Herbert Ross' ensemble female drama film based on Robert Harling's 1987 off-Broadway play, “Steel Magnolias” (1989), which earned her a BAFTA Film Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

In 1990, MacLaine was cast as Meryl Streep's mother in Mike Nichols' film version of Carrie Fisher's 1987 semi-autobiographical novel, “Postcards from the Edge,” which earned her BAFTA Film and Golden Globe nominations. Four years later, she played Tess Carlisle, a fictional former First Lady with a difficult personality who is protected by Nicolas Cage's character, in “Guarding Tess” (1994), which earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical. Meanwhile, on stage, she performed in a one-woman show called "Shirley MacLaine: A Singing, Dancing, Musical Revue" at the Centennial Concert Hall, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She also reprised her Academy Award-winning role of Aurora Greenway in the sequel, “The Evening Star” (1996).

Hitting the new millennium, MacLaine made her feature directorial debut with “Bruno” (2000), in which she also co-starred. She then acted in the ABC TV-movie “These Old Broads” (2001) and starred in the CBS TV-Movie “Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay” (2002), for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress.

In 2005, MacLaine was cast in the Rob Reiner comedy movie “Rumor Has It...” and co-starred as Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette's long-lost grandmother in Curtis Hanson's “In Her Shoes,” for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Also that year, she co-starred with Michael Caine as Nicole Kidman's meddling parents in the big screen adaptation of “Bewitched.”

In recent years, MacLaine was cast in John Davis' computer-animated film “The Ant Bully” (2006) and played the lead in Richard Attenborough's period romantic drama “Closing the Ring” (2007). She recently portrayed the older version of the French fashion designer in the Lifetime movie “Coco Chanel” (2008), which earned her Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award (SAG) nominations for Best Actress in a Television Movie.

It is rumored that MacLaine will star in Daniel Petrie Jr.'s upcoming drama film "Rosemont" and is currently filming Scott Marshall's "Poor Things" with Olympia Dukakis and Rosario Dawson.

MacLaine, who is known for her faith in new age spirituality and reincarnation, has released a large number of autobiographical works, including "Don't Fall Off the Mountain" (1970), "You Can Get There From Here" (1975), "Out on a Limb" (1983), "Shirley and Warren" (1985; by James Spada), "Dancing in the Light" (1985), "It's All in the Playing" (1987), "Dance While You Can" (1991), "My Lucky Stars: A Hollywood Memoir" (1995), "Out on a Leash: Exploring the Nature of Reality and Love" (2003), and "Sage-ing While Age-ing" (2007).

“I want women to be liberated and still be able to have a nice a** and shake it.” Shirley MacLaine


  • Palm Springs International Film Festival: Lifetime Achievement Award, 2006

  • Chicago International Film Festival: Career Achievement Award, 2005

  • GLAAD Media: Vanguard Award, 2002

  • Denver International Film Festival: Lifetime Achievement Award, 2000

  • Berlin International Film Festival: Honorary Golden Berlin Bear, 1999

  • Golden Globe: Cecil B. DeMille Award, 1998

  • Golden Camera: Golden Camera, 1997

  • Lone Star Film & Television: Lone Star Film & Television Award Best Actress, "The Evening Star," 1997

  • Film Society of Lincoln Center: Gala Tribute, 1995

  • American Comedy: Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy, 1993

  • Golden Globe: Golden Globe Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama, "Madame Sousatzka," 1989

  • Venice Film Festival: Volpi Cup Best Actress, "Madame Sousatzka," 1988

  • Academy Award: Best Actress in a Leading Role, "Terms of Endearment," 1984

  • David di Donatello: David Best Foreign Actress, "Terms of Endearment," 1984

  • Golden Globe: Golden Globe Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama, "Terms of Endearment," 1984

  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association: LAFCA Award Best Actress, "Terms of Endearment," 1983

  • National Board of Review: NBR Award Best Actress, "Terms of Endearment," 1983

  • New York Film Critics Circle: NYFCC Award Best Actress, "Terms of Endearment," 1983

  • Women in Film Crystal Awards: Crystal Award, 1978

  • Emmy: Emmy Outstanding Special - Comedy-Variety or Music, “Gypsy in My Soul,” 1976

  • Berlin International Film Festival: Silver Berlin Bear Best Actress, "Desperate Characters," 1971

  • Laurel: Golden Laurel Female Comedy Performance, "Sweet Charity," 1970

  • Laurel: Golden Laurel Female Comedy Performance, “Gambit,” 1967

  • Golden Globe: Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Actress - Musical/Comedy, "Irma la Douce," 1964

  • Laurel: Golden Laurel Top Female Comedy Performance, "Irma la Douce," 1964

  • Hasty Pudding Theatricals: Woman of the Year, 1963

  • Cinema Writers Circle: CEC Award Best Foreign Actress, "Can-Can," 1962

  • Laurel: Golden Laurel Top Female Dramatic Performance, "The Children's Hour," 1962

  • Laurel: Top Female Star (2nd place), 1962

  • BAFTA: BAFTA Film Award Best Foreign Actress, "The Apartment," 1961

  • Golden Globe: Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Actress - Musical/Comedy, "The Apartment," 1961

  • Laurel: Golden Laurel Female Dramatic Performance, "The Apartment," 1961

  • Laurel: Top Female Star (3rd place), 1961

  • BAFTA: BAFTA Film Award Best Foreign Actress, "Ask Any Girl," 1960

  • Laurel: Golden Laurel Top Female Musical Performance, "Can-Can," 1960

  • Venice Film Festival: Volpi Cup Best Actress, "The Apartment," 1960

  • Golden Globe: Special Award, 1959

  • Berlin International Film Festival: Silver Berlin Bear Best Actress, "Ask Any Girl," 1959

  • Golden Apple: Golden Apple Most Cooperative Actress, 1959

  • Golden Globe: Golden Globe Most Promising Newcomer – Female, 1955

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Shirley MacLaine Wallpaper on Rumor Has It
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