Shirley MacLaine biography
Date of Birth: April 24, 1934
Birth name: Shirley MacLean Beaty
Born in Richmond, Virginia, Shirley MacLaine was named for child star Shirley Temple, who was at the height of her fame in 1934. Born to Canadian citizen Kathlyn MacLean Beaty, a drama teacher who gave up her acting dreams to raise a family, and American Ira O. Beaty, an educator and violinist, MacLaine enjoyed ballet as a youngster and planned to be a professional entertainer one day. Following her junior year in high school, she left her parents and younger brother Warren (who would go on to become a successful actor himself, under the name Warren Beatty) behind to study acting in New York for a summer. While there, she was hired for the chorus of Oklahoma. She returned home after the summer and upon graduation from high school immediately returned to New York, where she quickly went from understudy in The Pajama Game to starring in the musical when the star broke her ankle. Hollywood producer Hal B. Wallis saw MacLaine perform and signed her to a five-year contract with Paramount Pictures. Three months later she made her movie debut in Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble With Harry (1955). That year, she won her first Golden Globe, for Most Promising Newcomer - Female.
Married to producer Steve Parker in 1954, Shirley gave birth to her only child, daughter Stephanie (aka Sachi) in 1956. Her film career was going strong, with four movies released in 1958, two in 1959 and three in 1960. She received Leading Actress Oscar nominations in quick succession for Some Came Running (1958) and The Apartment (1960), as well as two BAFTA Film Awards for Ask Any Girl (1959) and The Apartment (1960).
A third Academy Award nomination followed for Irma La Douce (1963), and although she didn't receive an Oscar nomination for her Bob Fosse-directed turn in Sweet Charity (1969), she did get a Golden Globe nomination as well as a trademark song—"If My Friends Could See Me Now."
Her 1971 ABC sitcom called Shirley's World lasted only a season, but she was much too busy to worry about it. She'd already decided to take time off from acting to product and co-direct a documentary, The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir (1975). It received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations.
In 1976, her TV variety special Gypsy in My Soul won an Emmy, and returning to the big screen the following year, MacLaine received her fourth Best Actress Oscar nomination for The Turning Point (1977). Almost 30 years after her movie debut, she finally won an Oscar for Best Actress in Terms of Endearment (1983), also winning a Golden Globe for her role.
She would receive several more Golden Globe nominations for her work in the 1987 TV movie Out on a Limb, the feature films Madame Sousatzka (1988), Postcards from the Edge (1990), Used People (1992) the 2002 TV movie Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay, the 2005 romcom In Her Shoes with Cameron Diaz, and the 2008 TV movie Coco Chanel. At the 1998 Golden Globes, she received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contribution to the entertainment field.
MacLaine's latest credits include Richard Linklater's comedy Bernie (2011) alongside Matthew McConaughey and Jack Black, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) with Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig, three episodes of the Emmy-winning series Downton Abbey between 2012 and 2013 in the role of Martha Levinson (Lady Cora Crawley's mother), the comedy Wild Oats (2016) with Jessica Lange and Demi Moore, and the comedy The Last Word (2017) with Amanda Seyfried and Anne Heche.
With a deep-seated belief in past lives and spirituality, MacLaine has held "Higher Self Seminars" to tell people about her views. Divorced in 1982, MacLaine and her husband were estranged for many years before that and her daughter, Sachi, was raised by her father in Japan from the age of six. Although Sachi acted in feature films in the 1980s and early 1990s, MacLaine told an interviewer in 2000, "She has two children and stronger in her [than acting] is the need to be a conventional mother like she never had."
MacLaine lives in Southern California and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 1615 Vine Street. An animal lover, she enjoys horseback riding in her spare time.