Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 67

Shirley MacLaine - Filmography, TV work, Academy Awards and Nominations

actress chorus haney films

Film actress and writer, born in Richmond, Virginia, USA, the sister of Warren Beatty. Having begun studying ballet at age two, she left for New York after graduating from high school, and entered show business as a teenager when she joined the chorus of Oklahoma in New York City (1950). Her first Broadway experience was in the chorus line of Me and Juliet (1953). Understudy to Carol Haney in The Pajama Game (1954), she replaced the injured Haney after the third performance and was almost immediately signed up by Hollywood, making her screen debut in The Trouble with Harry (1955). She proved to be a versatile actress in films ranging from musicals such as Irma La Douce (1963) to sentimental dramas such as Terms of Endearment (1983), for which she won a Best Actress Oscar. Later films include a sequel, Evening Star (1997), Steel Magnolias (1989), Postcards from the Edge (1990), and Bewitched (2005). She led an equally varied career offscreen as an activist for liberal causes, leader of the first American women's delegation to China (which resulted in her documentary, The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir, 1975), a tireless tourer in her one-woman variety shows, and author of several best-sellers. She was also the butt of much teasing for her professed belief in reincarnation.

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