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Shirley Jones is a singer and actress best known for her parts in movie musicals, and for her role as Mrs. Partridge on the 1970s television show The Partridge Family.
"Shirley Jones A Memoir" (3:17)
Actress Shirley Jones discusses her role in the 1970 musical sitcom The Partridge Family as the recently widowed mother of a singing family. Video courtesy of Simon & Schuster.
Actress Shirley Jones discusses her life and career as seen in her autobiography "Shirley Jones A Memoir." Video courtesy of Simon & Schuster.
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Shirley Jones was born in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, on March 31, 1934. Jones starred in the film adaptations of several musicals in the 1950s and '60s, including Oklahoma! and The Music Man. She won an Academy Award for her role in the 1960 film Elmer Gantry. In the 1970s, Jones played Shirley Partridge on the hit show The Partridge Family, co-starring with her stepson David Cassidy.
Actress Shirley Mae Jones was born on March 31, 1934, in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. She was the only child born to Marjorie and Paul Jones, a beer manufacturer. At an early age, Marjorie Jones recognized that her daughter had a natural gift for singing. Shirley Jones went on to study drama at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, after which she performed with the Civic Light Opera Company. While in her teens, she was crowned Miss Pittsburgh, a title that started her on a path to a career in show business.
While vacationing in New York City with her parents, the 19-year-old Jones auditioned for the songwriters Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Her wholesome appearance and well-trained soprano voice impressed the team, who cast her in a minor role in their Broadway production of Me and Juliet (1953). Standing out among the large cast, Jones was eventually signed to play the lead on tour.
The following year, with some valid stage experience under her belt, Jones was cast to star in Rodgers and Hammerstein's film version of Oklahoma!. Released in 1955, the multimillion-dollar production met with acclaim from critics, who felt Jones was the perfect choice to play the movie's heroine Laurey. She followed the success of her film debut with a turn in the 1956 feature adaptation of Carousel. Opportunities continued to come her way, and she landed leading roles in April Love (1957) and Never Steal Anything Small (1959), which paired her with leading man James Cagney.
In 1960, Jones shed her girl-next-door image by taking a dramatic turn in the film Elmer Gantry. Her performance as a jilted girlfriend turned prostitute earned her admiration and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. For the remainder of the decade, Jones continued to work in films. She returned to her musical roots as Marian the Librarian in The Music Man (1962); she took on lighter roles in the comedies The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963) and Bedtime Story (1964); and showed her flair for the dramatic in The Happy Ending (1969) and The Cheyenne Social Club (1970).
In 1970, Jones made a transition to the small screen in ABC's musical sitcom The Partridge Family.
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