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Shirley MacLaine is one of Hollywood's legendary leading ladies, known for a vast span of films that include The Apartment, Sweet Charity and Terms of Endearment.
Watch a short video about Shirley MacLaine and Barbra Streisand to learn the many similarities between these two powerful and entertaining women.
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Born on April 24, 1934, in Richmond, Virginia, Shirley MacLaine grew up with sibling Warren Beatty and went on to Broadway. In the mid-1950s, she started working in film, with a decades-long career in classics like Can-Can, The Apartment, Sweet Charity, Irma La Douce and Terms of Endearment, for which she won an Oscar. She is also a prolific writer, having authored several books.
"My life is a fiction."
"If you get a good picture every five years, you can go forever."
Born on April 24, 1934, in Richmond, Virginia, actress 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.
During summers during high school, MacLaine went to New York City to study her craft and to pursue her dream of being an entertainer. She landed a part in the chorus in a new production of the musical Oklahoma after her junior year. When the summer ended, MacLaine returned home to finish school.
MacLaine's big break came in the mid-1950s with the Broadway musical The Pajama Game. She was a member of the show's chorus as well as an understudy for one of its lead characters. After producer Hal Wallis saw her perform, MacLaine landed a contract with Paramount Pictures. She made her film debut in 1955's The Trouble with Harry directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Three years later, MacLaine picked up her first Academy Award nomination for Some Came Running. This Vincente Minnelli-directed drama starred Frank Sinatra as a soldier who returns home after World War II. MacLaine plays Ginnie Moorehead, a party girl who falls for Sinatra's character and follows him to his hometown. Off-screen, MacLaine befriended Sinatra, Dean Martin and the rest of their friends known as the Rat Pack. She even appeared in their 1960 crime caper Ocean's Eleven, which also featured Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford.
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 secretary 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.
MacLaine reunited with Billy Wilder and Jack Lemmon for the 1963 romantic comedy Irma la Douce.
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