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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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In the film, she plays the title character, a Parisian prostitute. MacLaine received her third Academy Award nomination for her work in the movie. In the musical Sweet Charity (1969), she plays another type of working girl—a taxi dancer. The production gave her a chance to return to her musical theater roots and to work with the legendary Bob Fosse. Richardo Montalban,
Chita Rivera and Sammy Davis Jr. also appeared in the film.
MacLaine has enjoyed a substantial second career as an author. She published her first memoir, Don't Fall Off the Mountain, in 1970. Since then, MacLaine has chronicled her experiences and explored numerous aspects of her life in several more volumes. She wrote about her 1973 tour of China in You Can Get There From Here and delved into her New Age beliefs and reincarnation in 1983's Out on a Limb.
More books soon followed, including Going Within (1989) and. MacLaine explored her family life in Dance While You Can (1991) and her career in 1995's My Lucky Stars: A Hollywood Memoir. In 2000, she shared her personal pilgrimage in Camino: A Journey of the Spirit. In her more recent works, MacLaine has given readers her perspectives as one of society's more mature members. She penned Sage-ing while Age-ing (2007) and I'm Over All That (2011).
MacLaine continued to gave strong performances in the 1970s and the 1980s. In The Turning Point (1977), she stars as a former dancer who gave up her career to have a family. Her daughter follows in her footsteps, and MacLaine's character is forced to confront her old dance rival (Anne Bancroft). Once again nominated for an Academy Award, she went home empty-handed this time around.
In 1983, MacLaine finally claimed her Oscar statue for Terms of Endearment. She plays Aurora Greenway, a woman with a troubled relationship with her daughter, in the film. Debra Winger stars as her daughter and Jack Nicholson as her love interest in this popular tearjerker. In her acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, MacLaine said "I have wondered for 26 years what this would feel like," according to the Hollywood Reporter. Vanity Fair also notes that she added "I deserve this."
MacLaine appeared in the 1989 ensemble drama Steel Magnolias with Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts. She tackled the role of one of her real-life contemporaries the following year. In Postcards from Edge, based on Carrie Fisher's memoir, MacLaine plays actress Debbie Reynolds. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Reynolds gave MacLaine at least one critique of her performance. "She didn't think I should have put vodka in the smoothie," MacLaine said.
MacLaine tried to recapture the success of Terms of Endearment with the 1994 sequel The Evening Star, but without much success. She returned to comedy in 2005 with a trio of releases—Bewitched, Rumor Has It and In Her Shoes. She plays the witch Endora opposite Nicole Kidman's Samantha in this adaptation of the classic television series.
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