Shirley MacLaine (born April 24, 1934). Named after Shirley Temple, was born with very weak ankles, so her mother, thought it would help her ankles, if enrolled her in ballet class.
Shirley, performed In the classical plays, "Romeo and Juliet" and "Sleeping Beauty,". Because she was the tallest girl in the class, she always played the boys' role. She eventually did land the female role as the fairy godmother in, "Cinderella." While warming up backstage, she broke her ankle, but continued to danced all the way through.
After leaving ballet, MacLaine danced on Broadway. After she graduated from High School, she became an understudy to actress Carol Haney in, The Pajama Game. Haney broke her ankle and MacLaine replaced her. ( I bet nobody tells Shirley MacLaine "to break a leg" before going on stage.. ) Film producer Hal B. Wallis, was sitting in the audience and liked what he saw and decided to sign her up with, Paramount Pictures.
"I've made so many movies playing a hooker that they don't pay me in the regular way anymore. They leave it on the dresser".
MacLaine made her film debut in Alfred Hitchcock's, The Trouble with Harry (1955), for which she won the Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year Actress. The film starts in a small, quiet New England town when a man's body is found in the woods. The problem is.. everyone in town thinks that they had something to do with his death. Nobody, but Alfred could make a joke out of a dead body lying in the woods.
In 1956, she had roles in: Hot Spell and Around the World in Eighty Days. At the same time, she starred in the film, Some Came Running, the film that gave her her first Academy Award nomination.
Her second nomination came two years later for my favorite Shirley MacLaine film, The Apartment. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and won five, including Best Picture.
Right before Christmas, C. C. Baxter works in the offices of Consolidated Life Insurance. Baxter is surrounded and being used by several womanizing executives who borrow his apartment for their extramarital affairs. In return, Baxter is promised that he will given a promotion as payment for his apartment key.
One night when Joe Dobisch insists on using the apartment, Baxter comes down with a nasty cold while walking the streets. Not feeling well, Baxter spends he afternoon juggling apartment appointments so he can spend the night in his own apartment. Before it is time to go home for the day, Baxter is called to the office of personnel manager J. D. Sheldrake, who questions him to why he has become so popular with the other executives. Baxter, thinking that he may loose his job, tries to come up with a believable story, but in reality the married Sheldrake is trying to get the apartment key.
Not realizing that Sheldrake's mistress is Fran the elevator girl, Baxter asks her on a date to see a play. Although Fran already has plans for the evening, she agrees to join him later. Fran never shows up, leaving Baxter waiting for her at theater.
Soon, Baxter receives his promised promotion into a private office. The other executives, suspicious and angry, question Baxter why they are no longer allowed to use the apartment. Not happy with his answer, they threaten Baxter's new job. Baxter knows he has nothing to worry about as long as he is in Sheldrake's good graces. He remains in the dark when it comes to Sheldrake's dates with Fran at his apartment.
The 19th floor throws a wild Christmas party and Baxter happy to see Fran, invites her back to his office so they can get away from the crowd. Fran runs into Miss Olsen, who is very glad to inform her that Sheldrake is known to be a womanizer. Shocked, Fran does not hear a word Baxter is saying, and when she pulls out her compact, he realizes that it is the same one Sheldrake's mistress forgot at the apartment. Hearing that Sheldrake and Fran have another date at his apartment, the broken hearted Baxter cries in his beer at a nearby bar, becoming an angry drunk.
Fran and Sheldrake exchange Christmas presents at the apartment. When Fran receives her Christmas gift of a $100 bill, she becomes heartbroken. After Sheldrake leaves, Fran swallows Baxter's bottle of sleeping pills and passes out on his bed. Will Baxter be able to save Fran in time? Will Sheldrake finally take responsibility for his actions?
MacLaine, starts out sweet and put together but, as the film moves on, she becomes an emotional mess, you will be wanting the best for her at the end.
She later starred in the film, The Children's Hour (1961), also starring Audrey Hepburn, based on the play by Lillian Hellman. The story begins when, Karen Wright and Martha Dobie best friends, open a successful boarding school for Girls. Karen, is engaged to doctor Joe Cardin.
Things go wrong when spiteful Mary, is punished by Karen after telling a lie. Martha, has an argument with her meddling aunt Lily Mortar, who accuses Martha, of having an unnatural relationship with Karen. Mary's roommate Rosalie Wells and a friend, overhears and tells Mary, what Mrs. Mortar had said about her niece. Amelia, spreads the gossip to the parents of the students that withdraw them from the school...
The photography is wonderful (it was nominated for an Oscar). The relationship between MacLaine and Hepburn is delicately portrayed in this film.
She was again nominated for the film, Irma la Douce (1963), for which she reunited with Wilder and Lemmon. The story begins when, French police officer Nester Patou, is transferred to the Red Light district.
After discovering what looks like a brothel, he organizes a raid, transporting all the 'ladies' to the jail. This unfortunately, finds his station superior at the brothel. Fired, he goes to a bar to get drunk, is befriended by Irma.
Soon after Nester, doesn't like the thought of his girlfriend seeing other men, so comes up with a plan...
I think that you will enjoy this spicy yet innocent little film.
Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970), in which she starred opposite Clint Eastwood. The film takes place in Mexico, a nun called Sara is rescued from three cowboys by Hogan, who is on his way to do make plans for a future mission to capture a French fort. The French are looking for Sara, but not for the reasons she tells Hogan, so he decides to help her in return for information about the fort. Will Hogan ever learn about Sara's secret?
Shirley MacLaine, was wonderful in this well directed, film about a sexy nun and a cowboy.