Shirley MacLaine

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Award-Winning Actress


Shirley MacLaine: Biography at a Glance

  • Has led an illustrious career, appearing in more than 50 feature films including “Terms of Endearment,” “The Apartment,” “Irma la Douce,” “Steel Magnolias” and “Postcards from the Edge”
  • TV credits include “Glee” and “Downton Abbey”
  • Won an Oscar for best actress and seven Golden Globes, including the Cecil B. DeMille Award
  • Received France’s most prestigious cultural award, the Legion of Honor
  • Author of 10 international best-sellers, including “Sage-ing While Age-ing” and “I’m Over All That: And Other Confessions”
  • Outspoken advocate for civil rights, civil liberties and women’s rights 


Shirley MacLaine’s illustrious career comprises more than 50 feature films highlighted by an Academy Award win and six nominations, six Emmy Award nominations, seven Golden Globe Awards—including the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement—and the title of international best-selling author. MacLaine was honored with the prestigious American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award in June of 2012. In the Fall of 2011, she received France’s most prestigious cultural award, the Legion of Honor, presented by France’s Minister of Culture and Communication, Frederic Mitterrand, at the French Cinematheque.

MacLaine was most recently seen in the film Wild Oats, co-starring Jessica Lange and Demi Moore and The Last Word, co-starring Amanda Seyfried. She recently starred in Elsa & Fred and Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Her recent television appearances include season five of the Golden Globe Award-winning series Glee, where she played performer 'June Dolloway,' and season three of the Primetime Emmy Award-winning series from Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey, starring Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern, and the Lifetime made-for-TV movie Coco Chanel, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe and SAG Award.

MacLaine can also be seen on stage during her one-woman show tour as it hits cities across the globe, combining a montage of memorable film moments with private revelations about her extraordinary life, career and spiritual journey.

An author of ten international bestsellers, MacLaine released her best-selling book Sage-ing While Age-ing in 2008, followed by the New York Times bestseller, I’m Over All That: And Other Confessions released in April 2011. Her book titled What If…: A Lifetime of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses, and a Few Things I Know for Sure was released in November 2013 and was featured on Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday. Her latest book Above the Line: My Wild Oats Adventure was released in March 2016.

MacLaine made her professional debut dancing in a Broadway revival of Oklahoma! in the 1950s. Her first film appearance was in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry, earning her a Golden Globe Award for “New Star of the Year – Actress” in 1955. At the same time, she starred in Some Came Running, which led to her first Academy Award nomination and an additional Golden Globe nomination. She also starred alongside Audrey Hepburn in The Children's Hour, based on a play by Lillian Hellman. MacLaine received a second Oscar nomination for her work in the award-winning film, The Apartment, co-starring Jack Lemmon and directed by Billy Wilder. She reunited with Lemmon and Wilder for Irma La Douce in 1963, earning yet another Academy Award nomination.

In 1975, MacLaine received her fourth Oscar nomination, this time for Best Documentary as a producer and star of The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir. Two years later, she was once again nominated for her starring role in The Turning Point. In 1983, MacLaine finally won an Oscar for her work in Terms of Endearment. Later, she also received a Golden Globe Award for her 1988 performance in Madame Sousatzka. MacLaine was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Golden Globe Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1998.

MacLaine’s additional credits include notable films such as Steel Magnolias with Julia Roberts, Postcards from the Edge with Meryl Streep, In Her Shoes (2005) with Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette, and Rumor Has It… with Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Costner.

A longtime outspoken advocate for civil rights and liberties, women’s rights and spiritual understanding, MacLaine is known for her faith in reincarnation, angels, the power of crystals and other New Age beliefs. She addresses these topics at length, as well as her Hollywood career, in her books, Out on a Limb and Dancing in the Light. MacLaine has gone on to author numerous other books, including The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit and Out on a Leash: Exploring the Nature of Reality and Love, all of which are international bestsellers.

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