Shirley MacLaine On What Peter Sellers Was Really Like
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Over the course of a varied and distinguished career, actress Shirley MacLaine earned these titles many times over. She took features by storm (she has been nominated for an Oscar five times) in a series of comedic and dramatic roles that emphasized her quirkiness and heartbreaking vulnerability; most notably in 1955 she appeared in The Trouble with Harry for no less than legendary director, Alfred Hitchcock. The black comedy helped to establish MacLaine's screen persona - bubbly, irreverent and unquestionably alluring.MacLaine appeared in Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) and Some Came Running (1960), in which she captivated as a small town girl who overcomes her bad reputation in an attempt to find true love with Frank Sinatra's cynical war vet. Critics and audiences responded favorably to the turn, which netted MacLaine Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. Her participation in the film, which co-starred Dean Martin, made her an unofficial member - some said, sole female mascot - of Sinatra's Rat Pack. She then appeared in Some Came Running (1960), The Apartment (1960) in which she was nominated for an Oscar, and Irma La Douce (1963). The redheaded pixie dropped out of features in the late 1960s - watching her brother Warren Beatty rise to fame at that time - but re-emerged in the late seventies with several strong dramatic appearances that preceded her career-reviving performance in the mid-1970s she earned another Oscar-nomination as a former ballerina who locks horns with a longtime competitor (Anne Bancroft) in The Turning Point (1977). She matched this success with a sexually charged turn as the long-neglected wife of a powerful businessman who attempts to find relief from Peter Sellers' kindly gardener in Hal Ashby's Being There (1979). But her greatest screen triumph would come four years later with James Brooks' Terms of Endearment (1983). MacLaine unleashed the full brunt of her dramatic talents as the high-maintenance Aurora Greenway, who puts aside her differences with daughter Emma (Debra Winger) to care for her while she endures a terminal illness. MacLaine also starred in Steel Magnolias with Julia Roberts, and Postcards from the Edge with Meryl Streep.Â And recently she took television by storm with her appearances in Downton Abbey, as the mother of the Countess of Grantham.In 1998, her considerable body of work in film, television and stage was honored by the Academy with the Cecil B. DeMille Award.