Thursday, 24 April 2014

"I deserve this"

Bessie Sparrowbrush. Princess Aouda. Simone Pistache. Martha Dobie. Irma La Douce. Sister Sara. Charity Hope Valentine. Aurora Greenway. Ouiser Boudreaux. Doris Mann. Martha Levinson. Just some of the characters for whose existence we owe a debt of gratitude to our birthday girl (and Patron Saint) - the adorable Miss Shirley MacLaine, who is (remarkably) 80 years old today!

"I don't care what birthday you're on. It's all about how you feel. There are days when I feel like 30. The oldest I go is 50 in my mind. The number doesn't matter. But I do have a sense that I have some wisdom now. It's good to be wise. It sure beats being young and clueless."

Amen to that!

I have featured Miss MacLaine here many times before (and as an "exhibit" in the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp, of course). I think it is safe to say we adore her!

Shirley MacLaine is a phenomenon and an inspiration to us all - even if (or possibly because) she is completely mad as a hatter. As long-serving showbiz legends go, there are very few who can touch her...

To celebrate the great lady, here are just a few musical choices. First up, her triumphal solo moment from Sweet Charity, it's If They Could See Me Now:

Gypsy in My Soul at the 1977 Royal Variety Performance:

Closing the Irving Berlin Centenary celebrations with There's No Business Like Show Business:

And my personal favourite, once again from Sweet Charity (and highly appropriate given the current restructure/threat of redundancies at work) - There's Got To Be Something Better Than This:

Facts about Miss MacLaine:
  • She got her big break on Broadway when lead Carol Haney sprained her ankle during a production of The Pajama Game. As her stand-in, MacLaine went on in her place and captured the interest of movie producer Hal Wallis and Alfred Hitchcock, who cast her in her first film The Trouble With Harry.
  • It was her suggestion that Bob Fosse, whose musical Pajama Game gave her her first big break, direct her movie Sweet Charity.
  • Allegedly during the filming of The Children's Hour, the co-stars made a deal: Audrey Hepburn would teach Shirley how to dress if Shirley would teach her how to swear.
  • Shirley has co-starred with many of the greatest names in Hollywood including Paul Newman, Dean Martin, Elizabeth Taylor, Yves Montand, Jeanne Moreau, Jack Lemmon, Chita Rivera, Peter Sellers, Meryl Streep, Robert Mitchum, Anne Bancroft, Louis Jourdan, Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood and Olympia Dukakis, and was notoriously the only female member of the "Rat Pack"; she went on tour with longtime friend Frank Sinatra in 1992.
  • Miss MacLaine has has been nominated for six Academy Awards, and when she finally won the Oscar for Best Actress in 1983 for Terms of Endearment, she became the first actor to say "I deserve this" during an acceptance speech.
  • She has also been nominated for six Emmys (winning once) and 19 Golden Globes (winning four, as well as "Most Promising Newcomer" in 1955, "Most Versatile Actress" in 1959, and the Cecil B. DeMille award in 1998).
  • Barbra Streisand and Shirley, who share a birthday, apparently celebrate it together every year.

"Possessions have never meant that much to me... I've never erected a lifestyle that would put possessions in a position of controlling me."

"All you really need in life is some fresh water, a good hat, and a really good pair of shoes."

Shirley Maclaine (born Shirley MacLean Beaty, 24th April 1934)


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