On May 26th, Shirley MacLaine will be gracing the stage of the Vancouver Orpheum not to sing, dance, act or read an excerpt from one of her many intriguing books – but to share in stories about her own life experiences with trademark wit and candour to a captivated audience as part of the intimate “unique lives” series.
I’ll be one of those people engrossed in hearing whatever she has to say. Because let’s face it, even if you’re not a fan you cannot deny that it has been a life (including past lives) well lived.
With credits too numerous to mention on a blog, let’s take a little peek into the world of this living legend:
The daughter of a drama teacher, she started out as a dancer. She will take you down memory lane with movie and television clips from her illustrious career starting in 1955 with her first movie, Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Trouble with Harry“.
With a film career too long to mention – you’ll see clips from “Irma la Douce“, “Sweet Charity“, “Two Mules for Sister Sara“, and most recently, “Glee” and “Downton Abbey“. Not only will you hear about her award-winning film and stage career, but also her years with the “Rat-Pack“, her journey on the Camino, and her greatest passion: the spirit, mind and body.
Members of the audience will get a chance to ask Shirley questions during a question and answer session.
Five of my personal favourite films from her extraordinary career:
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).
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.”
Steel Magnolias with Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts. The quip that stands out: “I’m not as sweet as I used to be.” Set in Louisiana, she plays Ouiser Boudreaux, a woman who through years of turmoil and heartbreak, becomes more cynical, hardened and wiseass. But you can’t help but love her. She embodies wisdom, cynicism, sarcasm, and snarky humor…all mixed into one fabulous southern lady…how can you ask for more.
She tackled the role of one of her real-life contemporaries. In Postcards from the 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.
In 1960, MacLaine delivered one of her best performances in The Apartment. She co-starred with Jack Lemmon in this Billy Wilder classic, playing a young elevator operator named Fran Kubelik who has an affair with the company’s big boss, but later falls for Lemmon’s character.