Shirley MacLaine is an American actress, singer, author, dancer, and activist popularly known for her roles as a quirky, strong-willed yet eccentric woman. She has received various awards and accolades throughout her career, including an Academy Award. But did you know why she was nicknamed Powerhouse?
In the 1940s, the Hollywood Legend Shirley MacLaine played baseball on an all-boys team and set a record for most home runs, earning her the moniker “Powerhouse.”
Who is Shirley MacLaine?
Shirley MacLaine started her career on Broadway before transitioning to film in the middle of the 1950s. She went on to have a long career in the industry, appearing in such masterpieces as Can-Can, The Apartment, Sweet Charity, Irma La Douce, and Terms of Endearment, for which she earned an Oscar. She has written numerous novels and is a prolific writer. She was honored with a Kennedy Center Award in 2013. (Source: Biography)
The Early Life of Shirley MacLaine
Shirley MacLaine was born in Richmond as Shirley Beatty. When she was three years old, her mother enrolled her in a ballet class, which ignited her passion for acting. Her family relocated to the Dominion Hills section of Arlington when she was nine. While MacLaine originally intended to pursue a career as a ballerina, her trajectory shifted due to her height since she could not develop perfect technique. MacLaine played baseball for an all-boys team and held the record for the most home runs, earning her moniker powerhouse.
MacLaine was an active student at the school, engaging in the student government, cheerleading for the varsity team, and acting in school productions. She was correctly identified as Most Talented in the Who’s Who section of the 1952 yearbook.
MacLaine spent her high school summers in New York City, where she studied art and pursued her dream of being an entertainer. After her junior year, she was offered a part in the chorus of a brand-new Oklahoma play. MacLaine went back home to finish school after the summer was through. (Source: Crossed Sabres)
What were Shirley MacLaine’s Popular Movies and TV Shows?
In The Apartment in 1960, MacLaine gave one of her best performances. In this Billy Wilder classic, she co-starred with Jack Lemmon as Fran Kubelik, a young elevator operator who has an affair with the company’s head executive but eventually develops feelings for Lemmon’s character. For the movie, MacLaine received an Academy Award nomination.
Her career as a dramatic actress was propelled by the critical acclaim of The Apartment, which allowed her to land roles in serious films like Two for the Seesaw with Robert Mitchum and The Children’s Hour with Audrey Hepburn. (Source: Biography)
Sweet Charity and Irma la Douce
MacLaine reconnected with Wilder and Lemmon for the 1963 romantic comedy Irma la Douce. She portrays the title role in the movie, a prostitute from Paris.
MacLaine received a third Academy Award nomination for her performance in the film. She portrays a different kind of working girl, a taxi dancer, in the 1969 musical Sweet Charity.
She had the opportunity to collaborate with the famous Bob Fosse and return to her musical theater origins in the production. (Source: Biography)