Date of Birth : Apr 24th 1934
Combining a tomboy’s brashness with a pixie’s charm and a waif’s vulnerability, MacLaine made her film debut in Alfred Hitchcock’s black comedy, “The Trouble with Harry” (1955). She established herself in the late 1950s and early 60s with films such as “Some Came Running” (1959), “The Apartment” (1960) and “Irma La Douce” (1963). High-spirited as well as versatile, often sporting reddish bangs which dusted her eyebrows, she was associated for a time with the famous Hollywood “Rat Pack” of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and their cronies. MacLaine displayed a more serious side of her character in the late 1960s, when she began an active involvement in liberal politics. Apart from her zestful turn in Bob Fosse’s musical, “Sweet Charity” (1968), in which she was well-cast as a somewhat ditzy but boundlessly optimistic dance hall hostess aiming to make something of her life, MacLaine made fewer important films as the decade progressed. She did, however, begin working extensively in TV and on stage and published the first of several autobiographical works, “Don’t Fall Off the Mountain”, in 1970.
After keeping busy in a series of well-received TV specials in the 1970s, in which she celebrated her days as a gypsy chorine, and a notable dramatic feature in “The Turning Point” (1977), in which she locked horns with Anne Bancroft, MacLaine received renewed attention as a film actress in the 1980s. She earned an Oscar for her role as Aurora Greenway, an overprotective mother with a prickly relationship with her daughter (Debra Winger) in James L Brooks’ tearjerker, “Terms of Endearment” (1983). Her continuing autobiographical installments (e.g. 1983’s “Out on a Limb”) have provoked some amusement for their theories of “out-of-body” experiences and reincarnation but her continuing career was no laughing matter. MacLaine went on to flamboyantly play John Schlesinger’s “Madame Sousatzka” (1988), joined the stellar ensemble of actresses in Herbert Ross’ “Steel Magnolias” (1989), and provided a role model for Meryl Streep in Mike Nichols’ “Postcards from the Edge” (1990). She was also reasonably convincing as the formidable Jewish mom of Kathy Bates in “Used People” (1992) and had been a showbiz institution for long enough to be good casting as a feisty First Lady whose energy taxes her bodyguard in “Guarding Tess” (1994). MacLaine continued to play slightly cantankerous women in “Mrs. Winterbourne”, and reprising her award-winning role of Aurora Greenway in Robert Harling’s “Evening Star” (both 1996).