Happy Birthday, Shirley MacLaine

A still from a Shirley MacLaine movie called "Woman Times Seven." Shirley's seen here playing one of the seven different women in the 1967 film. Still a young woman, she's wearing a gorgeous ball gown with her hair piled high and bound with jewelled ribbons. She's on a phone and waving off a man in white tie, who's leaning on her dressing table behind her and trying to interrupt her. Very in-command.
Casually playing seven different characters in “Woman Times Seven” directed by Vittorio De Sica. One of several of her movies now streaming on Kanopy.

My first paid film gig was as a PA on a Shirley MacLaine film. I will never forget her fans waiting for hours near the set, and her coming out to sign her books they’d bought, then chat for a moment.

That thing people say, “Never meet your heroes?” Not true with this legend.

Years later, I wrote to her to thank her for her kindness. She’d had the set photographer take individual photos of every single crew member, with Shirley in her full costume. I was running with sweat from standing in the heat on the highway and horrified when she draped her arm around my shoulder, but it’s a really great photo. Me, Shirley, my orange vest, and my very large STOP sign.

Years later, I wrote to Shirley to thank her for posing for that photo with me, and her assistant called me to verify my address. In the mail, a personalized, signed glossy.

Happy Birthday, Miss MacLaine. Thank you for showing us how a real pro acts, and creating a treasured moment with this late bloomer still in college.

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