Shelley Winters

Shelley Winters

Winters in "Cry of the City" (1948)
Birth nameShirley Schrift
BornJuly 18 1920(1920--)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
DiedJanuary 14 2006 (aged 87)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Spouse(s)Paul Meyer (1942-1948)
Vittorio Gassman (1952-1954)
Anthony Franciosa (1957-1960)
Gerry DeFord (m. 2006)
Shelley Winters (August 18 1920January 14 2006) was a two-time Academy Award-winning American actress.

Biography

Early life

Winters was born Shirley Schrift in St. Louis, Missouri,[1] the daughter of Jewish parents Jonas Schrift, a designer of men's clothing, and Rose (Winters), a singer.[2][3] Her family moved to Brooklyn, New York when she was three years old. She studied in the Hollywood Studio Club, sharing the same bedroom with another beginner, Marilyn Monroe.

Career

As the New York Times obituary noted, "A major movie presence for more than five decades, Shelley Winters turned herself into a widely respected actress who won two Oscars." Winters originally broke into Hollywood as "the Blonde Bombshell," but quickly tired of the role's limitations. She washed off her makeup and played against type to set up Elizabeth Taylor's beauty in A Place in the Sun, still a landmark American film. As the Associated Press reported, the general public was unaware of how serious a craftswoman Winters was. "Although she was in demand as a character actress, Winters continued to study her craft. She attended Charles Laughton's Shakespeare classes and worked at the Actors Studio, both as student and teacher."

Her first movie was There's Something About a Soldier (1943). In 1959, she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for The Diary of Anne Frank and another for A Patch of Blue (1965). Notable later roles included her turn as the once gorgeous, alcoholic former starlet "Fay Estabrook" in Harper (1966) and in The Poseidon Adventure (1972) as the ill-fated "Mrs. Belle Rosen", for which she received her final Oscar nomination. Viewers may notice Shelley frequently pushing her hair away from her face while swimming. She later explained that this was to show that she did her own swimming without the use of a double. (She later reunited with her Poseidon co-star, Jack Albertson in a number of episodes of Albertson's sitcom Chico and the Man during the mid-1970s.) Always conscious of her Jewish heritage—she had first learned her trade in the Borscht Belt—she donated her Oscar for Anne Frank to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

As the Associated Press reported, "During her fifty years as a widely known personality, Winters was rarely out of the news. Her stormy marriages, her romances with famous stars, her forays into politics and feminist causes kept her name before the public. She delighted in giving provocative interviews and seemed to have an opinion on everything."

That led to a second career as a writer. Though not an overwhelming beauty, her acting, wit, and "chutzpah" gave her a love life to rival Monroe's. In late life, she recalled her conquests in autobiographies so popular they undermined her reputation as a serious actor. She wrote of a yearly rendezvous she kept with William Holden, as well as her affairs with Burt Lancaster and Marlon Brando.

Winters suffered an enormous weight gain later in life, frequently stating that it was a marketing tool, since there were plenty of prominent normal-weight older actresses but fewer overweight ones, and her obesity would enable her to find work more easily. In 1973 Winters even put on a short-lived Broadway musical review entitled "The Hoofing Hollywood Heifer", co-starring Charles Nelson Reilly and Bongo, a tap-dancing chimp. Although it closed after only 8 performances, this show was applauded for its sheer campy bravado by many critics, one of whom stated that Winters was a "Whale of a Talent looking for a sea of applause big enough to rest her massive girth."

Audiences born in the 1980s knew her primarily for the autobiographies and for her television work, in which she played a humorous parody of her public persona. In a recurring role in the early 1990s, Winters played the title character's grandmother on the ABC sitcom Roseanne.

Personal life

She was married four times. Her husbands were:
  1. Capt. Mack Paul Mayer, whom she married on New Years Day, 1943; they divorced in October 1948. Mayer was unable to deal with Shelley's "Hollywood lifestyle" and wanted a traditional homemaker for a wife. Winters wore his wedding ring up until her death and kept their relationship very private.
  2. Vittorio Gassman, whom she married on April 28, 1952; they divorced on June 2, 1954. They had one child, Vittoria, a physician, who practices internal medicine at Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk, Connecticut. She was Winters' only child.
  3. Anthony Franciosa, whom she married on May 4, 1957; they divorced on November 18, 1960.
  4. Gerry DeFord, married by Sally Kirkland on January 14 2006, hours before her death.


Shortly before her death, Winters married long-time companion Gerry DeFord, with whom she had lived for nineteen years. Though Winters' daughter objected to the marriage, the actress Sally Kirkland, an ordained minister, performed the wedding ceremony for the two at Winters' deathbed. Non-denominational last rites for Winters were performed by Kirkland, a minister of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness. Winters also had a romance with Farley Granger that became a long-term friendship. She starred with him in the 1951 film, Behave Yourself!, as well as in a 1957 television production of A. J. Cronin's novel, Beyond This Place.

Winters died on January 14, 2006 of heart failure at the Rehabilitation Centre of Beverly Hills at the age of 85 a few hours after she married DeFord; she had suffered a heart attack on October 14, 2005. Ex-husband Anthony Franciosa died of a stroke five days later.

Academy Awards and nominations

Year Award Film Won?
1951Best Actress in a Leading RoleA Place in the SunNo
1959Best Actress in a Supporting RoleThe Diary of Anne FrankYes
1965Best Actress in a Supporting RoleA Patch of BlueYes
1972Best Actress in a Supporting RoleThe Poseidon AdventureNo


She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1750 Vine Street, and was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 1992.

Credits

Filmography

Television

Theater

Summer Stock Plays
  • The Taming of the Shrew (1947)
  • Born Yesterday (1950)
  • Wedding Breakfast (1955)
  • A Piece of Blue Sky (1959)
  • Two for the Seasaw (1960)
  • The Country Girl (1961)
  • A View from the Bridge (1961)
  • Days of the Dancing (1964)
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1965)

References

1. ^ [1]
2. ^ [2]
3. ^ [3]

External links

Awards
Preceded by
Wendy Hiller
for Separate Tables
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1959
for The Diary of Anne Frank
Succeeded by
Shirley Jones
for Elmer Gantry
Preceded by
Kim Stanley
for Cardinal Act of Mercy
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Miniseries or a Movie
1964
for Two is the Number
Succeeded by
Lynn Fontanne
for The Magnificent Yankee
Preceded by
Lila Kedrova
for Zorba the Greek
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1965
for A Patch of Blue
Succeeded by
Sandy Dennis
for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Preceded by
Ann-Margret
for Carnal Knowledge
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
1973
for The Poseidon Adventure
Succeeded by
Linda Blair
for The Exorcist
IMDb profile
Cry of the City is a 1948 black-and-white film noir directed by Robert Siodmak based on the novel by Henry Edward Helseth, "The Chair for Martin Rome." Veteran film noir-writer Ben Hecht worked on the film's script, but is not credited.
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|/ IMDb profile

The Diary of Anne Frank is a 1959 motion picture of the Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name, which was based on the diary of Anne Frank. It was directed by George Stevens, with a screenplay by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.
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A Patch of Blue is a 1965 Academy Award winning film directed by Guy Green about the relationship between an African American man (played by Sidney Poitier) and a blind white female teenager (Elizabeth Hartman), and the problems that plague their
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Emmy Award

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Awarded for Excellence in television
Presented by ATAS/NATAS
Country  United States
First awarded 1949
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Golden Globe Award

The Golden Globe Award
Awarded for Best in film and television programs
Presented by Hollywood Foreign Press Association
Country  United States
First awarded 1944
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The Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 1944 for a performance in a motion picture released in the previous year.
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The Poseidon Adventure is a disaster novel by Paul Gallico. It concerns the capsizing of a luxurious ocean liner, the SS Poseidon by a rogue wave in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and the desperate struggles of a handful of survivors to reach the bottom of the
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actor, actress, or player (see terminology) is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity.
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The May 8, 2007 front page of
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