Shirley MacLean Beaty arrived on April 24, 1934 in Richmond, Virginia. She graduated high school Shirley headed for New York and Broadway. She garnered a role as understudy to the star of Pajama Game. Shirley was about to leave for another Broadway show when the star broke her ankle and Shirley filled in. Three months later, Shirley filled in for the star again and Hal B. Wallis saw her perform. He signed Shirley to a five-year contract with Paramount Pictures.
She shot The Trouble with Harry in 1955 and was cast in Around the World in Eighty Days in 1956. She played Ginny Moorhead in Some Came Running in 1958 and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. She played in The Matchmaker in 1958. The Apartment in 1960 gave her a second Academy Award nomination.
In 1963 Shirley obtained a third nomination for Irma la Douce. In 1969 Shirley played a major part in the film Sweet Charity and sang If My Friends Could See Me Now. Shirley had stopped making movies for five years when she made The Other half of the Sky: A China Memoir in 1975. She received another Oscar nomination.
Her fourth Oscar nomination for The Turning Point came in 1977. She won the Oscar for Terms of Endearment in 1983. Shirley received great reviews in Steel Magnolias in1989 and rave reviews in Postcards from the Edge in 1990. She was in Guarding Tess in1994. Shirley directed Bruno in 2000 and worked with her good friends in These Old Broads in 2001. She was in Salem Witch Trials in 2002. Current films include Bewitched in 2005 and Valentine's Day in 2010.
Shirley was named after Shirley Temple and her brother is actor Warren Beatty. Shirley received the American Film Institute's life Achievement award in 2012, and she has written a book My Lucky Stars. Her second book is I'm Over that and Other Confessions. Her next book is Out on a Limb and a fourth book is Out on a Leash Exploring the Nature of Reality and Love.
Shirley was married to Steve Parker from 1954 to 1982 when they divorced. Shirley has one child. Shirley has her own website dedicated to spirituality, mediums, UFO, and the mystic.