15 January 2006

Shelley Winters (1920 - 2006)

Oscar Winner Shelley Winters Dies

Two-time Oscar winner Shelley Winters has died of heart failure at the age of 85, her publicist Dale Olson has said.

She died at a Beverly Hills nursing home early on Saturday, having suffered a heart attack in October.

Winters, who won Oscars for The Diary of Anne Frank and A Patch of Blue, was best known for her role in 1972 disaster movie The Poseidon Adventure.

She was equally famous for her romances with some of Hollywood's leading men including Errol Flynn and Clark Gable.

Monroe's roommate
Winters' career spans six decades, beginning with an uncredited part in 1943's What a Woman!

A roommate of the young Marilyn Monroe, her ex-husbands include the actors Anthony Franciosa and Vittorio Gassman, with whom she had a daughter Vittoria.

Her other films include Stanley Kubrick's Lolita, Alfie with Michael Caine and The Night of the Hunter with Robert Mitchum.

Her last film appearance was in 1999's La Bomba.

But she continued working well into her 70s, starring as Roseanne's grandmother on the 1990s TV programme "Roseanne".

In the 1980s Winters wrote two autobiographies Shelley, Also Known as Shirley and Shelley II: The Middle of My Century in which she detailed her relationships with a string of Hollywood A-listers including, Marlon Brando, Burt Lancaster and William Holden.

The books became bestsellers, but her trademark frankness meant that talk show hosts "only want to know about my love affairs," Winters later said.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/01/14 20:51:46 GMT



Obituary: Shelley Winters

Most people will remember Shelley Winters playing brash and blowsy characters, but earlier in her career she was cast in more glamorous roles.

She was born Shirley Schrift in East St Louis, Illinois, one of America's most impoverished cities.

But she was brought up in New York, where her family had moved so that her father, a tailor's cutter, could be nearer to the city's garment industry.

As a teenager, she paid for acting lessons by working as a model and chorus girl before making her Broadway debut in the comedy, The Night Before Christmas, in 1941.

Film breakthrough

Two years later, having adopted her mother's maiden name, she was in Hollywood. But she played minor roles in several films before attracting attention in the 1947 production, A Double Life, in which she played a "good-time" waitress strangled by a deranged Ronald Colman.

Winters was destined to be a murder victim in many future roles. In 1951, one of them, the factory girl drowned by her seducer, Montgomery Clift, in A Place in the Sun, established her reputation and earned her an Academy Award nomination.

But although she was now given more prominent roles, they were not always satisfying ones, and in 1955 Winters went back to the Broadway stage for several years.

She returned to Hollywood three years later and, determined to realise her full potential, worked at the studio during the day and studied with one of cinema's outstanding actors, Charles Laughton, at night and at weekends.

A plumper Winters, targeting less glamorous roles, was swiftly rewarded by an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Diary of Anne Frank. She donated her Oscar to the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam.

Drowning roles

But in 1965, a second Oscar for Best Supporting Actress came her way for the film, A Patch of Blue.

A year later, Winters made her mark as one of Michael Caine's numerous liaisons in Alfie.

Winters earned another Oscar nomination in 1972 for the disaster movie, The Poseidon Adventure. Having drowned in at least two previous films, she played a former underwater swimming champion who had once held her breath for nearly three minutes.

In the 1970s, she made several appearances on Broadway, while the 1980s saw the publication of two best-selling volumes of her autobiography.

As expected, they made lively reading. As early as 1950, when she co-starred with James Stewart in Winchester '73, Shelley Winters' abrasive attitude was evident. When filming was completed, the normally mild-mannered Stewart said Winters should have been spanked.

Her television appearances spanned several decades, but her outspoken language and opinions made her a censor's nightmare on chat shows. On "The Tonight Show" in America, she responded to a sexist remark by the equally outrageous Oliver Reed by pouring a drink over his head.

Divorced four times, Shelley Winters might have ruffled a few feathers in her industry, but won plaudits as an actress and, as a long-standing member of the Actors' Studio, was one of her industry's most-respected coaches.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/01/14 20:15:32 GMT


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