Monday, November 12, 2007

Shelley Winters

Life Magazine, 1949

“I think on-stage nudity is disgusting, shameful and damaging to all things American. But if I were 22 with a great body, it would be artistic, tasteful, patriotic and a progressive religious experience.”
- Shelley Winters

The two-time Academy Award winning actress was a fair bit larger in her later years but had an excellent sense of humor about her physique.


  1. That is one of my favorite quotes of hers. I just LOVE her.

  2. Me, too! I really want to read her autobiographies. They're supposed to be scandalous and funny.

  3. Oh you have to read her autobiographies! They are fantastic, juicy - and you cannot stop reading!

    My favorite Shelley Winters story is one from her more recent years, when she was more of a grande dame than an up and coming starlet. It was in the last 15 years or so. And a director, a young up and coming director, wanted her to be in his movie ... and he made the mistake (which I am sure he will never make again!!) of asking her to read for the part. He asked her to come into his office to audition.

    So Shelley, in full regalia - the hat, the bags, etc. - she always looked so crazy!! - shows up at his office. She is carrying an enormous duffel bag. She sits down in the office opposite from the director. Before he gets a chance to speak, she opens the bag, reaches in, takes out one Oscar statuette and plops it down on the desk. Before he can respond, she reaches back into the bag, takes out ANOTHER Oscar statuette and plops it down on the desk next to the other one. And then she said to him, "Do you still want me to audition?"

    He gave her the part immediately. !!!!!

    To folks not in show business that might seem like an obnoxious story ... but to me it is gorgeous. Asking Shelley Winters to audition would be like asking Bill Gates to take a typing test for a new position. At a certain point, you do not need to audition. It's not that you automatically get parts ... but you no longer have to prove that you know how to act, or play a scene, or make things work. Either give it to me or don't.

    I just love how she handled it though!! Brilliant.

    I was lucky enough to meet Shelley Winters and take an acting workshop with her in the late 90s. She was just what you would imagine. Funny, loving, generous, insane ... and a total BLAST.

  4. I LOVE that story. She definitely always seemed to me to be one of those people who would have actually been just as amazing as in person as all the stories about her. Which is really so rare. I am floored that you were fortunate enough to have met her. That is AMAZING.