"In Hollywood, all the marriages are happy. It's trying to live together afterwards that causes all the problems
."- Shelley Winters
Shelley Schrift (Winters) was born on August 18, 1922 in East St. Louis, Illinois to Rose and Jonas Schrift. After her family moved to New York when she was young, Winters took acting lessons at the Actors Studio. She had brief jobs as a model and a chorus girl, and her Broadway debut was in "The Night Before Christmas" in 1940. She signed a contract with Columbia in 1943 and after a few so-so roles in films, she finally gained some popularity in the movie "A Double Life" in 1947.
As she began to star in more films, Winters became known for her bratty attitude off-set. James Stewart, after working with her, once said that she should have been spanked. This did not prevent her from getting a role in "A Place in the Sun" opposite Montgomery Clift, in which she received an Oscar nomination for. Winters was also constantly battling weight problems throughout her career. Her rotundity did land her the role as Mrs. Van Daan in "The Diary of Anne Frank" in 1959, however, which she won an Oscar for.
In the years following she continued to star in both good and awful films. She was called a censor's nightmare whenever she visited on talk shows- she did not like being ignored, she said. She once poured a drink over Oliver Reed's head after he made a sexist remark on the "Tonight Show."
Winters was married to Paul Miller from 1942 to 1952, Vittorio Gassman from 1952 to 1954, and then Anthony Franciosa from 1957 to 1960. Her daughter is Vittoria Gassman, and she is the grandmother to Laura Dern. Winters continued to star in good movies, such as "The Portrait of a Lady" in 1996 and "Heavy" in 1995, until her death on January 14, 2006.
Other film credits include:
"City on Fire"
"The Poseidon Adventure"
"What's the Matter with Helen?"
"A Patch of Blue"
"The Three Sisters"
"Wives and Lovers"
"A House is Not a Home"
"He Ran all the Way"
"Take One False Step"
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