Jones moved from Smithton, Pennsylvania, to New York to pursue her dream of performing. Her first professional audition was for the chorus of South Pacific, where she sang for Rodgers and Hammerstein, who immediately recognized her innate talent. Her first stage appearance was as one of the nurses in the Broadway musical South Pacific. She then went on to a small role in Me and Juliet, where she faired so well that she played the lead in the national tour. During that tour, Rodgers and Hammerstein arranged for Shirley to fly to Hollywood for a screen test for the role of Laurey in the movie version of Oklahoma; months later, she was given the career altering part.
In 1960, Jones won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her powerful portrayal of Lulu Bains in the American classic Elmer Gantry, directed by Richard Brooks and starring Jones and Burt Lancaster. Jones portrayed Marion in the movie version of Meredith Wilson's The Music Man, in which she co-starred with Robert Preston; the film was one of Columbia Picture's biggest moneymakers and one of Jones' proudest achievements.
In television, Shirley starred in The Partridge Family as the matriarch of the family's successful rock and roll band. She then had a series of television movie specials, including Silent Night, Lonely Night, co-starring Lloyd Bridges, for which she received an Emmy nomination. She also received a nomination for her work in There Were Times, Dear. In 1979, she starred in a weekly television series Shirley.
Shirley met her husband, TV producer Marty Ingels, in 1974 at an art exhibit on the lawn of the late actor Michael Landon's house. They married three years later and tell their entire story in the 1989 autobiography, Shirley and Marty, An Unlikely Love Story.
In the past few years, Shirley has been busy performing in concert around the world. She has also made guest appearances on such popular network shows as The Drew Carey Show, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch and That '70s Show. She has also starred in several feature films, including Raising Genius, the gentle comedy Ping, the horror spoof "Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth and the crime comedy Manna From Heaven," which boasts a lineup of Oscar-winning actresses (Jones, Louise Fletcher and Cloris Leachman).
Read earlier biographies on this page.
Shirley Jones Facts
|Birth Name||Shirley Mae Jones|
|Birthday||March 31, 1934 (84)|
|Birthplace||Charleroi, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Height||5' 8" (1m73) How tall is Shirley Jones compared to you?|
|Awards||1961 Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress (for Elmer Gantry)|
|Waiting In The Wings|
|Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason|
|The Music Man|
|Grandma's Boy UNRATED|
|The House on Pine Street|
|The Partridge Family|