#96 Shelley Winters

10 01 2011

Shirley Schrift was born in 1920 in St. Louis, but her family moved to Brooklyn when she was three.  Tony Curtis was her cousin.  A serious craftswoman, she won wide respect and two Oscars with her ability to set aside vanity and focus on character.  She comes to mind here first for Night of the Hunter, directed by Charles Laughton, whom she credited as her best acting teacher.  Also consider: Take One False Step, The Mad Room, What’s the Matter with Helen?, Something to Hide, Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?, The Devil’s Daughter, Poor Pretty Eddie, Journey Into Fear, The Tenant, Gran Bollito, Tentacles, Pete’s Dragon, The Initiation of Sarah, The Visitor, Witchfire, Purple People Eater, The Silence of the Hams, and Raging Angels. She wrote two spectacular tell-all autobiographies, and once dumped a bucket of ice water over Oliver Reed on The Tonight Show.  She died in 2006.

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