Shirley MacLaine


by Jody Jacobs, interview conducted in 1996

"There's no way," says Shirley MacLaine, "Warren and I wouldn't become stars. It was bred into us by parents who were in competition with each other. One was driven to believe in success. The other was afraid of it." MacLaine's brother, Warren Beatty, the multi-talented actor-producer-director, added an extra 'T" to the family name, but the siblings share the same compulsion to over excel and overachieve.
Their mother, Kathlyn MacLean Beaty, was a drama teacher and an actress who gave up her career and settled down in Virginia to raise her family. Their father, Ira O. Beaty, was a professor of psychology and philosophy at Johns Hopkins.
Looking back on her life, Shirley realized how much "I had been motivated by living out the dreams my mother never fulfilled for herself." Her father, she believes, never took her seriously until she began writing books in the '70s. During his last illness, father and daughter grew closer, and she learned he shared her interest in metaphysics. He'd delved, she discovered, into the future with his colleagues.
MacLaine's exploration led her to write several books on her beliefs in re-incarnation, channeling, and metaphysics. She also launched a series of seminars on these subjects but has since discontinued those explaining, "I don't want to be anybody's guru."