Last night was the 36th annual Kennedy Center Honors, which pays tribute to living individuals who throughout their lifetimes have made significant contributions to American culture through the performing arts. Among the highlights was our favorite transcendental diva, Shirley MacLaine.
MacLaine says, “I see life as a creation each of us paints for ourselves. We do create our own reality in order to be aligned with our destiny.” With a career spanning more than 60 years, her destiny has made an indelible impact in the world of theater, television and film. She has earned four Best Actress Oscar nominations (including a win for Terms of Endearment), but it was her breakout performance from understudy to star in original production of The Pajama Game that started it all.
Last season fans of Downton Abbey appreciated her guest appearance as Martha Levinson and she returns again in season four. Film icon Meryl Streep credits MacLaine for giving voice to actresses of a certain age, saying, “I like that you didn’t disappear into those tricky middle years, from 45 to 65. In fact, you’re the one who cut the path for all of us because you have done some of your greatest work… in what we call ‘middle age.’ And you’re writing the template for how to have a challenging, creative later career. That gives hope to everybody, not just actors.”