Who is Shirley Jones?

American actress and singer Shirley Mae Jones was born in Charleroi, Pennsylvania USA, on 31 March 1934, making Aries her zodiac sign. She has 109 acting credits, but is probably still known best for playing Marian Paroo, one of the lead characters in the 1962 family comedy movie “The Music Man”, which also starred Buddy Hackett and Robert Preston, and was directed by Morton DaCosta. It follows a con artist who’s arrived in a small town in Iowa and is posing as a boys’ band leader; the movie won six of its 18 award nominations, including an Oscar win for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment.

Despite her age, Shirley’s still today active in the film industry, and is currently shooting for the upcoming movie “Beyond Legend Johnny Kakota”.

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Education and early life

Shirley was raised in Charleroi by her father Paul Jones and mother Marjorie (nee Williams) who were Methodists and owners of the Jones Brewing Company; Shirley’s of British descent, as her paternal grandfather was from Wales, and she was named after the late American actress, singer and dancer Shirley Temple Black.

The family eventually moved to Smithton, Pennsylvania and Shirley began singing with the Methodist Church choir, was taught by Ralph Lewando. She studied at South Huntington High School in the nearby city of Ruffs Dale and was 16 when she made her debut TV series appearance, playing a supporting character in the 1950 episode “Hired Girl” of the drama “Fireside Theatre”; Shirley’s since been consistently active in the film industry.

She was crowned Miss Pittsburgh in 1952, and matriculated in the same year; she then chose to pursue acting rather than a college degree.

Roles in TV series

Shirley appeared in an episode of a couple of series in the ‘50s, including the drama “Gruen Guild Theater”, the action drama “Dark of Night” and the mystery “Rebound”.

She also appeared in an episode of only a couple of series in the ‘60s, such as “The Comedy Spot”, the comedy “Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre” and the drama “Premiere”.

From 1970 through 1974, Shirley starred as Shirley Partridge in all 96 episodes of the musical comedy “The Partridge Family”, which also starred David Cassidy and Susan Dey, and was created by Bernard Slade. It follows a family of pop musicians, and the series won two of its 12 award nominations. Some of her roles in the remainder of the decade were in the crime mystery “McMillan & Wife”, the drama “Evening in Byzantium” and the comedy “Shirley”.

Some of Shirley’s TV series roles in the ‘80s were in the family adventure “The Magical World of Disney”, the romantic comedy “The Love Boat” and the sports comedy “The Slap Maxwell Story”.

What marked the ‘90s for her was perhaps playing Celia in three episodes (1998-1999) of the comedy “The Drew Carey Show”, which starred and was created by Drew Carey, and follows the life of a comedian; the series aired from 1995 through 2004 and won 11 of its 28 award nominations.

In 2006, Shirley starred as Grace Foster in all 15 episodes of the drama “Monarch Cove”, which also starred Kieren Hutchison and Virginia Williams, and follows Bianca Foster who’s been released from prison after having spent six years behind bars, and has now fallen in love with an engaged man.

Shirley’s since appeared in only a couple of TV series, with her three most recent roles having been in a 2014 episode of the soap opera “General Hospital”, two episodes of the 2014 short animated adventure mini-series “Over the Garden Wall” (voice role), and the 2016 episode “Grandparents Day” of the comedy “Childrens Hospital”.

Roles in movies

Shirley’s debut film role was playing Laurey Williams in the 1955 musical comedy “Oklahoma!”, while the remainder of the decade saw her appear in the 1956 fantasy musical “Carousel”, the 1957 musical comedy “April Love”, and the 1959 musical comedy “Never Steal Anything Small”.

In 1960 Shirley appeared in the drama movie “Elmer Gantry”. 1964 saw her play Janet Walker in the comedy “Bedtime Story”, which starred Marlon Brando and David Niven, and was directed by Ralph Levy; it follows the lives of two scam artists. Some of Shirley’s notable performances in the remainder of the ‘60s were in the 1965 comedy “Fluffy”, the 1965 horror comedy “The Secret of My Success” and the 1969 romantic drama “Silent Night, Lonely Night”.

What marked the ‘70s for her was perhaps portraying Gina Rowe in the 1979 action adventure “Beyond the Poseidon Adventure”, which starred Michael Caine and Sally Field, and was directed by Irwin Allen. It follows a group of adventurers as they’re searching a sunken ship for treasure – the movie was nominated for only a single award.

Shirley had only a couple of film roles in the ‘80s, including in the 1981 romantic drama “Inmates: A Love Story”, the 1984 action comedy “Tank”, and the 1989 crime action “Charlie”.

She had only three film roles in the ‘90s, appearing in the 1997 family fantasy comedy “Dog’s Best Friend”, the 1998 romantic comedy “Gideon”, and the 2000 comedy “Ping!”

Shirley played Grace in the popular 2006 comedy “Grandma’s Boy”, which starred Linda Cardellini and Allen Covert, and was directed by Nicholaus Goossen. It follows a 35 years old video game tester who’s just moved in with his grandmother and her two friends – the film was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actor of the Decade (Rob Schneider).

Shirley’s three most recent movie roles have been in the 2016 romantic fantasy “The Irresistible Blueberry Farm”, the 2018 adventure family comedy “Eco-Teens Save the World!” and the 2021 western “Forgiven This Gun4hire”.

Other credits

Shirley received special thanks for the 2001 romantic comedy movie “My First Mister” and the 2018 short film “Ashen Lit Box Set”.

Some of her recent talk-show appearances have been in “Entertainment Tonight”, “What’s Up Orange County”, and “What’s Up Now”.

Awards and nominations

Shirley’s won seven of her 24 award nominations, including a 1961 Oscar win for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, for her performance in the 1960 drama movie “Elmer Gantry”.

Some of her other wins include a 1960 National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress for “Elmer Gantry”, a 1999 Temecula Valley International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, and a 2007 MovieGuide Award for Most Inspiring Performance in Television, for “Hidden Places”.

Shirley was honored with her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 14 February 1986.

Love life and husband

Shirley’s been married twice and has three children. Her first husband was the late American actor and singer John Joseph Edward ‘Jack’ Cassidy; he appeared in 75 movies and TV series, and is perhaps still remembered best for his portrayal of Miles Mellough in the 1975 crime action thriller movie “The Eiger Sanction”. Shirley and Jack married on 5 August 1956, and she became pregnant around a month later, however, Shirley was persuaded by her agent to have an abortion so that she could continue working on her career; she’s stated that the abortion is one of her biggest regrets.

She gave birth to their first son Shaun Cassidy on 27 September 1958, their second son Patrick Cassidy followed on 4 January 1962, and their third son Ryan Cassidy on 23 February 1966. She and Jack divorced in 1975, mostly because he was suffering from bipolar disorder; he died when his penthouse apartment caught fire on 12 December 1976.

Shirley married her second husband Marty Ingels on 13 November 1977, a famous American actor and comedian. She filed for divorce in 2002 but then withdrew the filing; the marriage ended when Marty died on 21 October 2015.

Shirley’s unattached as of June 2023, and has three sons with her first husband Jack Cassidy.

Interesting facts and hobbies

One of Shirley’s best friends was the late American actor and singer Gordon MacRae, and she admits that she had a crush on him; she was also good friends with the late American actress Suzanne J. Crough and was devastated when she died on 27 April 2015.

She’s a huge lover of animals and is a supporter of the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Shirley published her book “Shirley Jones: A Memoir” in 2013, and in it revealed that she was 21 when she lost her virginity to her first husband Jack Cassidy.

All her three sons were delivered via Cesarean section.

Shirley enjoys donating to charity organizations which aim to help underprivileged children.

She’s interested in politics.

Shirley was once physically highly active, and swam on a daily basis.

Height, eyes and wealth

Shirley’s age is 89. She has blue eyes and grey hair, is 5ft 5ins (1.65m) tall and weighs around 125lbs (57kgs).

Shirley’s net worth’s been estimated at over $5 million, as of June 2023.

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