Academy-award winner. Acclaimed author. Truth-seeker. Shirley MacLaine has many titles that can be attached to her name, and this Friday, one more will be added to the list: VPAC performer.
On May 6, the internationally-known entertainer will visit the CSUN campus to perform her one-woman act, entitled “An Evening with Shirley Maclaine: Award Winning Hollywood Icon.”
In the show, MacLaine invites the audience to reminisce with her as she looks back at her illustrious career as an actress and dancer. She will provide an insider’s perspective to a montage of her film moments, acting as the liaison between the spectators and the performers.
“People are really interested in what went on in the old days, because now it’s all about the red carpet and what designer dress, and how they can make their performance better in the studio,” MacLaine said. “In the old days, we used to really do it. My audiences love to hear those stories.”
During the evening, MacLaine will also share personal and spiritual revelations in the witty candor for which she is known.
In the spirit of coming to the CSUN campus, MacLaine had a few words of advice for today’s youth, and true to form, she didn’t mince words.
“Brush up on your work ethic. I don’t know what it is, but it’s so dissipated,” MacLaine said. “Work ethic is extremely important. It’s interesting, because I think the work ethic all over the human race is dissipated, and I can’t figure out why.”
MacLaine is in the middle of promoting her 12th and latest book titled, “I’m Over All That.” The book, which was released in April, is comprised of reflections on the annoyances of life that she no longer worries about, along with some things she’ll never be “over.”
The idea came about during a lunch meeting with her editor, who began throwing around topics for a new book. When MacLaine repeatedly responded, “No, I’m over all that,” he finally said, “Well, there’s your title. Now write the book.”
She humorously and openly discusses the issues of religion, politics and the value of good lighting. In the section titled “I Can’t Remember if I’m Over Memory Loss” she writes that the secret to happiness is “good health and bad memory.”
The book reflects the attitude of someone who seems happy and comfortable in her own skin. When asked what the best part of aging is, her response was one of relief.
“It’s more fun and more fantastic. I’m comfortable being irritable,” she said. “Life itself is such a joke. Why not just step up to the plate and say so?”
Over the years, MacLaine has been all over the globe, and while she mentions that traveling was once one of her greatest passions, she’s now content with “being still.”
“The way I have fun is different for me now,” she said. “I have fun with the simplest things, with the simplest food, with a simple but deep point of view.”
While MacLaine made her professional debut dancing in a Broadway revival of “Oklahoma!”, she is best known for her work in more than 50 films over the span of her five decade long career.
She has been nominated for multiple Academy Awards, Emmys and Golden Globes, and in 1983, MacLaine won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Her latest film to hit theaters was the 2010 romantic comedy Valentine’s Day. She can next be seen in “Bernie,” where she’ll be acting alongside Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey.
She is well-known for her relentless pursuit of truth. She has long questioned the deep mysteries of spirituality, life’s meaning and the divine.
“It’s something everyone has to find. There is no one truth, and there’s no one solution,” she said. “The bigger question is do you know your self, and that becomes your operative truth.”
So, as a septuagenarian who has experienced much of what the world has to offer, does Shirley MacLaine know herself yet?
“Of course not!” MacLaine laughed. “I have to live many more lifetimes to really know who I am. No one ever gets to the end of it. That’s what’s interesting about life. It’s all the questions you ask, and the answers are just springboards for more questions.”