Shelley Winters

Shelley Winters
Ray Jones / Universal


Shelley Winters
Film: East side of the 1700 block of Vine Street
Born Shirley Schrift on Aug. 18, 1920 in St. Louis, MO
Died Jan. 14, 2006 of heart failure in Rehabilitation Centre of Beverly Hills, CA

Shelley Winters, a blond bombshell of the 1940s, evolved into a character actress best remembered for her roles as victims, shrews and matrons.

After years on studio contract playing negligible parts, she got a break in George Cukor's 1947 film, "A Double Life," in which she played a waitress who was murdered by Ronald Colman.

Four years later, she became a full-fledged star as the dowdy factory girl that Montgomery Clift lets drown to be with the beautiful, rich Elizabeth Taylor in George Stevens' "A Place in the Sun." Winters was nominated but did not win a best actress Oscar for the portrayal.

But Winters did win in the best supporting actress category for her roles as Mrs. Van Daan in Stevens' "The Diary of Anne Frank" (1959) and Rose-Ann D'Arcy, the abusive mother who tries to turn her blind daughter into a prostitute in "A Patch of Blue" (1965).

Among her other films was the well-regarded "The Night of the Hunter," which starred Robert Mitchum and was the only film directed by actor Charles Laughton, a mentor with whom she also studied Shakespeare.

Late in her career, Winters became a favorite on late-night talk show programs, beloved for her sense of humor and saltiness. She provided Johnny Carson one of the most memorable moments on "The Tonight Show" when she dumped a glass of water over the head of English actor Oliver Reed, who had annoyed her with an anti-feminist remark.

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1951 Best Actress A Place in the Sun Nomination
    1959 Best Supporting Actress The Diary of Anne Frank Win
    1965 Best Supporting Actress A Patch of Blue Win
    1972 Best Supporting Actress The Poseidon Adventure Nomination

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