Call her Mrs. Partridge, call her Marian the librarian, call her Lulu Bains. Call her by the names of any of the characters she’s played in more than five decades on the stage and big and small screens and she’s got a story about it. From her Oscar-winning turn in 1960’s Elmer Gantry
to pop culture icon in The Partridge Family
to hot-blooded grandmother in 2006’s Grandma’s Boy
, Shirley Jones is one of the coolest 73-year-olds still working.
She’s also very candid. When asked, “What were you doing before this phone call,” Jones doesn't hesitate to reply: “Having an argument.” That's followed by a laugh. I think she was relieved we didn’t talk much about The Partridge Family
. “Don’t you get tired of talking about the series over and over?” I asked her. Another honest answer: “Yes, I do.”
Shirley Jones possesses one of the prettiest faces to have ever appeared on the big (or small) screen. Her natural, girl-next-door beauty was exquisitely designed with a velvety innocence; combined with her bell-clear soprano, no wonder the dream team of Rodgers & Hammerstein scooped her up and put her under contract for Carousel
Being a squeaky-clean ingénue limited Jones, however, and when she heard about Elmer Gantry
being made, she went after the part. Sort of.
“Burt Lancaster fought for me to get that role,” she recalled of how she landed the role of Lulu Bains. “He’d seen me do Playhouse 90
on television and thought I could do the part. Of course, I wanted it! I got to play against type.” Read More | Comment »