Tribute to Shirley MacLaine: Eric McCormack

Shirley MacLaine will receive the 2017 KCET Cinema Series Lumière Award, honoring MacLaine’s illustrious career. KCET will also broadcast "Hollywood Idols Shirley MacLaine: Kicking Up Her Heels" that features acclaimed directors and actors discussing their experiences working with MacLaine on Saturday, March 4 at 7 p.m.

eric mccormack shirley maclaine
Eric McCormack and Shirley MacLaine


When Kristin Davis and I signed up for the Hallmark Hall of Fame's "A Heavenly Christmas" in the fall, the last thing we expected to hear was, "Oh, and the Angel is being played by Shirley MacLaine." Now, there was a name on my bucket list!

When I met her outside the makeup trailer, I told her what an honor it was. "I'm playing an angel," she replied, "can you believe it?" I said, "I think it's brave of them to cast against type." She punched me really hard in the arm. Love at first sight.  

Of course, I'd loved her in "The Apartment" and "Terms of Endearment," but the one I was dying to talk to her about was "Being There."  The bedroom scene, where Shirley, uh, pleasures herself all over Peter Sellers, while he stares, unmoved, at the TV, is my favorite example of how something can be really funny and really sexy at the same time.

When I brought it up she said, "Ya know, Olivier was offered the Mervyn Douglas part. He called me up and said, 'Please tell me you're not doing that vulgar bedroom scene. I won't do the film if that scene is in.'  And I said, 'God damn right I'm doing it! Bye, Larry.'" 

Now imagine her telling that story dressed as an angel.  A heavenly broad, she is.

We are dedicated to providing you with articles like this one. Show your support with a tax-deductible contribution to KCET. After all, public media is meant for the public. It belongs to all of us.

Keep Reading