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Shirley MacLaine

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Illustration by Jody Hewgill

Illustration by Jody Hewgill

Shirley MacLaine has lived a lot in her 78 years. She also famously insists that she’s lived centuries more in past lives.

Outrageously outspoken with a rapier wit, the Academy Award-winning actress, singer, and dancer is a Hollywood powerhouse. As a best-selling author, she’s fascinated us with her mystical preoccupation in everything from reincarnation to psychics and spirit guides. Even skeptics agree that her exploration of the far-out is an entertaining ride. Whether guesting on a talk show or walking the red carpet she always manages to get a gasp along with the laughs at her no-holds-barred one-liners.

MacLaine hasn’t given a thought to retiring or even slowing down—why should she? Her deliciously nasty turn as an old woman a small town loves to hate in Bernie, opposite Jack Black, earned rave reviews. Her latest book of witty observations, I’m Over All That: And Other Confessions, shows how she winks at looking back and looking forward.

And now she’s got a juicy co-starring role in the hugely popular Emmy-winning Masterpiece series Downton Abbey, as Lady Cora’s mother Martha Levinson, who arrives from New York to upset the household. That, of course, pits her against another icon of the big screen, Dame Maggie Smith, who plays the fearsome Dowager Countess Violet Crawley.

As we move forward in the new year, who better than MacLaine to give us a little perspective in her own irresistibly humorous and thought-provoking style?

View our exclusive Q&A with MacLaine on the next page.

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