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About Shirley


I think we all choose the paths of our lives. I knew I wanted to be a "communicator" from the very beginning. So I communicated through fifty films, many TV and stage shows and ten books. For me the search for Truth is paramount... The truth of a character I'm playing, the truth of the subject matter I write about or the truth of why we are alive and how it relates to our destiny.

I see life as a creation each of us paints for ourselves. We do create our own reality in order to be aligned with our destiny

The search then becomes a search for self. It is the most important journey we will ever take. I hope my website will aid in your search.

I'm a Taurus, born April 24, 1934, in Richmond, Virginia, to Kathlyn MacLean Beaty and Ira O. Beaty. Mother, a drama teacher, set aside her dreams of being an actress to raise her family. Daddy was also an educator and expanded my horizons with his knowledge of psychology and philosophy. They instilled in me a strong work ethic, a standard I still try my best to achieve in all I do.

"My parents made me an investigator, a revolutionary."

As a toddler I had weak ankles so Mother enrolled me in ballet class to strengthen my muscles. Ballet class really helped and about a year later I experienced my first live audience during a recital. I had on a little green costume, tripped on the curtain and fell down. That's when I got my first laugh and I liked it! From then on I wanted to perform. I was always an extrovert even though I suffered from stage fright. But then that work ethic would kick in and I knew the show had to go on.

I learned something else from them, too. They tried their best to provide fences of security and safety and place protective boundaries around my life. I couldn't stand the constraints so I learned, through their efforts, how to stretch those boundaries. My parents made me an investigator, a revolutionary, a person who wants to change because they made me jump that fence of safety.

On some level they knew I couldn't be harnessed. Mother was never a "stage mother". She never egged me on or slowed me down. I was strictly on my own. Daddy had more reservations. He wanted to protect me from the possible pain of not succeeding in my dream. He could see that I would never stop daring. And he seemed to understand that ironically he, in effect, was teaching me to dare because I saw that he was such a spectacular disappointment to himself for having never tried it.

After my junior year in high school, I went to New York to study. Auditions were being held for the revival of Oscar and Hammerstein's musical Oklahoma. I auditioned and got a part in the chorus. I knew immediately that I would be happier here than in a ballet company. I was certain I wanted musical comedy. I knew I would be good. I also knew that at 5'7" (over 6 foot on point) the only thing that I could partner with was a tree!

At the end of that summer I was offered a chance to tour with the show in Germany. Mother and Dad left the decision to me. I must have realized that I would have plenty more chances to be in show business, but only one crack at getting my high school diploma. I returned to Virginia to finish high school and continue on with my ballet training, but the lights of Broadway were in my eyes and I knew I would return.

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