She took the accent she had planned for Aurora in TERMS OF ENDEARMENT and gave it to Ouiser in STEEL MAGNOLIAS. Being a woman without a man was good luck for Shirley MacLaine onscreen. She won her Oscar for playing a widow in TERMS OF ENDEARMENT. She made her film debut playing a young widow in Hitchcock's THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY (1955). Off-camera, she told me that making the 1955 comedy, ARTISTS AND MODELS, was like being in a war zone. The stars, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, were very close to the break-up of their successful comedy movie partnership. She said that they were yelling at each other a lot on the set.
Actress Lee Remick reportedly was who director Mike Nichols wanted to play the Hollywood movie star mom in POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE with its screenplay by Carrie Fisher, adapted from her novel of the same name. Sadly, Lee Remick was suffering from cancer and couldn't do it. The part was available and Carrie's mom, Debbie Reynolds, wanted it. But Shirley MacLaine got the part and played the movie star mom character based on Debbie Reynolds. When I mentioned that irony in our VH1 interview, Shirley chuckled and replied, "Karma."