Shirley MacLaine Fast Facts

Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson in Downtown Abbey.

(CNN)Here is a look at the famous singer, dancer, best-selling author and Oscar-winning actress, Shirley MacLaine.

Personal:
Birth date:
April 24, 1934
Birth place: Richmond, Virginia
    Birth name: Shirley MacLean Beaty
    Father: Ira O. Beaty, school administrator
    Mother: Kathlyn (MacLean) Beaty, drama teacher
    Marriage: Steve Parker (1954-1982, divorced)
    Children: Stephanie Sachiko Parker (Sachi), 1956
    Other Facts:
    Nominated for six Academy Awards and won one.
    Nominated for six Primetime Emmy Awards and won one.
    Her brother is actor and director Warren Beatty.
    Has said she believes in reincarnation and UFO's.
    Is named after the child star Shirley Temple.
    Was an honorary member of the group of actors known as the "Rat Pack."
    Timeline:
    1950s -
    Performs in a "subway circuit" production of "Oklahoma."
    May 28, 1953 - Makes Broadway debut in "Me and Juliet" as a member of the chorus.
    1954 - As the understudy for star Carol Haney in "The Pajama Game" on Broadway, MacLaine gets her big break after the lead actress hurts her ankle. Hollywood producer Hal Wallis is impressed by MacLaine's performance and offers her a film contract.
    1955 - Makes her film debut in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Trouble with Harry." Also co-stars with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in "Artists and Models."
    1955-1971 - Stars in close to 25 movies, including "Some Came Running" in 1958, "The Apartment" in 1960, "Irma La Douce" in 1963, and "Sweet Charity" in 1969.
    1960s - Supports Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign, protests the Vietnam War and advocates for civil rights.
    January 1, 1970 - MacLaine's memoir, "Don't Fall Off the Mountain," is published. It's the first of 14 books penned by the actress.
    1971-1972 - Helps Democrat George McGovern campaign for president.
    1973 - Spends three weeks in China leading an all-female delegation on a tour sanctioned by the Communist government. She makes an Oscar-nominated 1975 documentary about the trip, "The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir."
    September 11, 1977 - Wins a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Comedy, Variety or Music, for her role in "Gypsy in my Soul."
    1978 - Visits Fidel Castro at the Presidential palace in Havana while on a trip to Cuba. After telling him that she liked his uniform, he gives her a replica of one of his uniforms, according to MacLaine's memoir, "My Lucky Stars."
    1984 - Wins the Oscar for Best Actress for her role as Aurora Greenway in "Terms of Endearment."
    1994 - Walks nearly 500 miles across Spain on a spiritual pilgrimage called El Camino de Santiago. During her month-long solo journey, MacLaine sleeps in shelters and begs for food. She chronicles the trek in her book, "The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit."
    2011 - Receives France's most prestigious award for the arts, the Legion of Honor.
    2012-2013 - Portrays a fashionable New Yorker on the hit show, "Downton Abbey."
    December 8, 2013 - Receives the Kennedy Center Honors for her achievements in the performing arts.