Shirley MacLaine (born 1934) is an American film and theater actress, dancer, activist, and author. She's the older sister of Warren Beatty. She made her film debut in 1955, in the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Trouble with Harry. She also appeared in the 1956 version of Around the World in Eighty Days, The Apartment and Being There. In 1983 she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Terms of Endearment, and has been nominated five other times. She's well-known for her beliefs in new age spirituality and reincarnation. She has written a large number of autobiographical works, many dealing with her spiritual beliefs.
In January 2012 it's been announced she will play Elizabeth McGovern's mother in the third season of ITV's Downton Abbey.