Tag Archives: shelley winters

TCM SUMMER UNDER THE STARS 2015 – August 31: Shelley Winters

shelley winters
“I have bursts of being a lady, but it doesn’t last long.”
~Shelley Winters


This is the first blogathon I have ever participated in. And when I saw Shelley Winters being honored, I knew I had to write something deserving of the woman’s talent. The blogathon has been taking place here all month. If you are interested, you should check out some of the amazing profiles and reviews!

shelley winters a patch of blue oscar
Shelley Winters with her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for A Patch of Blue (1965)

I have always thought of Shelley Winters as an actress with an enormous talent, but one of those actresses you would file under the “underrated” category. As I am sure many people of my generation (I’m in my mid-20s) have experienced, Shelley Winters first showed up on my TV screen as that awesomely fun grandma in the 1990s television series Roseanne. Only in my late teens did I discover this same woman was in quite a few films in her heyday. She had an impressive roster stretching from A Place in the Sun and The Night of the Hunter to Lolita and A Patch of Blue. She was often cast as a pathetic lover or wife that you can’t help but feel sorry for. She may not have a happy ending, but she makes a big impression. But in other roles, she can be unlikeable or sometimes downright despicable. Her role as Rose-Ann in A Patch of Blue is a perfect example of this. She is loud, obnoxious, flat-out racist, cruel with a devilish heart. She is a terrible influence on her poor blind daughter and doesn’t seem to care what she has done to the vulnerable girl. And yet we are still fans of Shelley after this hard-to-watch performance, aren’t we?

robert mitchum shelley winters the night of the hunter 1955
Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters in The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Miss Winter had an amazing ability of bringing us all into her soul. We can feel her emotions and feel her pain. In The Night of the Hunter, she is pitiably married to one of the scariest characters I have ever encountered in a movie, Robert Mitchum’s Rev. Harry Powell. He is downright frightening and Shelley’s character is incredibly acquiescing. It isn’t difficult to subdue her character, as with her sad relationship with Montgomery Clift in A Place in the Sun. He constantly attempts to get rid of her once he has found the beauty of Elizabeth Taylor, and once again, she comes to a pathetic end. Such is not the life of Shelley in pictures, however. She could also play strong women. Rose-Ann was strong. Mrs. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank was strong. No, they were not necessarily the heroes of the story. They were even contemptible. But if there was one thing Shelley was not, it was ordinary.

shelley winters vittorio gassman
Shelley Winters and second husband Vittorio Gassman

She would never have taken a role—I’m sure of it—because it was showy and glamorous. She had many roles with some real meat to them. I have not seen the majority of her films, but I would love to. I highly recommend all the films I’ve mentioned here and I am certain there are many more that should be given their due fame. Who could forget her creepy and disturbing performance as the title character in What’s the Matter with Helen? co-starring Debbie Reynolds? It’s not the best film in the world, but somehow the song Goody Goody, used several times in the film, still gives me the creeps. I imagine Debbie Reynolds posing like a puppet with blood running down her face while this seemingly happy song plays.

shelley winters color
Shelley Winters, circa 1951

This two-time Oscar winner (playing not so likeable characters in A Patch of Blue and The Diary of Anne Frank) is one to be remembered for ages. She is not the first name that comes to mind when reflecting on the great films of the 1950s and 1960s, but she is a unique sparkle in the eye of classic film.

shelley winters funny autobiography
Shelley Winters being her fun self while signing copies of her autobiography

Classic Actress Tournament 2015 – Round 1, Part 2

Here are the results of Round 1, Part 1:
Winner: DEBBIE REYNOLDS 46-6 vs. Lena Horne
debbie reynolds
Winner: CYD CHARISSE 33-17 vs. Kathryn Grayson
cyd charisse
Winner: JUDY HOLLIDAY 35-17 vs. Jane Powell
judy holliday
Winner: JUNE ALLYSON 42-9 vs. Dorothy Dandridge
june allyson
Winner: AUDREY HEPBURN 46-5 vs. Anna Magnani
audrey hepburn
Winner: DEBORAH KERR 39-15 vs. Sophia Loren
deborah kerr
Winner: GRACE KELLY 42-11 vs. Lee Remick
grace kelly
Winner: SUSAN HAYWARD 35-20 vs. Lana Turner
susan haywardNow we start the second part of round 1!
These are the links to vote in the other decades:
Here are the matches to take place on this blog…. you can vote in the sidebar:


Eleanor Parker
Born 1922
Known for: The Sound of Music
VS Carroll Baker
Born 1931
Known for: Baby Doll
Gloria Grahame
Born 1923
Known for: Oklahoma!
VS Eva Marie Saint
Born 1924
Known for: North by Northwest
Joanne Woodward
Born 1930
Known for: The Three Faces of Eve
VS Jennifer Jones
Born 1919
Known for: The Song of Bernadette
Kim Novak
Born 1933
Known for: Vertigo
VS Anne Baxter
Born 1923
Known for: All About Eve


Doris Day
Born 1922
Known for: The Man Who Knew Too Much
VS Shirley Booth
Born 1898
Known for: Come Back, Little Sheba
Thelma Ritter
Born 1902
Known for: Rear Window
VS Jane Russell
Born 1921
Known for: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Marilyn Monroe
Born 1926
Known for: Some Like it Hot
VS Shelley Winters
Born 1920
Known for: Lolita
Janet Leigh
Born 1927
Known for: Psycho
VS Sandra Dee
Born 1942
Known for: Imitation of Life