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In many ways, Shirley MacLaine is still a hardworking young ballerina growing up in Arlington, Virginia.
MacLaine, a lifelong dancer, started ballet when she was three years old in an effort to strengthen her weak ankles. She was just 16 when she landed a summer gig as a chorus girl in “Oklahoma!” on Broadway. She’s been a Hollywood heavy hitter ever since.
More than 60 years after leaving her childhood home for the bright lights of New York City, MacLaine credits her career longevity to the lessons she learned as a dancer.
“Even though I tell people the truth, I’m not a diva,” the 86-year-old Oscar-winner recently told Variety. “That comes from my three-year-old ballet training. I’ve got to go all the way back to that and just hard, honest work, with quite a bit of art, if you can muster it, thrown in.”