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A beloved character actor with a career spanning decades, Shelley Winters was born Shelley Schrift in St. Louis, Missouri in 1920. The young Winters took an interest in acting almost as soon as she could talk, and by her teens, she was saving money to take acting classes. She would begin modeling at age 16, and while taking acting classes at The New School, she landed her first Broadway role in 1941 in "The Night Before Christmas." Using her mother's maiden name Winters almost from the very beginning, the young actor would establish herself as a major force on the Broadway stage over the next few years, co-starring in "Rosalinda" and "Oklahoma!" before eventually relocating to Hollywood. Though her first film role would be a forgettable appearance in "What a Woman!" (1943), Winters' breakthrough would eventually come in George Cukor's "A Double Life" (1947). Despite her rising fame however, Winters was unsatisfied with the blonde bombshell roles her studio continued to cast her in. Determined to make a change, she attended her audition for the drama "A Place in the Sun" (1947) wearing no makeup, and impressed producers with the strength of her acting alone. The film would mark a new period in Winters' career, and even though she would return to Broadway for starring roles in "A Hatful of Rain" and "Night of the Iguana," her acclaimed, unglamorous performances in films like "Night of the Hunter" (1955) and "Lolita" (1962) would cement her reputation as a deeply committed character actor. Winters would continue to act throughout the coming decades, appearing in everything from disaster movie "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972), to the family film "Pete's Dragon" (1977), to James Mangold's indie drama "Heavy" (1995). Winters passed away in 2006. She was 85 years old.
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