Her father was Jonas Schrift, her mother was Rose Schrift, and her sister was Blanche Schrift.
Her early acting training was under the tutelage of actor Charles Laughton.
Was roommates with Marilyn Monroe when they were both starting out in Hollywood.
Taught Marilyn Monroe how to "act" pretty by tilting her head back, keeping her eyes lowered and her mouth partly opened.
Born at 12:05am-CDT
Godmother of actress Sally Kirkland. Kirkland, also an ordained minister, conducted the wedding ceremony between Winters and Gerry DeFord ten hours before Winters died.
Made her Broadway debut as Ado Annie in "Oklahoma!" - five years into its run.
Has the distinction of currently being the highest ranked female performer on The Oracle of Bacon's list of the top 1000 performers based upon their "center of the film universe" average number. Winter's average link number is 2.696842, placing seventeenth on the list. This places her well above Kevin Bacon, who is currently ranked 1161st, despite being the original focus of the quirky game of linking actors through their co-stars.
Godmother of Laura Dern.
She donated her Oscar for The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) to the Anne Frank museum.
In The Poseidon Adventure (1972), she plays an award winning swimmer and in A Place in the Sun (1951), she can't swim and drowns.
Gave birth to her only child at age 32, a daughter Vittoria Gassman on February 14, 1953. Child's father was her 2nd ex-husband, Vittorio Gassman.
Has played the Marx Brothers' mother Minnie in the Broadway musical "Minnie's Boys", which ran at the Imperial Theatre for 80 Performances from March 26 to May 30, 1970. It was the penultimate performance of her eight Broadway appearances. She appeared in only one more Broadway show, "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds", which ran at the Biltmore Theatre for 16 performances from March 14 to March 26, 1978.
In her most important films such as A Place in the Sun (1951), The Night of the Hunter (1955), Lolita (1962), A Double Life (1947), The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) and many others, her character is murdered.
She was a huge fan of the television series Babylon 5 (1994).
Suffered a heart attack on October 14, 2005.
On the September 26, 1975 episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), she grew tired of Oliver Reed's attitude towards women. They had a heated conversation and, after Winters told Reed what she thought of his opinions, she left the set. The show continued with Reed going on about women while Johnny Carson looked at him in a daze. Shortly afterward, Winters appeared from stage left, unannounced to Reed and to the shock of Carson. She was carrying a beverage glass and surprised Reed by dumping it over his head. Reed went on to finish his statement as if nothing had happened and later claimed the beverage was whiskey.
Her marriage to Anthony Franciosa broke up when he had an affair with Lauren Bacall. During their affair, Bacall called up Winters and complained, "I've been waiting for Tony for an hour. Where the hell is he?". Shelley said, "You're complaining to me because my husband is late for a date with you?". Bacall answered, "If your husband doesn't respect your marriage, why should I?".
She had a role in Always (1985) and filmed a few scenes, but at one point she had a tantrum and left the set. Her agent pleaded with her to go back and resume her role, but she refused and her character was replaced. She does not appear in the final film.
Shirley Schrift took her mother's maiden name (Winter) as her stage name and added Shelley for her favorite poet. When she saw the call sheet for A Double Life (1947), she discovered that Universal had added an "s", making her Shelley Winters.
Attended and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in New York City.
Showed up drunk on her first day of shooting of The Linguini Incident (1991) and was fired by director Richard Shepard.
When Shelley and Marilyn Monroe were roommates in the late 1940s in Hollywood, Shelley said that one day she had to step out and asked Marilyn to "wash the lettuce" for a salad they were to share for dinner. When she got back to the apartment, Marilyn (apparently new to the art of cooking) had the leaves of lettuce in a small tub of soapy water and was scrubbing them clean.
In Italy, most of her films were dubbed by either Lydia Simoneschi, Dhia Cristiani or Rosetta Calavetta. She was once dubbed by Wanda Tettoni in Cry of the City (1948) and once by Miranda Bonansea in Behave Yourself! (1951). Gabriella Genta lent her voice to Winters in the role of Belle Rosen in The Poseidon Adventure (1972).
Is one of ten actresses to win an Academy Award for portraying a prostitute. The others in chronological order are Helen Hayes (The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931)), Donna Reed (From Here to Eternity (1953)), Susan Hayward (I Want to Live! (1958)), Elizabeth Taylor (BUtterfield 8 (1960)), Shirley Jones (Elmer Gantry (1960)), Jane Fonda (Klute (1971)), Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite (1995)), Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential (1997)) and Charlize Theron (Monster (2003)).
Was originally considered for the female lead in Forbidden (1953), which went to Joanne Dru.
She was a lifelong progressive Democrat who was active in the campaigns of Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton; as well as attended everyone of the Democratic National Conventions until her death.
Winters considered A Place in the Sun (1951) her best work.
Winters got her first screen test after Columbia studio boss Harry Cohn saw her on Broadway in Max Reinhardt's "Rosalind" in 1942. He met her on a Saturday night backstage and asked that she audition the following day during a blizzard. Although she was only 16, she told Cohn she was 21, and he personally directed her test. Cohn left immediately afterward for Hollywood, and three weeks later she received two train tickets with an order to report to Columbia Studios for a role in Cover Girl (1944). Cohn personally called Washington to free up Winters' husband, who was finishing basic training in Louisiana. Unfortunately, she arrived too late for Cover Girl (1944).
She considered Ralph Richardson the greatest actor with Laurence Olivier and Marlon Brando both second to him.
Underwent two abortions as a teenager, the first occurring when she was just age 15.
Was the 50th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) at The 32nd Annual Academy Awards (1960) on April 4, 1960.
Had appeared with Telly Savalas in five films: The Young Savages (1961), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968), The Scalphunters (1968) and Alice in Wonderland (1985).
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1752 Vine Street in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
Following her death, she was interred at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.
Turned down the role of prostitute Alma Burke in From Here to Eternity (1953) as she had just given birth to her daughter Vittoria Gassman. Donna Reed, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance, was cast instead.
She died only five days before her third husband Anthony Franciosa.
Along with Dianne Wiest, she is one of only two actresses to have won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress on two occasions: Winters won for The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) and A Patch of Blue (1965) and Wiest won for Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Bullets Over Broadway (1994).
For the majority of her life she had only one ovary, having undergone an oophorectomy at 8-years-old.