Shirley MacLaine is an­gelic in ‘Heav­enly’ Hall­mark TV movie

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LIVING - By Lynn El­ber

LOS AN­GE­LES >> Shirley MacLaine is di­rect, funny and down-toearth no mat­ter how high-flying the topic may be, in­clud­ing the guardian an­gels and aliens she ac­cepts as givens.

In a re­cent in­ter­view, there’s also no hint of the diva she eas­ily could be, given her star­dom of six decades and count­ing; five leadac­tress Acad­emy Award nom­i­na­tions; and an Os­car for what she cites as her fa­vorite role, Aurora, in 1983’s “Terms of En­dear­ment.”

She long ago traded the big city for New Mex­ico, but never aban­doned act­ing. MacLaine plays an an­gel in “A Heav­enly Christ­mas,” a Hall­mark Hall of Fame TV movie air­ing at 8 p.m. EST Satur­day on the Hall­mark Chan­nel. In a big-screen film set for re­lease next spring, “The Last Word” with Amanda Seyfried, she plays a strong-willed woman in­tent on craft­ing her own obit­u­ary.

That’s a “men­tor­ing an­gel” in the Hall­mark project, MacLaine em­pha­sizes, ex­plain­ing that her char­ac­ter has much to share with a young worka­holic (Kristin Davis) who’s lost her way. Eric McCor­mack co-stars.

In a phone in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press, MacLaine, 82, said she’s healthy, ac­tive and a de­voted trav­eler. She shared her views on spir­i­tu­al­ity, ranch life and, only in­di­rectly, pres­i­den­tial pol­i­tics.

AP: You be­lieve in an­gels?

MacLaine: Of course I do. Are you kid­ding? I be­lieve in UFOs, I be­lieve in ex­trater­res­tri­als, and I be­lieve in an­gels. And maybe they’ll pro­tect all of us.

AP: What have an­gels done for you?

MacLaine: We don’t have time. I lost my dog of 17 years, Terry,

and right now she’s a lit­tle an­gel who’s de­liv­er­ing nice things . ... It is in­cred­i­ble, when you start be­liev­ing in an­gels your life be­comes a lot smoother.

AP: Do you fol­low any or­ga­nized re­li­gion?

MacLaine: No, just tol­er­ance, or­ga­nized tol­er­ance. Or­ga­nized pa­tience, which I’m not too good at. Or­ga­nized un­der­stand­ing of dif­fer­ences, which is re­ally giv­ing me prob­lems now. Or­ga­nized sense of hu­mor.

AP: You’ve done TV but never a Hall­mark movie. Why this one?

MacLaine: I just loved the idea. I thought play­ing an an­gel would be very good for my im­age. And they paid me a lot of ce­les­tial money, so what the hell. (Laughs.)

AP: Does your im­age need an­gelic bur­nish­ing?

MacLaine: Some­times it does. I’m too di­rect and too un­spar­ingly im­pa­tient. Usu­ally I’m right, by the way — so never mind all the other.

AP: How do you spend your time in New Mex­ico?

MacLaine: I’m very in­volved with learn­ing to be self-suf­fi­cient. I’m a city girl and I never re­ally lived in the coun­try, so I’m learn­ing about that. I have a ranch here, at Abiquiu, where Ge­or­gia O’Ke­effe used to paint, and I had to build it up to be self-suf­fi­cient be­cause it’s re­ally off the grid.

AP: Do you have other an­i­mals?

MacLaine: Al­to­gether about six dogs. And then I’ve got bear and elk and coy­otes in my front yard. It’s liv­ing with na­ture. AP: And peo­ple com­pany?

MacLaine: I have a great life, to tell you the truth. I have a lot of friends who come and stay, and we talk about the world. And of course I travel, (most re­cently) to Vir­ginia, where I was hon­ored at the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia and did two and a-half hours onstage an­swer­ing ques­tions from stu­dents . ... That was re­ally fun.

AP: How does spir­i­tu­al­ity fit into the world now?

MacLaine: I think ma­te­ri­al­ism has trumped a lot of stuff, but I don’t think it has trumped the heart, es­pe­cially when it comes to (a per­son’s) last thought. It’s not go­ing to be about money. It’s go­ing to be about who am I, what have I done and where am I go­ing. And of course that gets us into rein­car­na­tion, it gets us to are we alone in the uni­verse . ... All of that stuff, which is in­fin­itely in­ter­est­ing to me.

AP: You have no doubt when this life ends you will re­turn?

MacLaine: I’m not sure I’ll come back to this planet. I may come back to an­other one. (Laughs.)


Ac­tress Shirley MacLaine plays an an­gel in “A Heav­enly Christ­mas,” a Hall­mark Hall of Fame TV movie air­ing 8 p.m. EST Satur­day on the Hall­mark Chan­nel.

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