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Shirley MacLaine enjoys Hollywood renaissance

Written by: Staff

LOS ANGELES, Feb 22 (Reuters) She ran with the Rat Pack, made her film debut in a movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock and won an Oscar.

But Shirley MacLaine says one thing she never did was sleep with anyone to get a job.

''You know I've never had a casting couch proposition in my life.

I thought there was something wrong with me. Men always know if you're going to laugh at them, which I would if they did,'' she said in a recent interview, adding: ''It's nice not to have a career that's based on being a sex object anyway. When I was 20, I saw myself as a character actor and I still do now.'' With a career now in its sixth decade, an Oscar for best actress in 1983's ''Terms of Endearment,'' 10 best-selling books and a reputation as one of Hollywood's sharper wits, MacLaine has earned her icon status.

But at 71, Warren Beatty's older sister has also become surprisingly a hot Hollywood actor. If you need a grandmother: please call.

She won rave reviews playing granny to Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette in the melodrama ''In Her Shoes'' and co-stars with Jennifer Aniston in ''Rumor Has It,'' also as a grandmother. She also appeared with Nicole Kidman in the summer box office bomb ''Bewitched.'' The experience has given MacLaine a unique insight in today's modern stars. They are not a curious lot. Or at least, none of the above named stars were much interested in MacLaine's past life as a superstar.

''Cameron used to spend the first hour of the rehearsal period talking about the problems she had getting out of her house and avoiding the photographers outside,'' MacLaine said.

''Nicole Kidman, who I adore, asked me questions about longevity when we made 'Bewitched' but nothing else about the business.

Jennifer Aniston and I ... talked a lot of human emotion and truth since her problems with her husband (actor Brad Pitt) were then surfacing in the press but she never asked me about the business either.

''When we made 'In Her Shoes' our rehearsal stage was where my dressing room was when I made 'The Children's Hour,' 'Two For The Seasaw,' 'Irma La Douce' and 'The Apartment.' I would have been happy to share my experiences just on those films alone, but Cameron and Toni never asked me anything off camera.'' ADVICE PLEASE But had they asked, what would she have told them? Apparently: ''Don't screw up like I did.'' ''I would have given them an example of one of my own biggest mistakes. I regret turning down the lead role in 'Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore,' which Ellen Burstyn deservedly won an Oscar for.

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