The American Performing Arts is an industry that is almost as old as the country itself. The creative industry has played a major part in the country’s history. From its triumphs to its losses, Hollywood has always had a role to play. In an industry with century-old legacies, it goes without saying that it has its own share of veterans; those who have dedicated their lives to the Performing Arts. Shirley Jones is one of those veterans. The American actress and singer has over 60 years of work in her portfolio and has won some of the topmost awards in the business. Who is Shirley Jones? What is her background? Her professional history? Read below to find out more.
Shirley Jones – Bio
Jones’ life journey began on the 31st of March 1934 when she was born to Marjorie and Paul Jones in a family of a homemaker and a brewery owner. Shirley’s career involved a lot of singing and it was nurtured from the age of six when she joined the church choir. When she became old enough to attend high school, she began her acting journey, participating in school plays at Huntingdon High School in Ruffs Dale, Pennsylvania.
Jones made her name in musicals; her exceptional voice, coupled with her acting ability, would take her to the summit of the profession. It was a fact that was first recognized by Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein during her first audition for a play. Rogers and Hammerstein immediately placed her on a personal contract to have her available to work with them whenever they need her and she got her first role in a play titled South Pacific. It was a minor role but it was a good start for Jones after just one audition. After South Pacific, she got an expanded role in another Broadway show, Me and Juliet. Her performance earned her positive reviews and she was well on her way to becoming a star.
Over the next two decades, Shirley Jones became the defacto female lead for musicals, both on plays and films. She won a 1960 Oscar award for her performance in Elmer Gentry.
In the 70s, Shirley Jones did some television work. She signed on to The Partridge Family, a musical sitcom which turned out to be a big hit. It was shown in 70 countries and made Shirley Jones an even bigger star than she already was. The show, however, was short-lived and canceled in 1974. It lasted 4 years on television. After the cancellation of The Partridge Family, Shirley moved on to TV shows but none reached the heights of The Partridge Family.
It takes different factors coming together to determine the success of a show and they are not always under the control of the actors. Although Shirley did not manage to find a show to reach the heights of The Partridge Family, her own individual performances did not go unnoticed. She got an Emmy nomination for her work in There Were Times, Dear. She also got one in 2006 for her performance in Hidden Places.
In the latter part her career, she returned to Broadway and appeared in smaller projects across film and television. One of the highlights of Shirley Jones’ career is performing at the White House in 1957.
Shirley’s life work has earned her a combined wealth of $25 million built over appearances in over 100 projects ranging from theatre to film and television. Besides the wealth her work has built, Shirley has also built a huge network of friends in well-connected arenas which somewhat ensured that her children were never in lack of opportunities.
Shirley Jones’s Children And Grandchildren
Shirley Jones first got married to fellow actor and singer Jack Cassidy. The marriage took place on August 5, 1956, and it produced three sons but they did have a fourth child, a boy from Jack Cassidy’s previous relationship. The boy, David Cassidy, is also an actor and he appeared along with Shirley Jones as a lead on The Partridge Family. Her son, Shaun Cassidy, followed in his parents’ footsteps and veered into singing and music production. Shaun also did a bit of acting before retiring and focusing on music. Shirley’s other boy, Patrick Cassidy is also an actor. Among Shirley’s children, he was the closest to following in his mother’s footsteps by performing in musical theatre and television. He is currently married with two children, Cole Patrick, and Jack Gordon.
After divorcing Jack Cassidy in 1974, Shirley Jones got married to Marty Ingels in 1977. Despite a rocky period in their relationship that would have resulted in a divorce, Shirley stuck with the relationship and the couple remained married until Marty died in 2015.
Altogether, Shirley Jones is the mother of three biological sons and the stepmother of one. She has ten grandchildren.
Is She Still Alive?
Although she’s suffered the loss of her first love, Jack Cassidy and her lifelong husband, Marty Ingels, including the most recent loss of David Cassidy, her stepson from her marriage to Jack Cassidy, Shirley herself is still alive and well. Too old to feature regularly in acting projects, she now currently lives a good life in her home, enjoying the fruits of her life’s work.