Shirley McLaine's Next Frontier

Her show business friends and advisers once told her to keep her controversial beliefs to herself. But ever since her 1983 bestseller Out on a Limb, she’s found a giant audience for her own brand of spirituality — a mixture of several religions with an emphasis on Eastern traditions and a dash of UFOs.

“Everything happens for a reason,” MacLaine likes to remind an audience. But of course this is no ordinary Yogi talking. MacLaine is the legendary star got her big break in The Pajama Game, and went on to star in such classics as The Turning Point and Terms of Endearment.

When Paramount was looking for her in 1983 to tell her she had been nominated for an Oscar, they finally found her holed up in a pyramid in Egypt. She had been sleeping in a Sarcophagus.

Dancing on the edge of celebrity, she says Peter Sellers visited her after his death and told her, “Keep up the research.” One might imagine that with the new Web site, he could have just sent e-mail rather than appearing as a milky apparition above her bed.

Her old Rat Pack buddy, Frank Sinatra, once said of MacLaine, “It’s amazing what a broad will do for a buck.” Still, MacLaine seems to enjoy her role as America’s favorite kook, and she doesn’t think it hurts her as a teacher.

“I am who I am,” MacLaine. “People will see what they want to see. My way works for me.”

Buck Wolf is a producer at The Wolf Files is a weekly feature. If you want to receive notice weekly when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.

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