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Shirley MacLaine Names the Co-Star She Hated Most

Shirley MacLaine is one of the most talented actresses of her generation. She made her debut in “The Trouble With Harry” in 1955 and she’s had movie releases in 2022 and more upcoming projects. Oh, and by the way, she’s approaching 90 and she’s still acting! With a successful career that’s lasted so long, it’s clear that she’s a joy to work with on set.

But – truth be told, she didn’t always feel that way about some of her co-stars. There are times when she absolutely hated her co-stars and this caused tensions on the set. It didn’t affect her work and she always gave a great performance, but man, it’s a wonder she kept in the business even with her bad experiences.

So who where these co-stars?

Shirley MacLaine Names the Co-Star she hated most. Join FactsVerse to learn more…


In 1970, a now-classic Western film named Two Mules for Sister Sara released. The film directed by Don Siegel and starred one of Hollywood’s most popular leading men of the time, Clint Eastwood.

Originally, both the director and leading man wanted Elizabeth Taylor to co-star in the film. Elizabeth Taylor would play the titular character of Sister Sara. Yet, the starlet had no interest in the film and turned it down. They had to look for another actress – and while no one at the time had the star power of Sister Sara they needed someone who would still bring the audiences in.

Shirley MacLaine was one such actress. She had a successful debut film with The Trouble With Harry and she had hit after hit after that. By the time 1970 came around, she bound to make another hit film. The studio felt that due to her success in the film Sweet Charity, she’d be perfect for the role.

And yet, both Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood weren’t too keen on casting Shirley MacLaine. They felt that her complexion wouldn’t look good on screen and wouldn’t work for the character of Sister Sara. And then once they started working with her, their relationship, according to them was less than affable.

Don Siegel felt that Shirley MacLaine wasn’t traditionally feminine and that she could sometimes be too assertive and not easy to work with. He felt that it was difficult to feel affectionate about her. Apparently, Shirley MacLaine also didn’t have a good experience filming in the heat of Mexico either.

Shirley MacLaine didn’t like working with Don Siegel as well and many felt that she would name Clint Eastwood as the co-star she hated most. In fact, it seems she hated him so much that he wasn’t really mentioned in her memoirs. But years later she stated that she adored him and loved his tough attitude both in real life and on screen.

So, Clint Eastwood isn’t the co-star she hated most. So, who was it? Well before we tell you, let’s tell you about a time when she clashed not with a co-star, but with a host!


Like most actors and actresses, Shirley MacLaine has had to appear on talk shows to promote her films and discuss her life and career. Occasionally, questions get personal and sometimes, they can make actresses comfortable. Such was the case when she appeared on The Late Show With Dave Letterman.

In October 1988, she appeared on the late night talk show to discuss her film Madame Sousatzka. However, Dave Letterman more interested in discussing Shirley MacLaine’s belief in reincarnation – something he found amusing and used as a stick to poke her with.

He asked her if he had lived other lives. She annoyed by this question and quipped at him saying that he had bad karma.

He then began joking about the supposed careers and lifestyles that Shirley MacLaine had in her past lives – once being a monk and once being a dancer in a harem of all places! She tried to be serious and explained that her belief came from spending time in Asia where the belief in reincarnation was more common. Yet, he still found it funny and seemed to want to mock her for her views.

During the commercial break, she had apparently told him she didn’t want to discuss this anymore during the 2nd half of the interview. Yet he persisted and she burst out quoting Cher who had a bad experience being on the show.

Shirley MacLaine quipped “Maybe Cher was right. Maybe you are an–” – ok, we won’t tell you what she said – use your imagination!

The moment created awkwardness and Letterman asked her if she really upset or just acting. She responded telling him that he should be able to tell whether she was being genuine or not.

Shortly afterward, Dave Letterman ended the interview and Shirley MacLaine left after filming stopped – she didn’t appear after the commercial break. She recalls how unpleasant he was and the two of them had a hard time getting over the incident.

So no doubt, she must have hated Antony – uh, I mean Dave Letterman. She hated Dave Letterman, but she wasn’t his co-star. She was his guest.

Now, we’ll reveal to you which co-star she hated most.


The co-star that Shirley MacLaine hated most was probably Sir Antony Hopkins who once referred to her as ‘obnoxious.’

The two of them starred in one of the rare flops for both stars. The film called A Change of Seasons and released in 1980 – when both actors were at the height of their fame. Yet, despite their talents and star power, the film still failed. In fact, it received nominations for the very first Razzie Awards – celebrating the worst films of the year!

Later, Antony Hopkins would refer to Shirley MacLaine as obnoxious. It’s still not clear when he said this nor is the entire context and reason known. However, Shirley MacLaine also stated that she didn’t like Antony Hopkins and she had an awful experience working with him in A Change of Seasons.

It’s not really clear why the two of them clashed on set. However, Antony Hopkins was suffering with alcoholism at the time. Both Shirley MacLaine and Antony Hopkins are known to have strong personalities and this probably led to some arguments on set. Antony Hopkins has spoken about how he has a lot of anger and has had to learn not to let it get the better of him. Shirley MacLaine is open about the fact that she speaks her mind and isn’t afraid to argue on set or stand up for herself if she needs to.

The two of them haven’t worked since but Shirley MacLaine has stated that she understood his struggles due to heavy drinking on the time. Despite the fact that they both had their issues, both of them went onto having successful acting careers and both actors still have films in production right now.

Shirley MacLaine, as you can see, hasn’t been the easiest to work with. For many, she was a joy to work with – for example, actor John Forsythe loved working alongside her in The Trouble With Harry. Jack Black loved working with her in the film Bernie.

Yet, there have been times when she wasn’t a joy to work with and it’s a wonder that she managed to sustain a career so long. Her talents are what kept her going. But before we call it a wrap, let’s tell you one more story about a clash that Shirley MacLaine had.


Shirley MacLaine dreamt of working with actress Debra Winger in the 1983 film Terms of Endearment. Both actresses admired each others’ work and were looking forward to a great collaboration. Now, with such a premise one can only expect that this filming experience would be pure bliss!

Unlike her collaboration with Antony Hopkins, this one was much better. The actresses played mother and daughter and the film was a hit. Both actresses nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards and Shirley MacLaine won the role. In her acceptance speech, she mentioned that she felt that she actually had an extra daughter and that Debra Winger had ‘turbulent brilliance.’

However, the two actresses weren’t friendly and would argue on set. There’s even a rumor that one of them hit the other. Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger haven’t denied the fights they’ve had on set.

There’s a notorious incident in Shirley MacLaine’s memoir that during a fight, Debra Winger passed gas at her on purpose. Debra Winger asked about this incident and she didn’t give clear answers on whether this actually happened though she did hint that there was some truth to the tale.

There’s still no confirmation on whether this happened even though Debra Winger has been pressed on it. Yeah, let’s not go there. There’s also no update on how Shirley MacLaine feels about her former co-star today. But, hey, at least a great film and some great performances came out of it.

Shirley MacLaine hasn’t always been easy to work with nor has she enjoyed working with others. But, she’s had a great career and she leaves behind a great legacy. Plus, she’s got at least 2 more films in production right now – so she must be doing something right!

Are you a fan of Shirley MacLaine? What do you think about her incredible life and career and the issues she’s had with her co-stars?

In fact, here’s what we’d like to hear from you:

Do you think that clashes on sets today can destroy an actor’s career?

Or does this just create publicity and ultimately is irrelevant to their career longevity?

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