August 18, 1920 – January 14, 2006
This is a woman that can boast two Academy Awards, over 150 films, and had sex with James Dean, Marlon Brando and Burt Lancaster. She lived life, and had no regrets. In Whoopi Goldberg’s stage show, she mentioned being in Amsterdam and visiting the Anne Frank house, and finding Shelley’s Oscar there. It wasn’t there when I visited, but I looked for it, and always wondered why it wasn’t.
I met Shelley briefly on my birthday in 2003. Shelley and I shared the same birthday, and I knew she hung at the Silver Spoon, so I dropped off some flowers.
I desperately wanted her to autograph this picture for me, but it really looked like a feeding frenzy of people that were there to prey on the woman.
This picture was taken about a half hour after I left, I was seated directly behind her.
Shelley lived in this rather modest duplex in the flats of Beverly Hills.
When I visited, the wheelchair ramp was lying on its side, waiting to be removed. No doubt Gerry (her boyfriend) would wheel her in this front door.
Wanna see her mailbox?
Shelley suffered a stroke on October of 2005, and needed surgery, however, because her heart was weak, they decided against it. As she lie on her death bed, Sally Kirkland/Kellerman/Whatever, an ordained minister of something, married Shelley and Gerry (her partner of almost 20 years) in an unofficial ceremony. Shelley died on January 14th of this year, in the Rehabilitation Center of Beverly Hills.
She was 85 years old.
Shelley was buried close to her parents, in a private ceremony – at Hillside Cemetery in Culver City.
I took this picture a few days after her burial.
There was a memorial this afternoon (Friday, January 27th, 2006) at The Spoon.
Tequila from the Rock City News was there, as were several cronies. Skip E. Lowe, Robert Forster were amongst them.
Mr. Blackwell had a sore throat, so this creature got up and read Blackwell’s statement about Shelley.
I notice Blackwell actually about to break down, and creature made an announcement, “LOOK, HE’S CRYING.” Class. (I know, says me.)
Creature did mention that Shelly’s favorite meal was tuna on toast with chocolate milk, which was coincidentally his (big eye roll) favorite meal, and asked the Spoon to put it on their menu. For the record, Blackwell was wearing – I shit you not – a Members Only jacket.
Sally Kirkland/Kellerman/Whatever spoke, and in record time made it all about her, and where flew in from earlier, and who she spoke to. Interesting snippets: She knew Shelley since 1961. She claimed Shelley would have died 5 years ago if it weren’t for the love and support of Gerry, her partner. People applauded when Sally said this. Sally also said that Shelley told her, “I’m the only person that can say ‘fuck’ and still be considered a lady.” For some reason, Sally also mentioned that Shelley had a problem with her teeth, and would eat a lot of soup, custard and rice pudding.
A lot of people really liked Shelley. I know that she had a reputation of not being dependable. Chat shows in Britain wouldn’t fly her over because she was known to take the first class tickets and accommodation, and just decide not to show up. When she did show up, however, it usually wasn’t disappointing. One recollection I found from a message board, “on the Tonight Show, during a heated discussion with Oliver Reed (who made several scathing remarks about women), she (Shelley) left the stage (a bit upset). A few minutes later she returned from the other side with a bucket of ice and cold water and deposited it on Reed’s head.”
According to a report I clipped from a British paper in 2001, when Shelley’s sister Blanche died, she scattered the ashes on Marilyn Monroe’s grave. “I wanted my two best friends to be together.” A nice story, but doubtful as Marilyn is in a wall crypt.
Trivia: Shelley once shared this apartment with Marilyn Monroe.
How cool would that place be to live in? Or visit. Yeah, way cool.
Everyone remembers The Poseidon Adventure, the best disaster film ever. Parts of it were filmed on the Queen Mary, which is positively perfectly permanently parked in Long Beach.
The ship is impressive, and beautiful.
TPA was my first PG movie ever. I remember having to have an adult go to the box office with me, because I was refused. Do they even bother checking that stuff anymore? Check out the cool TPA dolls.
Here’s a weird story: A couple of years ago, I was drinking with Dead Larry at this bar in Silverlake, and this woman person creature thingy in a wheelchair started talking to me. I was pretty hammered, so I didn’t mind. Then I accidentally dropped her beer, and bought her a new one. We hung out for about an hour or so, and she/he tells me she used to be a professional swimmer, and was the stand in/swimming double for little Eric Shea in The Poseidon Adventure. Now, I don’t know if this is true, but if I were going to make something up, I’d make up something better than that. I boasted, “guess who I met?” to anyone that would listen.
So, a couple of years pass, and I’ve seen creature tooling around LA on occasion, and in this month’s edition of the bizarre magazine called Bizarre, that features yours truly, there is also a spread on creature!
She goes by the name Sandie Crisp and The Goddess Bunny. Upon further research, she is the star of one of the most disturbing internet videos (not filthy, just plain disturbing). LA is such an odd place to live.
See Shelley on The Match Game.
This story is dedicated to loyal Find a Death friend and benefactor Shelly. I thank you for your generosity.
UPDATE February 2006, from Find a Death friend, Chris:
You’re not alone when you say you couldn’t find Shelley Winters’ Oscar at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. I specifically went to see it the day I arrived in Amsterdam and it wasn’t there. I e-mailed the AFH when I got back to America, asking where the Oscar was and why wasn’t it on display. Their sheepish answer was “Oh, of course it’s on display; didn’t you see it?” No. They even took over the property next door and they’re telling me there’s still not enough room for the displays? Sheesh.
No doubt it’s (back) on display now that Shelley’s dead. Would love to have this confirmed.
Also February 2006, from Find a Death friend, Robert:
I was looking up some information on Shelley Winters after reading your story on her. On the imdb.com movie database site, I was reading some biography on her. Here is something interesting mentioned in the article on Shelley:
Her marriage to Franciosa broke up when he had an affair with Lauren Bacall. During their affair, Bacall called up Winters and complained, “I’ve been waiting for Tony for an hour. Where the hell is he?” Shelley said, “You’re complaining to me because my husband is late for a date with you?” Bacall answered, “If your husband doesn’t respect your marriage, why should I?”
I always thought Bacall looked like she could be a real bitch. Don’t know if it is true, but it’s a great story and I believe Bacall would do it from what I have read about her.
Just thought I would pass the info along.