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The Religious Affiliation of Actress
Shelley Winters


Shelley Winters was Jewish by ethnicity, but apparently not religiously observant.

Kate Buford, Burt Lancaster: An American Life, Alfred A. Knopf: New York (2000), pages 98-99:

[Burt Lancaster's] immersion in the art, business and politics of anti-HUAC Hollywood threw him together with fellow enthusiast Shelley Winters. [Although he himself was not a Communist, Lancaster strongly opposed the House Committee on Un-American Activities.] She was cast opposite Garfield in He Ran All the Way and thus placed smack in the middle of the blacklisted world of the movie's director, Berry, and coscreenwriter, Hugo Butler, both Communists. She signed the amici curiae brief, she was at all the meetings, she attended the Gene Kelly/Betsy Blair liberal parties made up of like-minded liberals such as Hecht, Mailer, Lancaster, and Garfield. A blond actress with a brassy, New York edge, Winters hooked Lancaster with a sudden, overwhelming, emotional force. For the man who had women falling at his feet, this was an affair of love, sex, and politics. "Politically Shelley was very progressive," said Lucy Kibbee, "and I know she introduced Burt to a lot of music and art and stuff he really loved. He was hungry for it." He also gave her books to read like The Naked and the Dead: "[Burt] was always," Winters recalled, "trying to educate me." In he autobiography, she described Lancaster as "charming and funny and, oh, God, so handsome! And he was, I think, one of the most gracefully athletic men I've ever seen..."

Winters was an uninhibited city girl who had, Berry recalled, no qualms about affairs with married men--indeed she would describe Lancaster as being unfaithful to her when he made love to his wife. "Shelley had a kind of moxie about her," said Knox, "a kind of Jewishness that Jewish girls have, that he [Lancaster] fell for, that was so different from Norma [Lancaster's wife] who was a WASP."

[Lancaster] came very close to leaving Norma for Winters, the only time he would be so seriously tempted for more than twenty years. By 1951, what Winters called their "lovely and sad backstreet romance" was over.

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Webpage created 20 August 2005. Last modified 20 August 2005.
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