and The Music Man. She won an Academy Award for her part in the 1960 movie Elmer Gantry.
She was the only child born to Marjorie and Paul Jones, a beer maker. At an early age, Marjorie Jones understood that her daughter had a natural gift for singing. Shirley Jones went to study drama in the Pittsburgh Playhouse, after which she performed together with the Civic Light Opera Company. While in her teens, she was crowned Miss Pittsburgh, a name that began her on a path into a career in show business.
While vacationing in Nyc along with her parents, the 19-year old Jones auditioned for the songwriters Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Standing out among the big cast, Jones was finally signed to play the lead on tour.
The next year, with a few valid stage experience under her belt, Jones was cast to star in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s movie version of Oklahoma!. Released in 1955, the multimillion-dollar production met with acclaim from critics, who believed Jones was an ideal pick to play the film’s heroine Laurey. She followed the success of her movie debut using a turn in the 1956 feature version of Carousel. Chances continued to come her way, and she got leading characters in April Love (1957) and Never Steal Anything Small (1959), which matched her with leading man James Cagney.
In 1960, Jones drop her girl-next door persona by taking a dramatic turn in the movie Elmer Gantry. For the rest of the decade, Jones continued to work in movies.
In 1970, Jones made a transition to the little display in ABC’s musical sitcom The Partridge Family. She was cast as the recently widowed mom of a singing family. The show was a success, making household names of its own actors and celebrities – David Cassidy (Jones’ real life stepson with Jack Cassidy), Susan Dey, and Danny Bonaduce. The cast capitalized on the show’s popularity by recording several records which contained songs like “I Think I Love You” and “Does Not Somebody Want to Be Wanted.”
Jones fought to find good characters following the cancellation of The Partridge Family in 1974. She tried to relaunch her career together with the movie Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, and together with the situation comedy Shirley, but neither attempt got a broad audience. For the length of the 1970s and all of the 1980s, her work consisted primarily of television movies.
In the early 1990s, Jones concentrated her efforts on a successful concert career, touring the U.S. as a vocalist. In early 2008, it had been declared that Shirley would play Colleen Brady about the soap opera Days of our Lives.
In 1956, Jones wed actor Jack Cassidy, with whom she raised four kids (including David Cassidy, whose mom was Evelyn Ward). After 19 years together, they divorced. Jones wed performer Marty Ingels in 1977.