Shirley MacLaine: Meet 'Downton Abbey's' newest transplant

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shirley-maclaine-downton-ab.jpgAmerican transplant Shirley MacLaine is coming to "Downton Abbey." As we reported Monday (Jan. 30), the veteran actress will play Lady Cora's mother in Season 3 and may be just the first of several stateside visitors coming to Downton.

In preparation, we thought it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with MacLaine and her greatest hits, so to speak. She's actor Warren Beatty's older sister and -- aside from acting -- is best known for her adherence to New Age spirituality and a belief in reincarnation.

When not watching "Downton's" second season, pass the time with these five MacLaine movies:

1. "Terms of Endearment": If there's any question of MacLaine being able to do proper battle with Maggie Smith's Lady Violet, just watch the grit MacLaine displays in this 1983 tearjerker. Don't just take our word for it -- MacLaine won the Best Actress Oscar for the role.

2. "Guarding Tess": Think of it as a sort of "Driving Miss Daisy," but with Nicolas Cage and kidnapping. It earned MacLaine a Golden Globe nomination.

3. "The Turning Point": MacLaine -- herself a dancer -- plays a former ballerina who is waffles between being proud of -- and competing with -- her budding ballerina daughter. There is a fabulous cat fight between MacLaine and Ann Bancroft. Again, MacLaine was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.



4. "Sweet Charity": MacLaine shows off her dancing and singing skills in this Bob Fosse musical loosely based on Federico Fellini's "Nights of Cabiria."

5. "The Apartment": It takes a while for MacLaine's steely core to show in this comedy-drama co-starring Jack Lemmon as a sort of chump who lets his boss use his apartment to conduct an extramarital affair with MacLaine. Guess who ends up falling in love...

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images