All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Sunday, 15 January 2006

The Real Shelley

A lot of tributes are being written about Shelley Winters who died yesterday. Yes, she was a good actress and everyone’s favourite Jewish grandmother. In my mind though, one particular thing she did really defines the qualities that she possessed.

When she received her Best Supporting Actress Award for playing Mrs Van Daan in The Diary Of Anne Frank, she didn’t leave the Oscar as a keepsake on her mantelpiece - instead, she donated it to the Anne Frank Museum.

Anyone who has read the Diary of Anne Frank knows how Anne idolised the Hollywood Stars of the 1930’s and ‘40s. Away from the terrible reality of what was going on, she survived by dreaming about those far away shores where people lived as though the war had never started. Can you imagine how Anne would have felt had she known that one day an Oscar would be sitting in one of the rooms of her home?

I would surmise that by her act, Shelley Winters realised that the Oscar didn’t mean much in the whole scheme of things. I am also in no doubt that her decision to take a part in the filming of this important play was based on a deep sense of pride at being Jewish and thereby representing the people who had died because they were Jews.

Hence her donation of the Oscar, to a place where she knew it would be more appreciated than in her living room, says more about the lady who was born Shirley Schrift in 1920 in St Louis, Illonois, than about the “Hollywood Legend” known as Shelley Winters who died in 2006 in the far off land of Beverly Hills.

1 comment:

Claire Franklin said...

i really enjoyed this post - My Anneliese is named with Anne Frank in mind you know? Annelies Marie was her real name - and Anneliese Manon (MAnon being French for MAry) is not far off.