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The Marriages of Shelley Winters


None of Shelley Winters' three marriages lasted very long. Here's information about her marriage relationships, numerous affairs, quotes, and more.


Shirley Schrift was born on August 18, 1920 in St. Louis, Missouri. Some sources cite East St. Louis, Illinois, but the 1930 Census shows her birth place as Missouri. Shelley was raised in Brooklyn, New York.

The date of her birth is reported either as 1920, or 1922, or 1923. In 2004, she admitted that she had lied about her birth date when she signed with Columbia.

"But she sounded like her old self on the phone as we called to wish her well. She admitted she had listed her birthday as two years younger when she was first inked by Columbia's Harry Cohn in 1943."
Source: Variety.com, Army Archerd, Tuesday, August 24, 2004, Los Angeles.


Shelley Winters died at age 85 from heart failure in the Rehabilitation Center of Beverly Hills on January 14, 2006.

She had been hospitalized on October 14, 2005, after having a heart attack.


A high school drop out, Shelley studied at The Actor's Studio in New York.


A two-time academy award winning actress, Shelley also worked as a model, acting teacher, chorus girl, and store clerk.




Shelley was interested in swimming, tennis, riding, politics, civic affairs. She was a liberal Democrat.


Shelley had homes in both California and New York.


Vittoria-Gina Gassman Neuman, born c.1953 is a physician practicing in internal medicine and geriatrics at Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk, CT. Vittoria has two children.


Shelley was married three times.

  • Army Air Force Captain Paul "Mack" Mayer. Paul married married Shelley on January 1, 1942. After the war he was a textile salesman and businessman. Shelley and Paul divorced in October, 1948. Some sources spell Paul's last name as Meyer.

  • Vittorio Gassman, Italian actor, director, and writer. Vittorio was born on September 1, 1922 in Genoa, Liguria, Italy.

    His marriage to Shelley on April 28, 1952 was his second marriage.

    He and Shelley had a daughter, Vittoria-Gina, born c.1953. Shelley and Vittorio divorced in 1954.

    He had two other marriages and one relationship.

    • Nora Ricci, an actress, who was born in Viareggio, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy on July 19, 1924. They married in 1944. They had one daughter, Paola Gassman, who is an actress married to Ugo Pagliai. The marriage of Nora and Vittorio ended in divorce in 1952. Nora died in 1976 in Rome, Italy. from liver disease.

    • Juliette Mayniel was born on January 22, 1936 in Saint hippolyte, France. She and Vittorio had a son, actor, writer, director, Alessandro Gassman, born on February 24, 1964 in Rome, Italy. Alessandro married Sabrina Knaflitz on June 7, 1998. They have one child.

    • Diletta D'Andrea, an actress. They were married from 1972 until Vittorio's death in 2000. They had one child.

    Vittorio died in Rome, Italy of a heart attack on June 29, 2000.

  • Anthony Franciosa, actor, was born on 10/25/1928 in New York, New York as Anthony Papaleo. His marriage to Shelley on 5/04/1957 was his second marriage.

    Tony Franciosa proposed by having agent Stan Kamen present her with a box containing a diamond wedding ring. After Anthony's affairs with Ava Gardner and Silvana Mangano, their marriage ended in divorce in November, 1960.

    Anthony had three other marriages.

    • Beatrice Bakalyar. They were married in 1952. They divorced in 1957.
    • Judy Balaban Kanter, an author and real estate agent. They married in 1961 and had one daughter. Anthony and Judy divorced in 1967.

    • Rita Thiel, model. Rita and Anthony married on 11/27/1970. They have two children.

  • Jerry DeFord, her companion for 19 years has been said to be Shelley's driver and right hand man. He has worked for the Salvation Army in Santa Monica.
    According to the Los Angeles Times, actress Sally Kirkland performed a "spiritual wedding ceremony" for Jerry DeFord and Shelley before Shelley died.
  • Numerous Affairs. Some of the men she said she had affairs with include Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, Adlai Stevenson, and Robert Walker. Additionally, Shelley "has been linked romantically to Lawrence Tierney, Anthony Quinn, Burt Lancaster, Alex Cord, Robert De Niro, Albert Finney, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, John Garfield, Farley Granger, Sterling Hayden, William Holden, Howard Hughes, and John Ireland."
    Source: Divorce Support

Shelley Winters as an Author:

"Shelley, Also Known As Shirley"
by Shelley Winters in 1980
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"Shelley II: The Middle of My Century"
by Shelley Winters in 1989
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"One Night Stands of a Noisy Passenger" (three one-act plays)
by Shelley Winters
First produced Off-Broadway at the Actors' Playhouse, 1970.


Shelley, about marriage: "In Hollywood, all the marriages are happy. It's trying to live together afterwards that causes all the problems."
Source: Creative Quotations

Shelley, about her marriages: "All my men cheated on me and that's kinda sad. All I ever got out of marriage, except my daughter, was some jewelry and a recipe for ravioli."
Source: Telegraph

More Shelley Winters Quotations

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