Shirley MacLaine: I’ve fallen in love on every picture I’ve made

The new star of Downton Abbey reveals that she always finds romance on set

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Hollywood star Shirley MacLaine has sparked curiosity among her Downton Abbey co-stars by revealing that she always falls in love on set.

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MacLaine will feature in the much-anticipated third series of the award winning ITV1 drama as Martha Levinson, the American mother of Cora Crawley, appearing on our screens to attend the wedding of her granddaughter Lady Mary to fiancé Matthew. 

In an interview in this week’s edition of Radio Times MacLaine revealed: “I told them I fell in love with someone on every picture I made for the first 30 years. People say the biggest part of my talent is curiosity. They wondered who it would be this time.”

When interviewer Andrew Duncan asked whether the “frisky” Hugh Bonneville, who plays Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, has taken her fancy, MacLaine laughed and replied: “I’m not talking.”

She did however profess her love for another Downton star, saying: “I adore Maggie… I think we were lovers in another life.” 

But it’s not only her suggestion of a possible Downton romance that has been entertaining the cast, MacLaine admitted to performing songs on set and telling cast-mates stories of her extraordinary career. “It’s funny being me in a business like this because people want to hear you sing, and suddenly you’re ‘on’. I don’t like it at all. I’m more real than you can imagine. But they were so cute because they were interested in the people I’ve worked with, and when they mentioned Sinatra I went on from there…”

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Read the full interview with Shirley MacLaine in this week’s (1-7 September) issue of Radio Times.