Picks and Pans Review: Shelley: Also Known as Shirley

updated 09/15/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/15/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Shelley Winters

Winters' autobiography reads like a piece of naughty fiction, except that the names of the male characters are not your average Brads or Dirks or Todds but people like Burt, Errol, Marlon and Vittorio. Winters goes back to her childhood days in St. Louis as Shirley Schrift, proudly introduces her Jewish family, then crashes into show business as Shelley (after her favorite poet) Winter (her mother's maiden name). Universal Studios later billed her as "Winters" and, she says, "made me plural." While Winters is occasionally vulgar, she writes with brutal honesty, recounting her first seduction at 15, her first abortion shortly thereafter, life in the chorus of a touring company of the musical Meet the People, her best-supporting Oscar for The Diary of Anne Frank in 1959, her first marriage, to a salesman and, of course, her affairs with, among others, Lawrence Tierney, Errol Flynn, Farley Granger, John Ireland, Burt Lancaster, Marlon Brando and—on Christmas Eves only—William Holden. Her book may not be the literary achievement of the year, but it doesn't seem to suppress any secrets. (Morrow, $14.95)

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