24 August 2012 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Shirley MacLaine is about to join the hit series Downton Abbey. She tells Emma Brockes about money, men and why the cast were too afraid to ask her for Hollywood gossip

Shirley MacLaine comes to the door in slippers and a tracksuit, clutching a fistful of hair and looking, at 78, like an only slightly older version of those famous 1960s roles of hers: gleeful, sharp-eyed, almost confrontationally scatty. We're at her pied-à-terre in Malibu – she lives most of the time on a ranch in New Mexico – a bungalow overlooking the ocean in a secure development popular with celebrities, she says, because of the anonymity; although, when she calls me a cab at the end of the interview, she says blithely down the phone, "Hello, it's Shirley MacLaine", then stands in the driveway, eating a cracker and waving at the driver as he turns in the drive.

This autumn, MacLaine appears »

- Emma Brockes

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