Little dancer Shirley MacLaine, in the early summer of 1954 she came out of the chorus line of the Broadway musical Pajama Game and filled in for its indisposed star, Carol Haney. At the start of 1955 Betty Grable went ill, before a TV Shower of Stars spectacular, and Miss MacLaine  was again lifted out of the show's chorus line to take over. In three big numbers designed for Grable, MacLaine was a last-minute marvel as she changed her dancing pace and pulled on costumes like a veteran. 

After that unpremeditated triumph Shirley got back to the most important business at hand, honing up routines for her dancing-girl lead in a Martin and Lewis film, Artists and Models. That starring job came her way because producer Hal Wallis went to see Pajama Game when MacLaine was going on for Haney.


images and info provided by the LIFE Magazine / LIFE Magazine International / LIFE Magazine Atlantic ARCHIVE from the Zetu Harrys Collection