Shirley grew up in Smithton, PA, where grandfather William B. Jones founded the Jones Brewery in 1907 that's still in operation. Shhe was a gifted child with natural singing ability, studied under Ralph Lewando, one of Pittsburgh's top vocal coaches. After graduating from South Huntingdon High School, she was spotted by a scout photographer for The 1952 Miss Pittsburgh Pageant and went on to compete for the title of Miss Pennsylvania. The prize was a two year scholarship to the drama school at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. She planned to go on to college but instead went to New York City in the summer of 1953. There she was discovered by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein who cast her as Laurie in the 1955 movie version of their hit stage musical Oklahoma!. Later Shirley played the same role on Broadway and established a career in both theater and the movies, including the musicals The Music Man (1962) and Carousel (1956). The actress won a 1960 Academy Award for her portrayal of a prostitute in the film Elmer Gantry. From 1970-74, starred on the TV show The Partridge Family as Shirley Partridge, the mother of a rock act who also sang in the band and co-starred her real-life stepson, early '70s heartthrob David Cassidy. She was married to actors Jack Cassidy from 1956-74, and Marty Ingles.