Shirley began her stage career in Boston and enjoyed moderate success on Broadway. After the sinking of Titanic in April 1912, she participated in a benefit concert for survivors held at the George M. Cohan Theatre. Her last Broadway appearance was in Alice in Arms (originally called Star in the Window) alongside Kirk Douglas.
She appeared in more than 50 films throughout her film career.
Shirley's film credits include the following:
- Stars and Stripes Forever (Navy nurse), 1952 (uncredited)
- Deadline - U.S.A. (Miss Barndollar), 1952 (uncredited)
- The Dancing Masters (Matron), 1943 (uncredited)
- Let's Face It (Woman in Sun Shell Cafe), 1943 (uncredited)
- A Yank at Eton (Mrs. Sampson), 1942 (uncredited)
- Her Cardboard Lover (Casino patron watching chemin de fer game), 1942 (uncredited)
- Maisie Gets Her Man (Mrs. Taylor), 1942 (uncredited)
- We Were Dancing (Mrs. Charteris), 1942
- Secret Agent of Japan (Woman Gambler), 1942 (uncredited)
- It Started with Eve (Bit Role), 1941 (uncredited)
- When Ladies Meet (Janet Hopper), 1941
- Three Sons o' Guns (Mrs. Tyler), 1941
- Nice Girl? (Woman Gossip), 1941 (uncredited)
- Lady with Red Hair (Daisy Dawn), 1940 (uncredited)
- Third Finger, Left Hand (Agnes, dinner guest), 1940 (uncredited)
- Pier 13 (Mrs. Forrest), 1940
- New Moon (Guest), 1940 (uncredited)
- Private Affairs (Mrs. Gilkin), 1940
- Opened by Mistake (Elizabeth Stiles), 1940
- I Take This Woman (Mrs. Leila Bettincourt), 1940 (uncredited)
- Balalaika (Lily Allison (Paris tourist)), 1939 (uncredited)
- Ninotchka (Marianne, Swana's Phone Friend), 1939 (uncredited)
- The Women (Miss Archer), 1939 (uncredited)
Shirley's Broadway credits include the following productions:
- Alice in Arms (Daisy), 1945
- Take My Tip (Mrs. Dolly Browning), 1932
- Fast Service (Doris Borden), 1931
- Doctor X (Eleanor Stevens), 1931
- Embers (Germaine Bie), 1926
- The Poor Nut (Julia Winters), 1925
- The Locked Door (Muriel Walling), 1924
- My Aunt From Ypsilanti (Peggy), 1923
- Why Men Leave Home (Fifi), 1923
- Apple Blossoms (Mrs. Anna Merton), 1920
- Oh, Lady! Lady!! (Fanny Welch), 1918
- Anthony in Wonderland, 1917
- His Majesty Bunker Bean, 1916
- The Wall Street Girl (Pearl Williams), 1912
- "Rites today for Florence Shirley". Los Angeles Times. 1967-05-15. p. 26.
- "More benefits planned; many stage stars volunteer for Cohan Theatre concert to-night" (pdf). The New York Times. 1912-04-21. p. 8. Retrieved 2008-06-09.
- "Premiere tonight of 'Alice in Arms'". The New York Times. 1945-01-31. p. 26.
- "Thin Man Proves Himself". The Wall Street Journal. 1945-01-29. p. 4.
- Florence Shirley at the Internet Movie Database
- Florence Shirley at the Internet Broadway Database
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