March 30, 1929|
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||February 17, 1999
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Years active||1970 – 1999|
Born to Polish immigrants on March 30, 1929, the Brooklynese Shirley Stoler made her stage debut in 1955 and gained experience as a member of New York's experimental La Mama and Living Theatre companies. She had become a key underground player by the time she earned film infamy in 1970 at age 41.
Film & TV Career
Throughout her career, Stoler was large and often played villainesses (such as in The Honeymoon Killers and on TV in an episode of Charlie's Angels) whose scariness often derived from Stoler's physical strength and size. A character actress as well as an occasional lead, Stoler appeared in small roles in classic films including Klute, The Deer Hunter, and Desperately Seeking Susan.
The highlight of her film career arguably was her turn as the repulsive Nazi female prison commandant in Lina Wertmüller's Pasqualino Settebellezze (1975) (Seven Beauties), in which she plays a cat and mouse game of seduction with the concentration camp inmate played by Giancarlo Giannini. Though a profile of Stoler was featured on the front page of the New York Times Arts section, her performance was ignored during the awards season, likely because her dialogue had to be dubbed into Italian. The film, the success of which depended a great deal on her, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of 1976, and garnered Wertmüller nominations as Best Director (a first for a woman) and Best Original Screenplay, and Stoler's co-star Giannini a nod as Best Actor.
Stoler also appeared on Broadway and in the daytime soap operas The Edge of Night as Frankie and One Life to Live as Roberta (nicknamed "Tiny," as well as Saturday morning television, playing the role of Mrs. Steve on Pee-wee's Playhouse.
|1970||The Honeymoon Killers||Martha Beck|
|1975||Pasqualino Settebellezze||Commandant||English title: Seven Beauties|
|1976||A Real Young Girl||Grocer in Aupom||French title: Une vraie jeune fille|
|1978||The Deer Hunter||Steven's Mother|
|1979||Charlie's Angels||Big Aggie||Episode: "Caged Angel"|
|1980||Skag||Dottie Jessup||5 episodes|
|1980||Seed of Innocence||Corky||Alternative title: Teen Mothers|
|1980||Below the Belt||Trish|
|1980||The Edge of Night||Frankie||Unknown episodes|
|1983||The Brass Ring||Marge||Television movie|
|1983||Bring 'Em Back Alive||Episode: "The Shadow Women of Chung Tai"|
|1983||The Powers of Matthew Star||Tattoo Artist||Episode: "The Quadrian Caper"|
|1984||A Stroke of Genius|
|1985||Desperately Seeking Susan||Jail matron|
|1985||Brass||Woman in window||Television movie|
|1986 to 1987||Pee-wee's Playhouse||Mrs. Steve||4 episodes|
|1986 to 1987||One Life to Live||Roberta "Tiny" Coleman||Unknown episodes|
|1987||Three O'Clock High||Eva|
|1989||Kate & Allie||Episode: "Wanted: One Husband"|
|1989||In the Heat of the Night||Adah Boone||Episode: "The Pig Woman of Sparta"|
|1990||Miami Blues||Edie Wulgemuth|
|1990||Frankenhooker||Spike the Bartender|
|1991||Law & Order||Charlie Maylen||Episode: "Misconception"|
|1992||Topsy and Bunker: The Cat Killers||Grace|
|1992||Malcolm X||Mrs. Swerlin|
|1993||Me and Veronica||Shouting Woman|
- "Shirley Stoler, 69, Actress Hailed For Her Role in 'Seven Beauties'". The New York Times. 1999-02-28. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
- Shirley Stoler at the Internet Broadway Database
- Shirley Stoler at the Internet Movie Database
- Shirley Stoler at AllMovie