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Shirley Knight

Actress. Born: July 5, 1937, Goessel, Kansas.

Shirley Knight was born in Goessel and moved with her family to the Mitchell area. She graduated from high school in Lyons and attended Wichita State University. Before leaving Kansas in 1957 she also wrote for the Wichita Beacon, worked at television station KAKE, sang with a dance band and attended modeling school.

Shirley had a scholarship to attend UCLA but turned it down when she won a part in a television drama. Within three years, she gave an Academy Award-nominated performance in the movie version of "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs," in 1960, written by fellow Kansan William Inge, and for "Sweet Bird of Youth" in 1962.

In the following years she made nearly 20 movies and appeared in over 200 television shows. However, she was not happy in Hollywood. She worked on Broadway and then went to England in the mid-1960s with her British husband where she made several movies and they raised their daughters. They then returned to the United States where she has appeared often in movies and on television. She has also received a Tony award for her Broadway acting in the 1976 play, “Kennedy’s Children.” She was named the Native Sons and Daughters' Kansan of the Year in 1999.

Entry: Knight, Shirley

Author: G. Joseph Pierron

Author information: Judge Pierron serves on the Kansas Court of Appeals and has an interest in Kansas history.

Date Created: November 2012

Date Modified: August 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.