Published July 25, 2013
NEW YORK – Who knew Shirley Jones was such a wild woman? The 79-year-old "Partridge Family" mom has been making the rounds promoting her memoir “Shirley” talking about being in a threesome with her philandering first husband Jack Cassidy and shaking her assets for her current husband Marty Ingles! We talked to Jones about her weird and wild life and uncovered a few other facts that may not yet have seen the light of day...
FOX411: First off, you’re a Republican, which can’t have been too popular in the 70’s in Hollywood.
Shirley Jones: Well it still isn’t. It’s pretty bad here. They’re all Democrats here, but that doesn’t bother me.
FOX411: Ever feel like it hurt your career?
Jones: No! I didn’t care one bit about that stuff. I do my thing my way. If you don’t like it then tough!
FOX411: It was sort of sad reading how Jack Cassidy had so many flagrant affairs and threw them in your face.
Jones: It was a sad experience for me. He was my first husband. I was 21 when I married him and he was like my knight in shining armor. I was raised in a small town and marriage was it for me. I was never, ever going to get a divorce from anybody, I wasn’t raised that way. He was older than me and more experienced. It was sad in many ways; on the other side of the coin he taught me everything. We sang together, we worked together. He was a wonderful talent, very bright, every well-read. I admired him tremendously.
FOX411: The story of how you got your first break is crazy.
Jones: It was a remarkable thing that happened and I don’t think could ever happen again. When I tell it to people they can’t believe it and I still can’t believe it. I was on my way to college. I wanted to be a vet but I could sing and that was a gift.
Every summer my parents would take me to New York. We went and I knew a pianist from the Pittsburgh Playhouse where I took singing lessons. I called him and he said, ‘Rodgers and Hammerstein’s casting director is having an open casting call.’ I’d never been to a professional audition. He talked me into it.
I sang for the casting director and he said, ‘Miss Jones what have you done?’ I said, ‘Nothing.’ He said, ‘Can you wait a few moments? Mr. Rodgers happens to be across the street.’ I didn’t even know who he was to tell the truth. I sang for him and he said, ‘Can you wait a minute? I’m going to call my partner Oscar Hammerstein to have him come and hear you.’
I ended up auditioning with a City Centre Symphony with the score of ‘Oklahoma’ which I’d never seen before. Three weeks later I was in my first Broadway show, ‘South Pacific.’ Within a year I was playing the lead in the film of ‘Oklahoma.’
FOX411: You must have been like, ‘This showbiz thing is pretty easy. What are people complaining about?’
Jones: I just didn’t understand it. I thought, ‘What are you people talking about? This is the easiest thing that ever happened to me.’ Then I found out what the business was really about when I was shooting ‘Oklahoma.’ At that time you could work actors around the clock. We were in Nogales; we worked seven days a week, fifteen hour days for seven months.
FOX411: You won the Oscar for ‘Elmer Gantry’ and in the speech you said it was the greatest moment in your career.
Jones: Yeah not in my life. It was very exciting. I was thrilled, God knows it gave me an extension in my career that I never would have had because they stopped making musical pictures and everybody thought of me as a singer. It was fantastic but the most important thing in my life was my husband and children.
FOX411: You took on ‘The Partridge Family’ to be home with your kids.
Jones: Yes they were school age then. Up to that point I took them all over the world but there came a time when I had to let them go to school for crying out loud. We moved to Beverly Hills which had the best public school system in the country. When I was offered "Partridge Family" all the agents and managers said, ‘Shirley, this is a mistake. If this is successful you’ll be Mrs Partridge for the rest of your life and your movie career will be in the toilet.’ Of course they were right about that.
FOX411: Did that bother you?
Jones: No because it gave me a chance to stay home with my kids. I enjoyed doing it and I’ve gone on to do a lot of other movies and TV.
FOX411: You’ve been married to comedian Marty Ingels for over 30 years, but you write that you separated because your kids couldn’t stand him.
Jones: Exactly it was a nightmare. We went to a family psychiatrist and he told us the best thing to do was to separate for a year with no contact and then see what happens afterwards. The moment we saw each other we decided to get back together. We didn’t want to be without each other.
FOX411: How is your sons’ relationship with Marty now?
Jones: Incredible. I think the changes were all around. Marty has mellowed tremendously. He’s a comic so he wanted attention every single moment. My oldest son Shaun was like, ‘Oh my God he’s unbearable.’ But Marty has mellowed and this Easter Sunday, Shaun invited us. It was a whole new opening for everybody. It was just great.