Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty's sister complex: Why Leslie Caron refused to marry Hollywood's Playboy

‘Gigi’ star Leslie Caron, 91, who dated Beatty in the 1960s, said, 'I had many of her [MacLaine's] qualities. I was a dancer, I had a very good figure, I was independent'

Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty's sister complex: Why Leslie Caron refused to marry Hollywood's Playboy
Warren Beatty (R)and Leslie Caron (L) arrive for the royal premiere of 'Born Free' at the Odeon in Leicester Square, London, on March 16, 1966 (Leonard Burt/Central Press/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Warren Beatty, 85, who has been accused of forcing 14-year-old girl Kristina Hirsch, now 63, to have sex with him after months of grooming her on a 1973 movie set, reportedly always had girlfriends who resembled his sister Shirley MacLaine. ‘Gigi’ star Leslie Caron, 91, who dated Beatty in the 1960s, described, “I had many of her qualities. I was a dancer, I had a very good figure, I was independent. Until he was a fully grown man, his sister was the center point of his life.”

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As stated by The Irish Times in 2021, Caron also spoke about how Beatty once woke her up worried that she was not thinking about him as she slept. "I thought it was funny! It’s romantic when you’re young and somebody is thinking obsessively about you in the middle of the night. You are quite flattered," said Caron who later realized that it was a sign of his narcissism and a desire to control her. "He considered himself my tutor and told me how to dress and wear makeup and how to behave," she added.

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Shirley MacLaine and her actor/brother Warren Beatty at the annual Academy 'Oscar' award reception in Hollywood, Santa Monica.
Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty at the annual Academy's Oscar Awards reception in Hollywood, Santa Monica, in 1966 (Keystone/Getty Images)
Actor Warren Beatty and sister Shirley MacLaine in the audience during the 36th AFI Life Achievement Award tribute to Warren Beatty held at the Kodak Theatre on June 11, 2008 in Hollywood, California. The show will air on USA Network at 9PM PST on June 25, 2008.
Warren Beatty with sister Shirley MacLaine during the 36th AFI Life Achievement Award tribute to Warren Beatty held at the Kodak Theatre on June 11, 2008, in Hollywood, California (Alberto E Rodriguez/Getty Images for AFI)

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The proposal

According to Closer Weekly, Beatty reportedly asked Caron to marry him several times but she refused. "He kept asking me and I kept saying, ‘No, Warren, no.’” “Everything with him was too dramatic. I didn’t think I could keep up the pace. And I couldn’t, and eventually I left him because of that. He wanted everything to be so well announced. He loved to be trailed around by journalists and to have everything you did photographed. I just couldn’t accept that kind of life,” Caron, who has been married three times, explained the reason behind her 'no.'

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She was married to Peter Hall, the director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, at that time with whom she had two children. But the couple were staying apart to pursue their respective careers. 

Leslie Caron introduces
Leslie Caron introduces 'La Regle Du Jeu' as part of the BFI Screen Epiphany series at BFI Southbank on July 26, 2016, in London, England (John Phillips/Getty Images)

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The Playboy

Beatty, who was born in Virginia, followed the footsteps of his elder sister MacLaine, who got an Oscar for best actress in 1984 for her role in 'Terms of Endearment'. He soon shot to fame but also developed a playboy reputation.

He once said, as quoted by The Rake, "Women are like a jar of olives. You can eat one, close it up, or you can eat them all.” Beatty had a brief affair with Sonny Cher. She was 16 and he was 25, and was already involved with Natalie Wood, who co-starred with him in 1961 'Splendor in the Grass'.

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The relationship was followed by Caron and then, Mamie Van Doren, with whom he had a short-lived romance. He started dating Julie Christie in the 1960s until 1973, reports Groovyhistory.

The list continued from Brigitte Bardot to Britt Ekland and then he finally married actress Annette Bening in 1992. They both co-starred in 'Bugsy' in 1991. The following year, the couple got married and appeared together once more in the comedy 'Love Affair' (1994). 

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