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Shirley Jones was born on March 31, 1934, in Smithton, Pennsylvania. She was the only child born to Paul and Marjorie Jones. When Shirley was a young girl, her mother recognized that she had a natural talent in singing. Shirley Jones has never had one voice lesson. She studied drama at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. After school, Shirley performed with the Civic Light Opera Company. As a teenager, Shirley was crowned Miss Pittsburgh, a title that started her on her way to a career in show business.

When she was nineteen years old, Shirley auditioned for the songwriters Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Her girl next door appearance and soprano voice impressed the songwriting team. They cast her in a minor role in their Broadway production of "Me and Juliet" in 1953. Because of her exceptional talent, Miss Jones was signed to play the lead on tour. The following year Rodgers and Hammerstein signed Shirley to play the female lead in their film "Oklahoma!" From there, she was cast in the film "Carousel." After that, Miss Jones appeared regularly in films through the 1960’s.

In 1956, Shirley Jones and actor Jack Cassidy were wed. The two had three children together one of which is actor/producer/director Shaun Cassidy. Shirley helped raise Jack’s son, David from a previous marriage. In 1975, the couple was divorced.

In 1970, Miss Jones went from films to television where she was cast in the show "The Partridge Family" which also starred her stepson David Cassidy. After the show was cancelled, Shirley Jones appeared in television movies through the 1980’s.

In 1977, Shirley Jones and Marty Ingels were married after a brief whirlwind courtship. After twenty-one years of marriage, the couple has separated.

In the early 1990’s, Miss Jones went on a musical concert tour, which was quite successful. She has also made special guest appearances on some sitcoms such as "Drew Carey" and other television shows. Miss Jones has appeared in stage plays since the 1990’s as well.