Shirley Jones Collects Lalique
Academy Award winning
actress Shirley Jones has always loved crystal and fine stemware.
"Even when I was living in my first apartment and didn't have much,
I made sure I had wonderful glasses, even to just drink milk out
of," she said. "Then, about fifteen years ago, somebody gave me a
piece of Lalique crystal as a gift (an angel), and I just loved it.
Today, I have about 75 pieces."
Lalique is the eponymous
crystal named after the French artisan Renee Lalique (1860-1945).
Early in his career, Lalique gained fame as a jewelry designer. He
was notorious for his use of flowing and majestic plant, animal and
human forms. He would often pair semi-precious stones with the
unexpected -- horn, ivory, pearl, coral, enamel and even plastic or
glass, to make his creations.
Then, around age 50,
Lalique embarked on a new career as a master glassmaker, opening a
shop near the business of the famous perfumier Francois Coty. He
began creating classic perfume bottles for Coty, and eventually did
same for Worth, Forvil, D'Orsay, Guerlain and others. He also
produced stemware, tableware, inkwells, clocks, chandeliers, vases
and even car hood ornaments.
Lalique caught some flak
from other artists of the day for mass-producing his creations. But
Lalique didn't see that as crass commercialism -- he just wanted
everyone to enjoy his work, at an affordable price. Indeed, at the
height of production, his factories employed up to 600 people to
create millions of pieces of glassware. Some, but not a lot, of
what's out there today carries high value.
But that seems to matter
little to Lalique devotees like Shirley Jones, who has no idea how
much her collection is worth and doesn't seem to care. "The fact is,
I've never had to go out and buy any of the pieces myself," she
admitted. "My husband (Marty Ingels, the kinetic comic and talent
agent), sons (Patrick, Shaun and Ryan Cassidy, actors all) and
friends are always buying it for me."
Purely by chance, Shirley
did discover the value of a vase Ingels had given her as a present
years earlier. "I was shopping at Geary's (a fine items shop in Los
Angeles) not too long ago, and I saw an example of the very same
vase, and it was priced at $3,200." Jones said if she were to take
the plunge and begin buying Lalique, "I would go to estate sales.
That's where the bargains are."
Of all his glass creations,
Lalique was probably best known for his vases. The amber, plum,
blue, opalescent, grey, green, black and yellow hues were achieved
by meticulously adding measured amounts of pigment to darkened
glass. Animal figures, mythical beasts and geometric shapes poured
from his fertile mind. Lalique's Art Deco jewelry-making style
transferred to his work in glass.
And color counts, with
regard to value: colorless vases may range in price from
$1,000-$2,000, but a red example may fetch $7,500 and an electric
blue piece $25,000. Jones has five vases, and about as many perfume
bottles. All are either plain or frosted glass. "I'm just not
attracted to colored glass," she said. "I like my crystal and glass
to be clear for the most part. I'm a purist."
Actually, she does have two
colored pieces, both of them small reindeer. One's gold, one's pink.
"I'm an animal nut, so it makes sense that animals would make their
way into my collection. For that, a little color is OK." Other
pieces she owns include a pair of antelope (or deer, she's not sure
which) with paws up, facing one another; a horsehead bust; and a
fish, which is rather small.
Jones keeps her Lalique
collection in a soft oak, nicely lit curio cabinet. At least she
will, when she and Marty have finished the move from a previous home
in Beverly Hills to new digs in Encino, not far away. "Everything's
in boxes right now," she said. "I can't even look at the collection
to talk about it." She said the plan is to anchor the cabinet to the
wall to guard against earthquake damage.
It's worth noting that
Shirley and Marty are appreciators of fine art, although she
cautions she's no collector and no expert. She does, however, have
an original Picasso hanging on the wall at home, as well as two
Renoir sketches. In fact, she met Ingels at an art exhibit on the
lawn of actor Michael Landon's home. "I didn't buy anything that
day. Marty and I talked the whole time."
That was 1974; the two were
married three years later, following a courtship so outrageous and
romantic the story has been told in their 1989 autobiography,
Shirley and Marty, An Unlikely Love Story. The book will soon be
made into a theatrical release. Previously, Jones was married to
actor Jack Cassidy, who perished in a fire. The couple had three
boys: Shaun, Patrick and Ryan.
David Cassidy is Shirley's
stepson and still an active entertainer today. The two were co-stars
on the hit TV series The Partridge Family, which ran from 1970-74.
Jones played the matriarch of a family that was also a successful
rock 'n' roll band. The story line was loosely based on the singing
family The Cowsills, who were popular at the time. David played the
heartthrob teen singing star.
Shirley Jones was born on
March 31, 1934 in Charleroi, Penn. Her parents, Paul and Marjorie,
named their only child after Shirley Temple, probably the most
bankable and recognized movie star of that time. Paul ran The Jones
Brewery, which he took over from his father in nearby Smithton.
Shirley enjoyed a normal, carefree childhood in the quiet,
By age six, the precocious
youngster had already begun singing in the church choir. Then, after
graduating from Huntingdon High School, Jones was spotted by a scout
photographer for the Miss Pittsburgh Beauty Pageant. She went on to
win that title and competed in the Miss Pennsylvania pageant. She
was first runner-up and got a scholarship to the Pittsburgh
apprenticeship there, Shirley set her sights on the big time. She
borrowed $160 from her father to take on The Big Apple, promising to
return home if the money ran out before she found acting work. It
never happened. After learning of replacement tryouts for the chorus
in South Pacific at the St. James Theatre, Jones tried out and got
the part. And she still had $50 left over.
Jones' singing had so
impressed the legendary songwriting team of Richard Rodgers and
Oscar Hammerstein that they personally propped along their young
ingenue. After playing one of the nurses in South Pacific, she got a
small role in the R&H musical Me and Juliet. During the
nationwide tour of the show, she screen tested for the part of
Laurey in the movie version of Oklahoma!
She got that part, too. The
1950s would find Shirley co-starring in a string of movies, many of
them quite successful: The Courtship of Eddie's Father (with Glenn
Ford); Bedtime Story (with David Niven and Marlon Brando); The Happy
Ending (with Lloyd Bridges); The Cheyenne Social Club (with Henry
Fonda and James Stewart) and Never Steal Anything Small (with James
Other films included Two
Rode Together (with Richard Widmark and James Stewart); April Love
(with Pat Boone); Carousel (with Gordon MacRae) and, of course,
Oklahoma! (also with Gordon MacRae). But 1960 would be a watershed
year, as Jones copped her industry's highest award -- the Oscar--
for her performance as a temptress in Elmer Gantry, opposite Burt
Not everyone was sure that
a girl-next-door type like Shirley was the best choice to play a
prostitute who all but topples the empire of an ambitious
evangelist. But Lancaster promoted her for the role after seeing her
in a dramatic part on TV's Playhouse 90. Candidates for the lusty
part were plentiful, and many had talent, but Lancaster convinced
director Richard Brooks of Jones' range.
After Elmer Gantry, Jones
starred in another Broadway musical-turned-movie, Music Man (with
Robert Preston). Meredith Wilson's captivating story stands to this
day as one of Columbia's biggest money-makers. In the years that
followed, there was The Partridge Family, made-for-TV movies, TV
guest appearances, Broadway and the stage, and many international
concert dates. Recently, Jones has been busy performing in concert
worldwide. She has guest starred on TV shows like The Drew Carey
Show; Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and That '70s Show. She's done
several movies, too, including Ping (a comedy); I Know What You
Screamed Last Summer (a terror spoof); and Manna From Heaven (with
Louise Fletcher and Cloris Leachman, both Oscar winners).
Shirley Jones may visit the star online at http://www.shirleyjones.com/.
Shirley Jones' career has been going full-throttle
for 50 years. She still does concerts, TV and
appeared in the play and movie versions of Rodger &
Hammerstein's classic, Oklahoma.
Shirley was the matriarch and stepson David Cassidy
the teen heartthrob in TV's Patridge Family.
Below are some representative pieces of
Lalique. Lalique was famous for his use of plant, animal and
human forms, as in this car mascot archer. Of all his glass
creations, Lalique is best know for his vases. Color often
dictates the piece's value. Lalique designed ornate car
mascots (hood ornaments) like the one shown. He loved
automobiles. This Lalique perfume bottle, titled "Deux
Figurines," carries an estimated value of