"Not that much bothers me," says the Terms of Endearment Oscar winner

By Nigel Smith
July 17, 2019 10:22 AM

Shirley MacLaine is living her best life at 85.

The Oscar winner, whose classic Steel Magnolias, turns 30 this year, is far removed from the short-tempered character Ouiser Boudreaux she plays in Herbert Ross’ beloved drama.

“Not that much bothers me,” she says. “I think attitudes are a choice. Anger is a choice, peace is a choice, sarcasm — which is what I’m good at — is a choice.”

As the actress tells PEOPLE in the latest issue, “I have what I consider just a perfect life… I eat what I want, I sleep when I want.”

For more about MacLaine, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday.

MacLaine still continues to work steadily, but now cherishes her downtime at her ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico, where she resides for some of the year.

“I have someone who comes in a couple of times a week, but otherwise I’m totally alone,” she says. “I sometimes go to Santa Fe, which is one of the artistic and restaurant and new age capitals in the country.”

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

RELATED: My Life in Pictures … Shirley MacLaine

Since breaking onto the scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 black comedy The Trouble with Harry, MacLaine hasn’t let up. She’s acted in more than 50 films over the course of her legendary career in Hollywood, resulting in an Academy Award win for 1983’s Terms of Endearment, six Oscar nominations, and a Kennedy Center Honor. MacLaine, who’s sister to Warren Beatty, has also written 10 bestselling books, including the 2016 memoir Above the Line, in which she detailed her belief in reincarnation. And she had a daughter, Sachi, 62, from her 28-year marriage to producer Steve Parker.

Shirley MacLaine after winning her Oscar in 1984
John Paschal/Getty Images

Now, MacLaine says her her secret to happiness is “not to keep busy.”

“Give it up and learn to amalgamate with nature,” she says. “I have all the animals around me [in New Mexico]. It’s everything I need to be happy.”

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