Shirley Knight Shirley Enola Knight, also known by her married name of Shirley Knight Hopkins, was born on July 5, 1936, to a wealthy family in Goessel, Kansas.
She is an American actress who made her film debut in 1959. The following year she was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, and again, in 1962, for her role as Paul Newman's sweetheart in Sweet Bird of Youth.
She appeared in The Group (1964) and Petulia (1967). She also starred in Francis Ford Coppola's The Rain People (1969).
In the 1960s she abandoned Hollywood in favor of the Broadway stage, but she has since returned to film as Helen Hunt's mother in As Good As It Gets, and to television in a number of programs, including as Faith Ford's mother in Ford's failed sitcom Maggie Winters, and on series such as Murder, She Wrote, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Desperate Housewives as Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross)'s mother-in-law.
She has two daughters by two different marriages, the latter to the writer John Hopkins.