The British Politician in ‘Out on a Limb’

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Shirley MacLaine wrote about her affair with a British politician in her autobiographical book Out on a Limb. “Gerry Stamford” was actually a fictional amalgamation of two politicians she was involved with, Andrew Peacock, the leader of the Liberal Party of Australia, and Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. MacLaine wrote about the confusion in her 1985 book Dancing in the Light.

“The week the book was published in America Margaret Thatcher called an election in Britain. An enterprising English journalist based in New York City read it, saw an opportunity to have some fun, and spiced up an otherwise dull election by sending his editors in London the juiciest details relating to the love affair I had had with a Socialist M.P. who wore a newspaper-stained trench coat and socks with holes in the heels, and had lost the tip of one finger. The story hit the front pages of every newspaper in London and the campaigning English politicians were called upon to hold up their five fingers and remove their shoes, the implication being that if they did qualify as my British lover, they’d get votes, no lose them.”

Shirley MacLaine, Dancing in the Light, Bantam Press, 1985.