Born in San Francisco, Shirlee grew up in Darien, Connecticut. While performing in theater productions her freshman year of college, she caught the fever. Fate stepped in when a well-intentioned professor submitted some of her writing to a literary contest and she received $2,500 dollars. At seventeen, Shirlee left school and headed to NYC. Landing a job with Allen Funt on the TV show Candid Camera, she took evening classes at The Neighborhood Playhouse. It would be after a tour in a revival of Thurber’s “The Male Animal”, then finding employment on The Captain Kangaroo Show, that Shirlee met Doc Pomus. She was eighteen and it was early December 1965. At first blush, a more unlikely pairing could not have been imagined. However their love and friendship would continue until Doc’s passing in 1991.
Shirlee now lives in Westport, Connecticut and is a freelance journalist, writing on subjects covering politics, culture and travel. Her current project is a biographical piece on the Irish writer, philosopher, and poet, the late John Moriarty for publication in Ireland. One of her numerous photographic portraits of Doc graces the cover of Alex Halberstadt’s biography, “Lonely Avenue, The Unlikely Life & Times of Doc Pomus”, for both Da Cappo Press and Random House International. Shirlee is married and has a twenty-four year old son.
Of Doc she says, “Upon first meeting him one would be immediately confronted with a mystery. For it was obvious this person survived something catastrophic. Yet there Doc was – very much in and of the world – smiling, well read, animated, gregarious, with a wrathful wit, high intelligence and an unquenchable bonhomie, his masculinity fully intact. What was it about Doc’s life affirming drive and fierce, sentimental heart that was able to defy gravity? I am not sure any one can ever fully solve that mystery.”