Singer and Academy Award winner, Shirley Jones, is celebrating her 80th birthday on March 31. Inspired by former President George H.W. Bush’s “birthday jumps,” she has also planned to go on her very first skydive for her birthday.
“Wow, if he can do this, I can,” Jones proclaimed after seeing Bush skydive in Maine for his 85th birthday back in 2009. Bush had already skydived for a few of his previous birthdays.
Jones, who has been in show business for six decades, starred as Shirley Partridge in the 1970’s sitcom The Partridge Family. She is also known for her roles in films, such as Carousel and Oklahoma!, which were both film adaptations of Broadway musicals. Jones won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film Elmer Gantry, where she played Lulu Bains, a prostitute.
Her husband, actor and comedian Marty Ingels, was surprised with her plans of skydiving at first, but has come to terms with her decision. Jones’ children, on the other hand, have other things to say. Jones cited Shaun Cassidy, her son, as saying, “Mom, what’s the matter with you? Why would you want to do this at your age?”
Jones said that her son’s statement comes from a place of concern, as she admittedly said that she is suffering from arthritis and skydiving can be a dangerous activity for her. However, she is not one to back down and has already firmly decided to go through with it. She also said that it is an activity that she has wanted to do all her life and it is one of the top items on her to-do list. It was either skydiving, or visiting a safari in Africa to feed her love for animals, as she is also a supporter of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
Aside from the exciting skydiving activity, Jones’ entire family including her 12 grandchildren, will be having a big party to celebrate her 80th birthday. She is also planning to welcome an old friend from Pennsylvania that she has known since they were in the third grade.
It seems like Jones is more afraid of turning 80 than skydiving for the first time. “The number scares me to death. I don’t even like to say it. Eighty years old, it can’t be,” she said.
Jones plans to skydive tandem with an instructor at the popular skydiving resort, Perris Valley located in California.