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TODAY   |  November 12, 2013

Shirley MacLaine dishes on life, love, monogamy

Hollywood icon Shirley MacLaine visits TODAY to talk about her new book, “What If: A Lifetime of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses and a Few Things I Know for Sure.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> so much. now let's say hello to a true icon. oscar winner shirley mcclain. she is out with a really interesting new book called what if. a lifetime of questions, speculations, reasonable guesses and a few things i know for sure. it's so nice to meet you. thank you for being here.

>> thank you, savannah.

>> where do you find all the time? you have a star turn in downton abbey and you decided to write your 13th book. it just came spilling out of you?

>> that's just about it. i wanted to take an experiment and sit down and not think about it and just, i guess, channel it.

>> do you have writer's block ever? or is this one of those things when you decide to sit down and put pen to paper it comes out?

>> i command whatever it is i want to say to be said. but, you know, i'm a dancer and i'm very disciplined. so i put aside like four hours a day and just sit there and let it all happen. it's like norman naylor told me once. i don't write my books. something else in me or around me or above me writes them. i just let it happen .

>> well, the book poses a lot of provocative questions. some you answer and some you let hang out there. but let's go through a few of them. you say what if we could all live to 150 or 200? would you want to if you could?

>> boy, that would depend on how the world's going at the time i make that decision, you know? i think we all have -- i think we have gotten preprogrammed decisions when to leave. i do.

>> a destiny.

>> well, if that's what you want to call it. a little more complicated than that. i don't think mine is coming up soon. but i don't think so.

>> you ask what if sex isn't meant to be monogamous. do you have a conclusion?

>> yeah. wait a minute, they did a story -- now this is pretty good, did a whole research on this and they concluded after interviews, after daydreams, night dreams, fantasies, et cetera , that one-third of the human race is monogamous literally. one-third is serially monogamous , that's what i was. and one-third is promiscuous. if you're going to marry somebody and promise that you're going to be faithful that you should see if you fit in that category.

>> find out which third they belong to. this is good. what if make-up were illegal.

>> apparently make-up, if women are stripped of the ability to wear make-up, it's more frightening to them than almost anything.

>> if make-up were illegal i would be hauled off to prison right now.

>> isn't that interesting how we have this sense of fantasy about our appearance?

>> you write about living alone and it really feels like you have found the place you like -- or places, you live in new mexico and california. do you ever think about marrying again?

>> please. i know what category i'm in. that's not it.

>> there's another question in the book, what if the old testament contains evidence about extraterrestrials on earth. i read the book. you quote scripture. you mean that literally.

>> well, i read scripture. mike tyson and i were just talking about this.

>> were you.

>> very interested in this stuff, you know. he's fascinatingly curious about himself and what happened to him and all of that. okay, so it is a pleural word. will fashion man after ourselves. i think that could be some very superior, probability genetically engineered sophisticated star people . i really think that should be looked at. we don't know where we came from so why not give that a shot.

>> i ponder that and there's a lot to ponder in this book. it also says in the title there's a few things i know for sure. give me just one of them before we end.

>> that we're ending the show. that's about it.

>> literally.

>> i can't think of one right now that i'm sure about. i'm sure the world's a little bit in trouble and we better get our act together. i'm sure about that.

>> it is a very thought provoking book and entertaining and we learn more about you as well. thank you for