Shelley Duvall Dies; Beloved Star of The Shining and Popeye Was 75

Shelley Duvall Dies; Beloved Star of The Shining and Popeye Was 75

Shelley Duvall Dies; Beloved Star of The Shining and Popeye Was 75


Sad news out of Hollywood today, as Shelley Long — the quirky star best known for her film work in the ’70s and ’80s — has passed away at the age of 75.

Long accumulated more than 60 film and television credits during her decades in the industry.

But she’s likely best remembered for her performance as the tormented Wendy Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror classic The Shining.

Shelley Duvall appears in a scene from the 1980 film The Shining.
(Warner Bros./The Producer Circle Company (YouTube screenshot))

While that film introduced Duvall to a new and larger audience, her distinctive acting style had made her a favorite among several influential directors years earlier.

Robert Altman, in particular, was a fan of Duvall’s.

He discovered the actress while she was still a college student living in Houston and convinced her to star in his 1970 experimental comedy Brewster McCloud.

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She would go on to appear in several more Altman productions, including Nashville, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, and a live-action Popeye adaptation, in which she starred opposite as Olive Oyl opposite Robin Williams‘ the titular sailor.

That film has gone on to achieve a certain cult status, due in large part to Duvall’s performance and her endearingly off-key singing.

Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall in a scene from the 1980 film Popeye.Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall in a scene from the 1980 film Popeye.
(Paramount (YouTube screenshot))

Fittingly, Duvall’s final film, 2006’s A Prairie Home Companion, was directed by Altman.

“He offers me damn good roles. None of them have been alike,” Duvall said of her working relationship with Altman in a 1977 interview with The New York Times.

“He has a great confidence in me, and a trust and respect for me, and he doesn’t put any restrictions on me or intimidate me, and I love him.”

Sadly, Duvall’s final years were marred by physical and mental illness.

The actress alarmed fans with a 2016 appearance on The Dr. Phil Show, in which she appeared disheveled and disoriented.

Shelley Duvall in a scene from the 1975 movie Nashville.Shelley Duvall in a scene from the 1975 movie Nashville.
(Paramount (YouTube screenshot))

Thankfully, a 2021 profile in The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Duvall had bounced back and found happiness in a quiet life in her native Texas.

Duvall’s longtime partner, Dan Gilroy, revealed today that the actress passed away from complications from diabetes.

Related: Will Movies and Shows of Today Be Classics Tomorrow?

“My dear, sweet, wonderful life partner and friend left us. Too much suffering lately, now she’s free. Fly away, beautiful Shelley,” he told THR.

Our thoughts go out to Shelley Duvall’s loved ones during this difficult time.

Enter the comments section below to share your favorite memories from her long and brilliant career.



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