Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram

‘The Shining’ Star Shelley Duvall to Appear in First Film in 20 Years

Photo Credit: Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection / Getty Images

After 20 years, actress Shelley Duvall is making her grand return to the big screen! The star, best known for her roles as Wendy in The Shining and Olive Oyl in Popeye, is set to appear in an upcoming indie horror film called The Forest Hills.

Duvall’s rise to fame

Duvall took a step back from acting in 2002 after a small role in Manna from Heaven. Since her retirement, Duvall withdrew from the public eye almost entirely. Living out her days in a remote town in southern Texas, Duvall’s departure from Hollywood baffled many fans and industry professionals.

Shelley Duvall and Robin Williams in "Popeye"
Duvall as Olive Oyl and Robin Williams as Popeye in the 1980 film Popeye. (Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios / Paramount Pictures / movienutt / MovieStillsDB)

Shelley Alexis Duvall was born in 1949 in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in Houston. She worked as a cosmetics salesperson in 1970, and was discovered at a party. Her first role was in the film Brewster McCloud. Director Robert Altman loved the young actress so much, he gave her roles in his next three films: McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), Thieves Like Us (1974), and Nashville (1975). Her first lead role as Millie Lammoroux in the 1977 film 3 Women won her Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival.

The grueling experience of filming The Shining took a toll

Duvall truly skyrocketed to fame after her role in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Shining (1980). Playing the role of Wendy, the wife of tormented Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), Duvall’s life changed overnight – but her most iconic movie took a toll on her life. Dealing with the strict and demanding Kubrick and adhering to the film’s grueling schedule all while having to play a traumatized character for 56 weeks straight was draining for Duvall, to say the least.

Jack Nicholson approached Duvall while filming 'The Shining'
Behind the scenes of filming The Shining with Duvall and Nicholson. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. / movienutt / MovieStillsDB)

The actress told the Hollywood Reporter how she felt on set: “(Kubrick) doesn’t print anything until at least the 35th take… After a while, your body rebels. It says: ‘Stop doing this to me. I don’t want to cry every day.’ And sometimes just that thought alone would make me cry.’

When Duvall retired in 2002, the Shining actress had developed a career as a successful TV producer which began with Faerie Tale Theatre – a 1980s anthology series. It featured major celebrities like Carrie Fisher and Mick Jagger, who performed in classic stories directed by prolific directors such as Tim Burton and Francis Ford Coppola. Duvall was in charge of the entire production, and soon she became a TV trailblazer thanks to her unconventional approach to children’s programs.

Shelley Duvall in 'The Shining'
The iconic “here’s Johnny” scene from The Shining is one of Duvall’s most memorable movie moments. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB)

Shelley Duvall, now 73, is set to return to Hollywood for the first time in 20 years in The Forest Hills – directed by Scott Goldberg and produced by Scott Hansen – which is currently filming in upstate New York.

More from us: The Shining And The Number 42 Mystery That Has Captivated Fans

According to a press release, the horror film will follow a “disturbed man (Rico) who is tormented by nightmarish visions, after enduring head trauma while camping in the Catskill Mountains.” Duvall will play the mother of Rico (Chiko Mendez).

Elisabeth Edwards

Elisabeth Edwards is a public historian and history content writer. After completing her Master’s in Public History at Western University in Ontario, Canada Elisabeth has shared her passion for history as a researcher, interpreter, and volunteer at local heritage organizations.

She also helps make history fun and accessible with her podcast The Digital Dust Podcast, which covers topics on everything from art history to grad school.

In her spare time, you can find her camping, hiking, and exploring new places. Elisabeth is especially thrilled to share a love of history with readers who enjoy learning something new every day!

The Digital Dust Podcast