born on 7/7/1949 in Houston, TX, United States
|Born||Shelley Alexis Duvall
July 7 1949
Houston, Texas, U.S.
|Years active||1970present (on hiatus as of 2002)|
|Spouse(s)||Bernard Sampson (1970-1977)|
Shelley Alexis Duvall (born July 7, 1949) is an American film and television actress best known for her roles in 3 Women, Popeye, Thieves Like Us and The Shining.
She began her career in the 1970s films of Robert Altman, followed by roles in movies by Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton. She is also an Emmy-nominated producer, responsible for Faerie Tale Theatre and other kid-friendly programming.
Background and education
Duvall was born in Houston, Texas on July 7, 1949, the daughter of real estate broker Bobbie Ruth Crawford (née Massengale) and defense attorney Robert Richardson Duvall. She has three brothers, Scott, Shane and Stewart. She was a student of Sinclair Elementary School (HISD). A graduate of Houston's Waltrip High School, she was working as a cosmetics salesperson at Foley's in Houston when she was discovered at a party by production scouts for Altman's Brewster McCloud (1970). She is not related to actor Robert Duvall.
Duvall's debut was portraying the free-spirited, disabled, love interest to Bud Cort's reclusive Brewster in Brewster McCloud. Altman was so impressed with Duvall that he cast her in his next films, including McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Thieves Like Us (1974) and Nashville (1975). In 1977, Duvall was awarded a Best Actress Award by the Cannes Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association for her portrayal of the delusional Millie Lammoreaux in Altman's 3 Women. That same year, she appeared in Annie Hall as Woody Allen's one-night stand, and she hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live.
Duvall's next role was Wendy Torrance opposite Jack Nicholson in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980). Nicholson states in the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures that Kubrick was great to work with but that he was "a different director" with Duvall. Due to Kubrick's highly methodical nature, principal photography took a year to complete. Perhaps the most notorious example of this was Kubrick's insistence that she and Nicholson perform 127 takes of the baseball bat scene, which broke a world record for the most retakes of a single movie scene with spoken dialogue. Kubrick and Duvall had frequent arguments although Duvall later said she learned more from working with Kubrick on The Shining than she did on all her previous films.
In January 1979, Altman offered her the role he believed she was born to play: Olive Oyl in the big-screen adaptation of Popeye. Duvall was initially reluctant to accept the role due to negative memories of being called "Olive Oyl" as a child but went on to accept it in stride. Her version of "He Needs Me" from Popeye was featured in Punch-Drunk Love.
Following the success of The Shining and Popeye, Duvall had supporting roles in Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits (1981), Tim Burton's Frankenweenie (1984) and the Steve Martin comedy Roxanne (1987).
Duvall as producer
During the making of Popeye, Duvall showed Robin Williams some of the antique illustrated fairy tale books that she had been collecting since she was 17. One of these was an old copy of The Frog Prince. Envisioning Williams as the perfect "Frog Prince", she formed her own production company, Platypus Productions, and approached Showtime with an idea for a cable television series based on classic fairy tales. Showtime embraced the project and began airing episodes of Faerie Tale Theatre in 1982. The one-hour anthology series featured live-action adaptations of well-known fairy tales and starred many of Duvall's celebrity friends. Duvall played characters in four episodes and hosted all 26 until the end of the series' run in 1987. In 1985, she created Tall Tales & Legends, another one-hour anthology series for Showtime, this one featuring adaptations of American folk tales. As with Faerie Tale Theatre, the series starred well-known Hollywood actors, with Duvall serving as host, executive producer, and occasional guest star. The series ran for only nine episodes but brought an Emmy nomination for Duvall.
After Tall Tales and Legends ended in 1988, Duvall founded a new production company called Think Entertainment to develop programs and made-for-TV movies for cable channels. Under the banner of Think Entertainment and Platypus Productions, she created Nightmare Classics, a third Showtime anthology series. It featured adaptations of well-known horror stories by such authors as Edgar Allan Poe. Unlike the previous two series, Nightmare Classics was aimed at a teenage and adult audience. It was the least successful series that Duvall produced for Showtime, running for only four episodes. In 1992, Think Entertainment joined forces with the newly-formed Universal Family Entertainment to create Duvall's fourth Showtime original series, Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories, which featured animated adaptations of children's storybooks with celebrity narrators. It earned her a second Emmy nomination.
Duvall produced a fifth series for Showtime, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, before selling Think Entertainment in 1993 and retiring as a producer.
Duvall continued to make film and television appearances throughout the 1990s. In 1998, she played Drew Barrymore's mother in the comedy Home Fries and Hilary Duff's aunt in the direct-to-video children's film Casper Meets Wendy. She returned to the horror genre with Tale of the Mummy (1998), The 4th Floor (1999) and the horror-comedy Boltneck (2000).
In 2000, she played Haylie Duff's aunt in the independent family film Dreams in the Attic, which was shopped to the Disney Channel but never released. Her last acting appearance was a small role in the 2002 independent film Manna from Heaven.
After her Los Angeles home was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Duvall left California and since then has lived primarily in Blanco, Texas. In 2007, she made a standing-room-only appearance at a library in Texas. She has been described as "reclusive."
In a November 5, 2010 interview with Mondo Film & Video Guide, Duvall talked about her current life, revealing that future film roles are a possibility:
|I wouldnt say I became a recluse. If you Google the meaning, it sounds much worse. I just took time out. Ive been acting for over 35 years; it does take a lot out of you. I just needed some me time, and Ive loved it. People seem to think Ive turned into a recluse who never leaves the house and doesnt communicate with the outside world, thats just not true... I have a quiet life now, I have a lot of animals on my property and look after them; not a crazy cat lady yet though. I write a lot of poetry, would love to publish a book of my work one day. Still get a lot of scripts sent to me, a return to acting is never out of the question.|
|2002||Manna from Heaven||Detective Dubrinski|
|2000||Dreams in the Attic||Nellie||(unreleased)|
|Boltneck||Mrs. Stein||(aka Big Monster on Campus)|
|1999||The 4th Floor||Martha Stewart|
|1998||Home Fries||Mrs. Jackson|
|Casper Meets Wendy||Gabby|
|Tale of the Mummy||Edith Butros|
|Twilight of the Ice Nymphs||Amelia Glahn|
|Changing Habits||Sister Agatha|
|My Teacher Ate My Homework||Mrs. Fink|
|1996||The Portrait of a Lady||Countess Gemini|
|1993||Sesame Street Stays Up Late!||Herself|
|1992||Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories||Herself|
|1991||Suburban Commando||Jenny Wilcox|
|1990||Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme||Little Bo Peep||Television film|
|Frog||Mrs. Anderson||Television film|
|1981||Time Bandits||Dame Pansy / Pansy|
|The Shining||Wendy Torrance||Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actress|
|3 Women||Millie Lammoreaux|
|1976||Bernice Bobs Her Hair||Bernice||Television film|
|Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson||The First Lady (Mrs. Grover Cleveland)|
|1975||Nashville||L. A. Joan|
|1974||Thieves Like Us||Keechie|
|1971||McCabe & Mrs. Miller||Ida Coyle|
|1970||Brewster McCloud||Suzanne Davis|
- Film Reference
- Shelley Duvall at the Internet Movie Database
- Berlin, Jeannie. The Unlikely Lavender Queen. Broadway Books (a division of Random House), 2007.
- Mondo Film & Video Guide, "Hello, I'm Shelley Duvall", November 5, 2010.
- Shelley Duvall at the Internet Movie Database