Shelley Duvall

born on 7/7/1949 in Houston, TX, United States

Shelley Duvall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Shelley Duvall
Born Shelley Alexis Duvall
July 7 1949
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1970present (on hiatus as of 2002)
Spouse(s) Bernard Sampson (1970-1977)

Shelley Alexis Duvall (born July 7, 1949)[1] 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,[2] 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.

Early career

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.[3] 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.[4]

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.

Later career

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.[5] 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."[6]

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.[7]


Year Film Role Other notes
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
1997 Alone Estelle Television film
RocketMan Mrs. Randall (uncredited)
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
1995 Underneath Nurse
1993 Sesame Street Stays Up Late! Herself
1992 Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories Herself
1991 Suburban Commando Jenny Wilcox
1991 Frogs! Annie Television film
1990 Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme Little Bo Peep Television film
1987 Roxanne Dixie
Frog Mrs. Anderson Television film
1984 Frankenweenie Susan Frankenstein
Booker Laura Television film
1981 Time Bandits Dame Pansy / Pansy
1980 Popeye Olive Oyl
The Shining Wendy Torrance Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actress
1977 Annie Hall Pam
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


  1. Film Reference
  2. Shelley Duvall at the Internet Movie Database
  6. Berlin, Jeannie. The Unlikely Lavender Queen. Broadway Books (a division of Random House), 2007.
  7. Mondo Film & Video Guide, "Hello, I'm Shelley Duvall", November 5, 2010.

External links

  • Shelley Duvall at the Internet Movie Database
This page was last modified 30.06.2011 15:14:14

This article uses material from the article Shelley Duvall from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.