Why Did ‘The Shining’ Star Shelley Duvall Disappear?

The Shining Shelley Duvall, 1980
Warner Brothers/Everett Collection

If you search Shelley Duvall, it is easy to find a list of her accomplishments and roles in the ’70s and ’80s. However, it is hard to find out what she’s been up to now. The New York Times recently shared a wonderful piece on Duvall and gave fans the update they’ve all been craving… what is she up to? The 74-year-old is in good spirits and is itching to work again, despite dealing with some health issues from diabetes that has her bound to a wheelchair. She now lives a quiet life in Texas with her long-time partner Paul Gilroy and embraces both her fame and her love of nature, away from the bright lights of Hollywood.

ANNIE HALL, Shelley Duvall, 1977

Everett Collection

Best known for her roles in The Shining, Popeye and Annie Hall, Duvall hadn’t appeared in any movies or TV shows since Manna From Heaven in 2002. She is changing that though and is set to appear in the upcoming film The Forest Hills, playing Mama in the horror flick (also stars Dee Wallace and Edward Furlong). So, why did she disappear for so many years?

Popeye Shelley Duvall, Robin Williams, Wesley Ivan Hurt, 1980

Paramount/Everett Collection

She explained, “I was a star; I had leading roles. People think it’s just aging, but it’s not. It’s violence.” She added, “How would you feel if people were really nice, and then, suddenly, on a dime” — she snapped her fingers — “they turn on you? You would never believe it unless it happens to you. That’s why you get hurt, because you can’t really believe it’s true.” She may be referring to her appearance on the Dr. Phil talk show in 2016 when she sparked mental illness rumors.

Faerie Tale Theatre Shelley Duvall, (May 1982), 'Grimm Party' (aka 'Greatest Moments'), (Season 4, Episode 4, aired Jul 17, 1985)

Richard Hewett/TVG/Showtime/Everett Collection

She appeared very distressed and the interview was booked without Gilroy’s knowledge. During the show, she talked about receiving messages from Robin Williams, who died two years prior to the interview, and talked about “malevolent forces” that wanted to hurt her. While the premise of the episode was about getting her some help, many criticized it for using Duvall as a way to get viewers and said they didn’t actually help her but hurt her further by making her look crazy.

Even so, things appear to be improving for Duvall. When asked how she got cast in The Forest Hills, she said, “I wanted to act again. And then this guy kept calling, and so I wound up doing it.” No release date has been set yet but you can check out the trailer here. Meanwhile, check out this behind-the-scenes of her filming. Due to her mobility issues, they filmed at her house over Facetime. We can’t wait to see her full performance and what she will do next.

’80s Where Are They Now
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’80s Where Are They Now

March 2023

Who can forget all the great TV shows, movies and music of the ‘80s? See what your favs are up to now!

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