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Shelley Duvall, star of ‘The Shining’ and ‘Nashville,’ dies at age 75

By meerna Jul12,2024
Shelley Duvall, star of ‘The Shining’ and ‘Nashville,’ dies at age 75

Shelley Duvall, the fearless Texas-born movie star whose wide-eyed, charming presence anchored Robert Altman’s films and starred in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” has died. She was 75.

Duvall died in her sleep Thursday at her home in Blanco, Texas, her longtime partner, Dan Gilroy, said. The cause was complications from diabetes, said her friend and spokesman Gary Springer.

“My dear, sweet, wonderful life, partner and friend left us last night,” Gilroy said in a statement. “Too much pain lately, now she is free. Fly away beautiful Shelley.”

Duvall was attending college in Texas when members of Altman’s “Brewster McCloud” crew met her at a party in Houston in 1970. They introduced her to the director, who cast her in “Brewster McCloud” and made her his protégé.

Duvall later appeared in Altman’s films, including “Thieves Like Us,” “Nashville,” “Popeye,” “Three Women” and “McCabe & Mrs. Miller.”

“He offers me … good roles,” Duvall told The New York Times in 1977. “None of them were the same. He has great trust and confidence and respect for me, and he doesn’t put any restrictions on me or intimidate me, and I love him. I remember the first piece of advice he gave me: ‘Don’t take yourself seriously.’”

Duvall, gaunt and awkward, was not your typical Hollywood starlet. But she had a seductively frank manner and a peculiar naturalism. Film critic Pauline Kael called her “the female Buster Keaton.”

At her peak, Duvall was a regular in some of the most important films of the 1970s and 1980s. In The Shining, she played Wendy Torrance, who watches in horror as her husband Jack (Jack Nicholson) goes crazy while their family is sequestered in the Overlook Hotel. It was Duvall’s screaming face that made up half of the film’s most iconic image, along with Jack’s axe crashing through the door.

But Duvall disappeared from the movies almost as quickly as she appeared in them. In the 1990s, she began to withdraw from acting. Her last film role was in 2002’s “Manna From Heaven.” Duvall has since retreated from public life. Earlier this year, she gave her first interview in years.

“How would you feel if people were really nice and then all of a sudden, in the blink of an eye” — she snapped her fingers — “they turned on you?” Duvall told the Times. “You would never believe it until it happened to you. That’s why you hurt yourself, because you can’t really believe it’s true.”

Jake Coyle, Associated Press

By meerna

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