HomeNewsLocalActress Shelley Duvall Dies at 75

Actress Shelley Duvall Dies at 75

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Actress Shelley Duvall, who was a frequent collaborator of director Robert Altman and who played the tormented wife of Jack Nicholson’s ax-wielding character in “The Shining,” died Thursday at 75.

Duvall died in Blanco, Texas, due to complications from diabetes, her partner Dan Gilroy told news outlets.

“My dear, sweet, wonderful life partner and friend left us,” Gilroy told The Hollywood Reporter. “Too much suffering lately, now she’s free. Fly away, beautiful Shelley.”

Duvall won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress for her work in Altman’s “3 Women,” a role that also earned her a BAFTA award nomination.

She had roles in Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” and “Popeye” — opposite Robin Williams — but is best known for her role in “The Shining,” directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the Stephen King novel. Duvall played Wendy Torrance, the wife of Nicholson’s character Jack, who devolves into madness and tries to kill his wife and son while working as a winter caretaker at an exclusive Colorado hotel.

During the making of “The Shining,” Duvall was tested by the notoriously demanding Kubrick. Some of the scenes required more than 100 takes. The film’s baseball-bat sequence is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most takes of a scene with dialogue, according to Variety.

She worked with Altman on several projects. She appeared in “Brewster McCloud” as her first screen role. She went on to appear in his films “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” and “Thieves Like Us” before starring as part of the ensemble cast of “Nashville” in 1975. Following her part in “Nashville,” Duvall was cast in Altman’s “Buffalo Bill and the Indians” then “3 Women” in 1977.

She was Olive Oyl in Altman’s “Popeye” in 1980, playing opposite Williams in the title role before landing the role in Kubrik’s “The Shining.”

She told The Hollywood Reporter years later about how difficult it was to make “The Shining.”

“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. To wake up on a Monday morning, so early, and realize that you had to cry all day because it was scheduled — I would just start crying. I’d be like, `Oh no, I can’t, I can’t.’ And yet I did it. I don’t know how I did it. Jack said that to me, too. He said, `I don’t know how you do it.”‘

Among her other roles were Terry Gilliam’s “Time Bandits” and the comedy “Roxanne” with Steve Martin.

She largely abandoned Hollywood in the 1990s, opting to live in her native Texas, but returned to acting years later, appearing in the limited- release indie horror movie “The Forest Hills” in 2023.

She is survived by Gilroy, her partner and musician.

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