Shelley Duvall: Wikis


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Shelley Duvall
Born Shelley Alexis Duvall
July 7, 1949 (1949-07-07) (age 60)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Occupation Actress/Producer
Years active 1970–present
Spouse(s) Bernard Sampson (1973–1977)

Shelley Alexis Duvall (born July 7, 1949) is an American film and television actress. 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.


Early career

Duvall was born in Houston, Texas, the daughter of real estate broker Bobbie Ruth Jaz Crawford (née Massengale) and defense attorney Robert Richardson Duvall. She has three brothers, Scott, Shane, and Stewart. 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).

Duvall's debut was portraying the free-spirited 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 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). Jack 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.[1] Perhaps the most notorious example of this was Kubrick's insistence that she 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.[2] Duvall said she learned more from working with Kubrick on The Shining than she did on all her previous films.[3]

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.

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 Shelley Duvall's Tall Tales and 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 Cartoon Studios to create Duvall's fourth Showtime original series, Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories, which featured animated adaptations of children's storybooks with celebrity narrators and 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 big-screen 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.[4] 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. She recently made a standing-room-only appearance at a library in Texas. Her friend in Blanco, Jeannie Ralston (The Unlikely Lavender Queen), calls her "reclusive".[5]


Year Film Role Other notes
2002 Manna from Heaven Detective Dubrinski
2000 Dreams in the Attic Nellie (unreleased)
Boltneck Mrs. Stein (a.k.a. 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
1991 Suburban Commando Jenny Wilcox
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
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


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