Shelley Duvall, star of ‘The Shining,’ dead at 75

Shelley Duvall, best known for her roles in “The Shining” and several acclaimed Robert Altman films, has died, according to reports, citing a family spokesperson and her longtime partner.

She was 75.

Duvall died in her sleep at their home in Blanco, Texas of complications of diabetes, Dan Gilroy, her life partner of more than 30 years, told The Hollywood Reporter.

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

Known for her thin physique, large expressive eyes and powerful performances, Duvall was a standout playing opposite Jack Nicholson in the iconic 1980 horror film “The Shining” and Robin Williams in the comedy “Popeye” that same year.

But hardcore fans of cinema also recognized her for her professional partnership with acclaimed filmmaker Altman, who first cast her as the love interest in the 1970 film, “Brewster McCloud.”

Shelley Duvall in "The Shining." - Warner Bros/Hawk Films/Kobal/Shutterstock
Shelley Duvall in "The Shining." - Warner Bros/Hawk Films/Kobal/Shutterstock

Duvall would go on to memorable roles in some of his other movies, including his ensemble 1975 film “Nashville,” and “3 Women” in 1977, which won her the Cannes Best Actress Award.

In a Boca Raton News story published in 1977, Altman hailed the actress as being able to “to swing all sides of the pendulum: charming, silly, sophisticated, pathetic — even beautiful.”

Duvall’s other notable work includes her performances in “Annie Hall,” “Roxanne” and “McCabe & Mrs. Miller.” She enjoyed an early hit in the premium cable era, as host and producer of Showtime’s “Faerie Tale Theatre” from 1982 to 1987. She worked in the entertainment industry for decades before she fell on hard times.

In 2016, Duvall appeared on Dr. Phil’s daytime talk show in an interview titled, “A Hollywood Star’s Descent Into Mental Illness: Saving The Shining’s Shelley Duvall.”

The actress made several troubling statements, claiming that her “Popeye” costar Williams, who died in 2014, was still alive and a shapeshifter.

“I’m very sick,” she told Dr. Phil at the time. “I need help.”

There was backlash after the episode aired, as many complained that Duvall had been exploited on air.

Shelley Duvall and Robin Williams in "Popeye." - Walt Disney/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock
Shelley Duvall and Robin Williams in "Popeye." - Walt Disney/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

In April of this year, Duvall, who hadn’t acted since 2002’s “Manna from Heaven,” gave a rare interview to the New York Times in which she reflected on her career and more recent absence from film and TV projects.

“I was a star; I had leading roles,” she said. “People think it’s just aging, but it’s not. It’s violence.”

“How would you feel if people were really nice, and then, suddenly, on a dime … they turn on you?” she added. “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.”

At the time, she and Gilroy were living in an “isolated but serene” one-story home in Texas Hill Country.

Over the years, Duvall retained a large fanbase of supporters. She returned to screens in 2023 for the horror film “The Forest Hills.”

“I wanted to act again. And then this guy kept calling, and so I wound up doing it,” Duvall quipped in her interview with the Times. “If you ever do a horror film, other horror films are going to come to you, no matter what you do.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

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