Shelley Duvall is most known for playing Wendy Torrance, Jack Torrance’s wife, in Stanley Kubrick’s iconic horror mystery The Shining. The 1980 film has withstood the test of time and is today regarded as one of the top horror films of all time. Even without the traditional paranormal trappings, Kubrick’s masterwork instilled an unsettling horror into the hearts of the audience. While Jack Nicholson’s depiction of Jack Torrance was the centerpiece of the film, Shelley Duvall also provided an outstanding performance. Despite being a well-known actress recognized for portraying a wide range of roles, she withdrew from performing in 2002 and progressively reduced her media appearances.
Duvall was interviewed by Phil McGraw on his program Dr. Phil in 2016. This was followed by extensive discussion of her declining mental state in the media. However, she claimed to have a keen recollection of interesting experiences from her acting career in another interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2018. In this post, we attempt to investigate the person behind the legendary part of Wendy Torrance in The Shining.
5 Facts About The Shining star you may not have known
1) Shelly Duvall never intended to be an actress
Shelley Duvall, while acting in many films in the 1970s and 1980s, never aspired to be an actress. She was born and raised in Texas and has always had a positive and lively demeanor. She was always interested in science and aspired to be a scientist when she grew up. As a result, after graduating from high school, Duvall attended South Texas Junior College and majored in food and nutrition therapy.
Her entrance into the film business came as a surprise. Duvall met director Robert Altman, who was filming for Brewster McCloud, at a party in 1970. Altman and the team were drawn to her vivacious personality and wanted her to be a part of the film. She consented to the proposal after some convincing. She moved to Hollywood shortly after and worked on a number of movies with Altman, eventually becoming a household figure in the business.
2) Her terrible experience in The Shining sets
Shelley Duvall was a well-known figure in the 1980s and 1990s for several memorable on-screen performances, but she slipped into obscurity after retiring from performing in 2002. Her performance in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror film The Shining was one of her most unforgettable.
She portrayed Wendy Torrance, the protagonist’s wife and the mother of Danny, the youngster who was seeing terrible visions. Despite the fact that the film has gone on to become one of the most celebrated horror films of all time, her experience on set was terrible. Despite her repeated claims that Kubrick’s treatment of her was intended to extract her potential, Duvall was cruelly abused by him. Her hair started to fall out as a result of the shooting experience, which had a profound psychological influence on her mental health. The scenes captured in Vivian Kubrick’s production documentary bear witness to its influence.
3) She has given a take 127 times in a row
The encounter at the Colorado Lounge was one of the most memorable moments in The Shining. Wendy examines Jack’s work, which contains just one sentence:
“Too much work and not enough play makes Jack a boring lad.”
This is followed by the critical encounter in which Jack is on the verge of losing his mind. He attempts to persuade Wendy of what he has to do while becoming more antagonistic to her. Wendy, on the other hand, is equipped with a baseball bat in an attempt to keep her husband away from her. Shelly Duvall gives a genuine performance in this segment. Kubrick photographed the scene for a record-breaking 127 takes before accepting it as a good enough shot. This encounter had an enormous emotional and physical toll on Duvall. She was in agony, her eyes puffy and her voice strained.
4) Her most memorable part was first met with criticism
While Kubrick and Jack Nicholson were praised for their roles in The Shining, Shelley Duvall received harsh criticism for her performance. The film and Duvall were also nominated for Golden Raspberry Awards in their first year of release, a spoof award that highlighted the worst films. However, by the late 1980s, the picture had been re-evaluated, had become a cult classic, and had been included in lists of the finest horror films.
Duvall, who was widely chastised for her lackluster performance, was subsequently commended by reviewers for doing justice to her role. She portrayed a realistic persona, and her actions mirrored the reality of the scenario. After more than 40 years, the organizers revoked her Razzie nomination and admitted that it was a mistake.
5) Shelley Duvall was well-known before her role in The Shining
While her performance in The Shining is her most well-known, Shelley Duvall has been in and given other legendary performances during her lengthy career. Shelly Duvall began her career in numerous Robert Altman films, including Brewster McCloud (1970), McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Thieves Like Us (1974), Nashville (1975), and more films are included. She then collaborated with F. In 1976, Scott Fitzgerald wrote the novella Bernice Bobs Her Hair.
Her breakout performance occurred in Altman’s 1977 psychological thriller 3 Women, for which she won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival, the LAFCA Award, and a BAFTA nomination. She went on to have a tiny part in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (1977). Duvall had two important productions in 1980: Kubrick’s The Shining and Altman’s critically acclaimed musical Popeye.