Award-Winning Actress Shelley Duvall Passes Away At 75

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
American Liberty News
- July 12, 2024
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ANALYSIS – “The big lie.” No. It’s not election denial. It’s a truly big lie. As early as 2016, Democrats have been peddling the absolute nonsense “big lie” that electing former President Donald Trump would be an existential threat to American democracy.

Since his challenging of the 2020 election, and the Capitol riot, those hysterical claims have only gotten shriller and more strident.

It’s also a great way to mobilize their rabid base and avoid having to defend their abysmal record on everything from illegal immigration, crime and inflation to foreign.

Award-winning actress has died. The longtime movie star and producer known for her unique look and distinctive performances was 75.

Duvall began her career in the early 1970s as a protégé of director Robert Altman.

Her career was significantly influenced by her collaboration with Altman, working with the renowned director on films such as “Brewster McCloud” (1970), “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” (1971) and “Nashville” (1975).

Her breakthrough came with her role as Millie Lammoreaux in Altman's 1977 film “3 Women,” for which she won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival. That same year, she played a small but memorable role in “Annie Hall” as one of Alvy Singer's (Woody Allen's character) girlfriends.

However, Duvall is arguably best known for her portrayal of Wendy Torrance in Stanley Kubrick's horror classic “” (1980). Her performance, characterized by intense emotional and physical strain, is iconic.

Yet the making of “The Shining” was notoriously difficult for Duvall. Kubrick's demanding and exacting directorial style led to numerous retakes and high levels of stress for the actress, fueling speculation that the experience contributed to her eventual decision to leave for rural Texas.

In one of her final interviews, Duvall spoke to People magazine about her decision to disappear from the spotlight for more than 20 years:

Duvall's long disappearance from Hollywood sparked speculation about her mental health over the years. But in person she's sharp, earthy, a bit eccentric and sometimes emotional as she looks back on her unique career. (She asks to do the interview from her SUV, since an injured foot makes it difficult to walk.) Born in Fort Worth in 1949, Duvall grew up in Houston, where her father was a lawyer and her mother worked in real estate. Despite three younger brothers, she says, the house wasn't a boisterous one: “I liked to read and had a lot of homework.”

But everything changed for her at age 18, when a group of men in suits attended her then–boyfriend's art opening. “Somebody said, ‘Oh, it's the movie people,' ” she recalls. They noticed Duvall and asked her to audition. What followed felt like a whirlwind. She soon found herself costarring in Altman's 1970 comedy Brewster McCloud. It took two more films before she decided to make acting her career. “After Thieves Like Us, Robert [Altman] looked at me and said, ‘I knew you were good, but I didn't know you were great,' ” she says with tears in her eyes. “It's the reason I stuck with it and became an actress.” Duvall became Hollywood's unconventional It girl. Her lilting voice was as recognizable as her doe eyes and lithe frame. “I didn't feel beautiful,” she says. “I had big eyes, big ears.” She starred in seven Altman films, including 3 Women and Popeye, in which she played Olive Oyl opposite Robin Williams. “All it took was to put on the costume, and I knew exactly how to play Olive,” she says.

Despite working with Hollywood giants, she didn't always find the acting life easy or profitable. “You didn't get paid much—just scale plus 10 percent,” she says. “They thought women would just marry and the husband's going to support them. But that doesn't happen for everybody.” Duvall has been in a decades-long relationship but declines to discuss her current or past loves, who have included Paul Simon and Ringo Starr. During the interview she is reminded of a song—-Supertramp's “Even in the Quietest Moments”—and asks to play it. As the music swells, tears stream down her face. She wipes them away and smiles. “It's the first time I've heard the song since a certain boyfriend,” she explains.

For the most part Duvall is happy to walk down memory lane. And whenever she stumbles across her films on TV, she'll stop and watch. “On one channel there is Popeye and another one The Shining. Boy, those are two different films,” she says. “But in a way it's like, ‘Gosh, I was great.'”

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1 Comment
    Kathleen Futch

    She was unique and wonderful in Popeye. I know the movie did not go over well, why, I don’t know. But I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    She will be greatly missed by many who love talent like hers.

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