Shelley Duvall, the cult-favourite character actor best-known for her work in The Shining and Annie Hall, has died. She had just turned 75.

Her partner, Dan Gilroy, confirmed her passing to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that Duvall died in her sleep due to complications from diabetes. She was at home in Blanco, Texas, when she died.

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

The Texas native had dozens of acting credits to her name, spanning from 1973 to as recently as 2023, as well as several producing and writing credits. The last time she appeared on screen was in 2023’s The Forest Hill, alongside Edward Furlong and Dee Wallace.

According to Biography, Duvall founded two successful television production companies. She had largely left Los Angeles and returned to Texas, where she was born, to raise animals and write poetry.

Duvall, gaunt and gawky, was no conventional Hollywood starlet. But she had a beguiling frank manner and exuded a singular naturalism. The film critic Pauline Kael called her the “female Buster Keaton.”

Her wide-eyed, winsome presence caught the eye on director Robert Altman and he made her his protege.

Duvall was attending junior college in Texas when Altman’s crew members, preparing to film Brewster McCloud, encountered her as at a party in Houston in 1970. They introduced her to the director, who cast her Brewster McCloud.


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Duvall would go on to appear in Altman films including Thieves Like Us, Nashville, Popeye, Three Women and McCabe & Ms. Miller

“He offers me … good roles,” Duvall told The New York Times in 1977. “None of them have been alike. He has a great confidence in me, and a trust and respect for me, and he doesn’t put any restrictions on me or intimidate me, and I love him. I remember the first advice he ever gave me: ‘Don’t take yourself seriously.’”.

At her peak, Duvall was a regular star in some of the defining movies of the 1970s and 1980s. In The Shining, she played Wendy Torrance, who watches in horror as her husband, Jack (Jack Nicholson), goes crazy while their family is isolated in the Overlook Hotel. It was Duvall’s screaming face that made up half of the film’s most iconic image, along with Jack’s axe coming through the door.

Shelley Duvall on the set of "The Shining."

Shelley Duvall on the set of “The Shining.”

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

In 2016, a nearly unrecognizable Duvall appeared on Dr. Phil McGraw’s show Dr. Phil to share her ongoing struggles with her mental health.

Shelley Duvall

Shelley Duvall, circa 1988 (L) and in 2016 on ‘Dr. Phil.’ (R).

The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images/Dr. Phil

She told McGraw that she believed late comedian Robin Williams, who she starred alongside in the 1980 flick Popeye, was not dead and claimed to have seen him.

On the program she admitted “I’m very sick. I need help.”

Earlier this year she gave her first interview in years.

“How would you feel if people were really nice, and then, suddenly, on a dime” — she snapped her fingers — “they turn on you?” Duvall told the New York Times. “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.”

with files from The Associated Press

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