Legendary actress Shelley Duvall has died at the age of 75, her longtime partner Dan Gilroy has confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, July 11. The Shining star died in her sleep at her home in Blanco, Texas, from diabetes complications.

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

Shelley starred in numerous films including Popeye and Thieves Like Us, but is best known for playing Jack Nicholson‘s wife in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece The Shining in 1980.

Tributes poured in on X following the news of the actress’ passing. “So long Shelley Duvall. What made her special was not just how versatile she was, but she was unlike any of her contemporaries. She simply made you fall in love with Olive Oyl,” one person wrote, while another added, “I honestly feel so heartbroken. Shelley Duvall made me fall in love with watching actors transform on screen. Truly no one like her, we lost an icon.”

Shelley Duval Death

An X user named Sarah, who curated Shelley’s fan site shelleyduvallxo, posted a recent photo with the star. “I’ve seen the news about Shelley Duvall. I’m doing OK. Shelley was having difficulties with her health over the past few months and I visited with her often. I’ll always be grateful for the memories I created with her and that I was able to give her comfort and companionship.”

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, in July 1949, Shelley didn’t set out to become an actress. She met director Robert Altman when he was in her home state shooting the 1970 film Brewster McCloud, and he cast her in the movie.

Shelley went on to appear in six more of Robert’s films, including classics such as 1975’s Nashville and 1977’s 3 Women.

“He offers me damn good roles. 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,” Shelley told The New York Times in 1977 about why she kept working alongside the director.

While the success of The Shining made her a huge star, Shelley revealed in a 1981 interview the toll it took on her emotional health.

Making the film left her “crying 12 hours a day for weeks on end. I will never give that much again. If you want to get into pain and call it art, go ahead, but not with me,” she told People.

However, the upside was it launched her into a new stratosphere of fame. After being spotted by a waitress while driving to see her family, she told the publication, “When somebody recognizes you at a Dairy Queen in Texas, you’re a star.”

Shelley continued acting throughout the 1980s and 1990s but retired from the craft in 2002 after making her final film, Manna From Heaven.

shelley duvall dead
Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

In an April New York Times profile, Shelley explained why she walked away from acting at the height of her career.

“I was a star. I had leading roles. 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,” while snapping her fingers, “They turn on you? 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,” she explained.

Dan told the publication that Shelley changed following the 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake. Her home was damaged, and she moved back to Texas.

“Things went downhill when she started becoming afraid of things, maybe didn’t want to work. It’s really hard to pin it on any one thing,” he added. “She became paranoid and just kind of delusional, thinking she was being attacked. She tried to make calls to the F.B.I., and asked our neighbor to protect us … It was just shocking that, suddenly, from normal, it went south like that.”

Shelley came out of retirement in 2023 for the indie horror film, The Forest Hills.

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