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Well regarded for her ability to portray quirky and eccentric characters, actress Shelley Duvall has starred in Thieves Like Us, Popeye and The Shining, among other films.
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Born in 1949 in Houston, Texas, Shelley Duvall was discovered at an engagement party in 1969 by location scouts for director Robert Altman. Duvall would go on to star in several Altman films, including Thieves Like Us (1974) and Popeye (1979). In 1980,
Born in Houston, Texas, on July 7, 1949, actress Shelley Alexis Duvall was one of Bobbie and Robert Duvall's four children, and their only daughter. By her own account, Duvall was an artistic girl with lots of energy, whom her mother eventually nicknamed "Manic Mouse." "I was a little terror sometimes!" Duvall said in a 2012 interview. "I used to run around a lot, tipping things over."
Duvall graduated from Waltrip High School in 1967, and then enrolled at South Texas Junior College, where she studied nutrition and diet therapy. To help pay for school, Duvall worked as a cosmetics salesperson at a local department store.
Her acting career began by accident. In 1969, while attending an engagement party for a Houston artist, Duvall was spotted by a pair of location scouts, who had been hired by director Robert Altman for his upcoming film, Brewster McCloud (1970).
Though Duvall's acting background was somewhat limited—she'd performed in a handful of high school plays—Altman was intrigued by Duvall's unique looks, most notably her large eyes, lanky build, and engaging, toothy smile, and offered Duvall a part in his new film. Duvall accepted and went on to portray a Houston Astrodome usher and the love interest of the film's main character, Brewster McCloud.
Despite its poor reception, Brewster McCloud launched Duvall's career and set in motion a working relationship with Altman that would benefit them both in the coming years. The pair collaborated on Altman's next film, McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), and then later in Thieves Like Us (1974), Nashville (1975) and 3 Women (1977).
By the late 1970s, Duvall was a respected and well-known Hollywood actress. In 1979, she reconnected with Altman again for the live-action version of Popeye. The film, which starred Robin Williams as the title character and Duvall as his beloved Olive Oyl, was one that Duvall was at first hesitant to embrace, because she has been teased as an Olive Oyl look-alike while growing up. Eventually, though, Duvall changed her mind and her performance helped solidify the film's success.
In 1980 Duvall took on the role of the bumbling and innocent Wendy Torrance in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson. Working under Kubrick, Duvall later recalled, was the most challenging and rewarding experience of her acting life.
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