Below is a compiled list of the most interesting facts about Shelley Duvall. Check it out!
Shelley Alexis Duvall was born in Fort Worth, Texas, the first child to Bobbie Ruth (Massengale, 1929-2020), a real estate broker, and Robert Richardson Duvall (1919-1994), a lawyer. At the time of her birth, her mother was visiting her grandmother in Fort Worth, though Duvall was raised in Houston. During her childhood, Shelley’s mother humorously gave Shelley the nickname “Manic Mouse”, because she would often run around her house and tip over furniture. Shelley however was more than a mouse, but rather quite the little artist. Her favorite thing to do when she was very young was draw. She also has three brothers: Scott, Shane, and Stewart.
Interesting Facts about Shelley Duvall
- Turned down the role of Tracy Farrell in Robert Altman’s A Wedding (1978). The role went to Pam Dawber.
- Learned Italian to play Countess Gemini in The Portrait of a Lady (1996).
- A fan of Sean Connery, she was lured by Terry Gilliam into making Time Bandits (1981) under the assumption that she would be working with him. Gilliam called Duvall while she was completing work on Popeye (1980) to ask her to appear in the film. When she displayed reluctance, Gilliam, knowing her adoration of Connery, told her “Sean Connery is going to be in it”, to which Duvall immediately replied, “I’ll do it.” As it turned out, they didn’t share any scenes together. She later laughed this off, crediting Gilliam’s “devilish” sense of humor.
- Appeared in four films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Nashville (1975), Annie Hall (1977) and The Shining (1980).
- Was romantically involved with Paul Simon from 1976 to 1979. He was the one to tell her she had won Best Actress at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival for her performance in Robert Altman’s 3 Women (1977). She was intended to star opposite Simon in One-Trick Pony (1980), which Simon wrote as a vehicle for the two of them while they were together. He broke up with her at the airport as she was about to board a plane to London to begin filming The Shining (1980). Simon made the film with Blair Brown.
- Played chess with Stanley Kubrick between takes on The Shining (1980).
- Studied at the renowned Actors Studio in New York during the early 1970 but after only a few classes, found the process too analytical and technical and left to return to her own instinctive and organic approach to acting.
- Once lived with 11 dogs, 12 parrots and 58 finches, budgie and cockatiels. [May 1989]
- No relation to Robert Duvall, despite a popular misconception.
- Inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame. 
- Film critic Pauline Kael once referred to her as “the Female Buster Keaton”.
- At Stanley Kubrick’s insistence, she and Jack Nicholson performed 127 takes of the baseball bat scene in The Shining (1980), which broke a world-record for the most retakes of a single movie scene with spoken dialogue. Duvall said she learned more from working with Kubrick on that film than she did on all her previous films.
Personal Quotes by Shelley Duvall
In school the kids thought I was freaky because I made straight A’s and daydreamed a lot.- Shelley Duvall
I suppose I learned organization from Altman.- Shelley Duvall
Bernard and I intend doing a lot with our lives and that includes actively helping other people. But how can we tell you our plans when we haven’t finished making them yet?- Shelley Duvall
Anyway, I went out and bought thousands of dollars worth of mature clothes so I’d look like a person to be taken seriously, instead of a pretty little twit.- Shelley Duvall
But most of what I’ve learned about acting – and a lot of what I’ve learned about life in the past seven years – was taught to me by Robert Altman.- Shelley Duvall