Shelley Duvall has tackled a number of iconic roles throughout her career, including her appearances in 1975’s Nashville and the 1977 drama 3 Women. In the early 2000’s she took a break from acting and remained largely out of the spotlight. Find out what happened to her after stepping away from Hollywood for two decades. 

What Happened to Shelley Duvall? 

Shelley, born in 1949, landed her first acting role in Robert Altman’s 1970 comedy Brewster McCloud. It marked the first of several collaborations with the director that helped her establish her film icon status. The Texas native experienced a major career breakthrough in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s with roles in Annie Hall and The Shining

What Happened to Shelley Duvall? Why She Left Hollywood
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Initially, Shelley had no intention of becoming an actress. Instead, she planned on pursuing her passion for science which she developed in elementary school. 

“If I hadn’t gotten into show business, I’d probably be working in microbiology or metabolics,” she told the Los Angeles Times in July 1985.

The Emmy nominee portrayed Olive Oyl in Altman’s musical-comedy adaptation of Popeye. Roles in Roxanne, The Underneath and Alone followed. In 1982, Shelley created and produced the series Faerie Tale Theatre and eventually founded her own production company, Think Entertainment. 

By the late ‘90s and early 2000s, she took on only a few minor roles in front of the camera. The producer appeared in Manna From Heaven in 2002 before walking away from Hollywood. 

Why Did Shelley Duvall Stop Acting?

Shelley retired from acting after her brother was diagnosed with spinal cancer. She moved from Hollywood back to Texas to support her loved ones during the difficult time. After that, she lived a pretty quiet life away from the spotlight.

“It’s the longest sabbatical I ever took but it was for really important reasons — to get in touch with my family again,” she told People in February 2023 of her decision. 

Where Is Shelley Duvall Now? 

Fans of the dynamic performer wondered if she would ever make another appearance on the big screen. Two decades after making her last film appearance, Shelley, who has been dating Dan Gilroy since the late ‘80s, decided to return to acting at the age of 73. 

The BAFTA nominee snagged a role in The Forest Hills, an indie horror film, and hinted that it would not be her last acting role. 

“[Jessica Tandy] won an Oscar when she was 80. I can still win,” she reflected.