Home > Movies > Shelley Duvall: The Update You Didn’t Want

Shelley Duvall: The Update You Didn’t Want

shellyEver since she retired from acting 1992, I often wondered what happened to Shelley Duvall. She added so much quirk and rich dimensions to many classic films of the 1970s and 1980s, including Robert Altman‘s Nashville, Popeye and 3 Women; Woody Allen‘s Annie Hall; and Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining, among others. She also produced and hosted one of my favorite shows growing up, Showtime’s Faerie Tale Theatre, which ran from 1982 to 1987. After that she appeared sparingly in such films as Roxanne and The Portrait of a Lady (I won’t mention the Hulk Hogan vehicle, Suburban Commando… whoops, I just did). Then she kind of vanished off the face of the earth. Actually, she just moved out of Hollywood and stayed out of the limelight.  I figured Duvall was happily retired, relaxing in paradise or something. Boy was I wrong!

shelley_duvall_national_enquirer_2While reading The National Enquirer a few weeks ago, I came across a rather disturbing update on her whereabouts. The same story has just surfaced in The Globe. Duvall, now 60, is living in a ramshackle hut in the small town of Blanco, Texas. Local residents and neighbors have observed that she:

wanders around town… looking dishevelled, strange and totally crazy.”

The owner of the local hardware store told reporters:

One time she came in and asked for dirt and boards to block up a hole in her backyard because, she said, ‘That’s a portal into another dimension. That’s where the aliens are coming in.’”

Apparently, Duvall believes that there are “aliens living in her body.” Although she came off as a loose cannon and free spirit on film, I figured that was the result of typecasting. Guess not. Maybe she’s been getting too much sun. Blanco residents also overheard Duvall speaking of her plans for a Hollywood comeback someday. They said that she spends a lot of time looking back to her glory days as a star. Hmm. Perhaps part of her mind is still okay then. In that case, a return to the big screen isn’t so out of the question… unless the aliens try to stop her. Posted below is a clip of Duvall being interviewed by French journalists after winning the Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1977 along with an audio clip of Duvall singing, “He Needs Me” from Popeye:

“He Needs Me” – Shelley Duvall

Categories: Movies
  1. Judy Waldron
    February 20th, 2011 at 17:17 | #1

    No one believes the national Enquirer and if you do your the crazy one … I hope Shelley Duvall is doing great and this little piece you did on Shelley Duvall is just to get you some attention … although I doubt it will be the attention you want

  2. Patrick
    June 25th, 2012 at 14:51 | #2

    Shelley made a public appearance and was completlty rational and sane. She also cited these rumors as totally false, malicious gossip spred and believed by feeble minded inviduals.

  3. AIMEE
    July 19th, 2012 at 09:19 | #3

    I live in that small Texas town, and have personally witnessed such things. While unfortunate, this is all very true! I feel for her, but she can be quite vocal about “the aliens”. She stopped me one time and told me that they had stolen her Ipad because she was spreading the word about them. It’s very sad. I loved all her work, and have told her so, but she doesn’t seem to be well enough to really appreciate it.

  4. Catherine
    July 27th, 2012 at 16:38 | #4

    I believe Patrick. Everyone likes a good story of the “fall” of an actress. Why not use quirky Shelley? All magazines like this exaggerate to the point where their stories become completely false.

  5. Klas Anders Brahe-Oxenstierna
    September 22nd, 2012 at 07:23 | #5

    @AIMEE
    Even if what you say is true you should ask yourself what business is it of yours to speak about it and what kind person speaks about another person’s personal flaws like that on a public forum? If what you say is really true you must be a sad and pathetic little person for having revealed something she would have wanted you to keep silent about. It is no one’s business except for herself and her community. Who are you to humiliate another human being by saying things that you know are humiliating? Are you a vulture? Because you sound like a vulture.

  6. Joseph
    November 29th, 2012 at 09:43 | #6

    I hope the aliens get you @AIMEE idiot.

  7. Anthony
    January 12th, 2013 at 22:09 | #7

    This is very unfortunate what happened to Shelley; however, this is not what she is going to be remembered for, when she lead such a wonderfully, creative career. She has worked with some of the greatest directors of our time, and starred in some of the most notorious roles, and she did a fine job. I am certainly going to remember Shelley Duvall as being a quirky, and mysterious actress of the my favorite period, the seventies.

  8. Proteus meep
    February 27th, 2013 at 08:17 | #8

    the sadest thing is. what she is saying is the truth and peoples perceptions of her mental state are misguided

  9. Ruben
    August 17th, 2013 at 12:47 | #9

    I remember Shelly as a memorable actress in some of my favorite movies and an attractive woman with one of the prettiest smiles ever!

  10. calum watt
    October 26th, 2013 at 19:09 | #10

    i think shelley duvall is a great actress and i fancy her to bits she was great in the shining and very beautiful

  11. Daniel D Edone
    December 6th, 2013 at 16:06 | #11

    I met Shelley today It was really a bummer she must be Bipolar she acts Very Very crazy !she goes on and on and on 20 different directions I had a crush on her back in her day I’m 1 year older than she is .I talked or at least tried to talk to her she needs help ! I will try to follow up on it. she really looks homeless Daniel

  12. Johnny Wadd
    January 12th, 2014 at 18:07 | #12

    I knew Shelly in Blanco Texas. I had several restaurants and she would come in often. She was a bit off but still very sweet. She would come in the kitchen and want me to cook things we didn’t feature and speak of dinner parties at Faye Dunaway’s house. But she would also speak of the people that were watching her from inside of the soda fountain. And her SUV – I don’t know how she saw out the back – it was always piled to the top with stuff.

  13. Andrea
    January 30th, 2014 at 19:42 | #13

    Way to go, mental disorders are definitely going to bring down the umph on your actresses. Tool.

  14. March 14th, 2014 at 18:01 | #14

    I do not even understand how I stopped up right here, but I thought this submit was once great.
    I do not know who you are but definitely you are going
    to a famous blogger if you happen to are not
    already. Cheers!

  15. michelle
    March 20th, 2014 at 20:03 | #15

    I too live in the same town. We all have our stories about Shelley, she has lived here for quite some time. Like many others, she has her good days, bad days and then typical Shelley days. We, as a town, are not here to bash her at all…..but we have lived with her ever changing lifestyle and her quirkiness (to put it lightly) leaving all of us to speculate whether she’s ‘worse’ or not.
    I’ve had the pleasure of of talking with her when she first moved here…..and also, recently when she said that my cars exhaust fumes were filtering into the glass of her (packed-to-the-ceiling-with-her-valuables-so-the-aliens-won’t-take-them) SUV and suffocating her. I was parked two spaces away from her car and had just turned my engine off. She then sat in her dar talking to the stickshift for another few minutes as if it were a microphone. I asked her if she was going to be alright and her answer was…..yes, they said i will be. (sigh) I just said “Ok, Shelley, bye, have a great day!”
    So, I know she’s a wonderful person with a caring soul….somewhere in there. Unless you live close to or with a person who society calls ‘quirky’……don’t judge……..we don’t. Shelley is unique, but she has never harmed anyone (that I know of) and I wouldn’t trade the time she’s been here, it’s been entertaining to know her!!

  16. michelle
    March 20th, 2014 at 20:04 | #16

    I too live in the same town. We all have our stories about Shelley, she has lived here for quite some time. Like many others, she has her good days, bad days and then typical Shelley days. We, as a town, are not here to bash her at all…..but we have lived with her ever changing lifestyle and her quirkiness (to put it lightly) leaving all of us to speculate whether she’s ‘worse’ or not.
    I’ve had the pleasure of of talking with her when she first moved here…..and also, recently when she said that my cars exhaust fumes were filtering into the glass of her (packed-to-the-ceiling-with-her-valuables-so-the-aliens-won’t-take-them) SUV and suffocating her. I was parked two spaces away from her car and had just turned my engine off. She then sat in her dar talking to the stickshift for another few minutes as if it were a microphone. I asked her if she was going to be alright and her answer was…..yes, they said i will be. (sigh) I just said “Ok, Shelley, bye, have a great day!”
    So, I know she’s a wonderful person with a caring soul….somewhere in there. Unless you live close to or with a person who society calls ‘quirky’……don’t judge……..we don’t. Shelley is unique, but she has never harmed anyone (that I know of) and I wouldn’t trade the time she’s been here, it’s been entertaining to know her!!

    @AIMEE

  17. Blancoite
    March 20th, 2014 at 20:45 | #17

    While it is unfortunate that the things that are said about Shelly Duvall are very true it is sad that nothing is being done about it. Shelly has some mental issues that she is not to be blamed for. It is true that she is avoided when she comes in to town I have always taken it upon myself to not only greet her with a smile but to engage her in conversations. This has backfired on me a few times with her either crying or going into hysterics for no reason but I will never give up on her. SHE IS NOT HER MENTAL ILLNESS I will repeat this but yet once again SHE IS NOT HER MENTAL ILLNESS. I hope that someone will see this and help her she really really needs it and not to be picked on or pulled apart for something that is not her fault. God bless you Shelly Duvall your an amazing misunderstood soul and I hope you find your happiness inside…..

  18. Britney
    March 20th, 2014 at 21:08 | #18

    For those of you bad mouthing @AIMEE, I too live in this town, and while this is unfortunate, it ALSO happens to be TRUE. I am not judging anyone, because many people have different a beliefs and views in life. I have had many encounters with Shelley and there are times when she seems very clear minded, and others when she seems lost. WE as her COMMUNITY know this about her, and have for years. We support Shelley and admire her past work.,

  19. melicious
    March 21st, 2014 at 00:10 | #19

    @Klas Anders Brahe-Oxenstierna

    Pretentious much? Geez. If you feel that strongly about celebrity gossip, why did you even read this article?

    Calm down and get off your high horse.

  20. Marissa W
    March 21st, 2014 at 06:10 | #20

    I am from Blanco and while I’ve never heard of the alien theory I myself have had a very strange encounter with Ms. Duvall. I don’t know if she has been diagnosed with anything, but she does show typical signs of hallucinations, typical of depression or bipolar disease. I was in the drive thru line at our local Dairy Queen (which at the time was the only fast food place in Blanco)when I noticed the woman in the Lexus SUV in front of me kept making faces and sticking her tongue out at me in her rear view mirror. Now, I was in high school at the time and was very aware that Shelley lived in Blanco, but seeing as how she looks absolutely nothing like she used to I did not recognize it was her. I simply tried to avoid making eye contact with her and attempted to go about my business. After what seemed like half an hour of her chatting up the drive thru attendant I pulled up to pick up my order. The attendant asked me if I knew who the driver in front of me was. I told her ‘no’ and she proceeded to tell me that it was in fact the Olive Oil actress, and that Duvall had told her I used to attend to her birds and attempted to poison her oatmeal on various occasions. Not really knowing what to think I simply burst out into laughter, completed my transaction and drove off. About two years later I spoke with Shelley briefly while working at the local BBQ joint and she was very sweet..so who knows what is going on in her brain.

  21. THM
    March 21st, 2014 at 06:36 | #21

    I am sorry to say but yes I agree with Aimee. I grew up in this town and worked a the vet clinic she used and had to many personal in counters with her. I haven’t been around since 2002 and at that time she was having some issues. I love her to death and enjoy all of her work but like a lot of people she has some issues. No it shouldn’t be announced to the world but these magazines are always looking for something or someone to bash to bring their numbers up some how.

  22. Barbara Fillip
    March 21st, 2014 at 08:04 | #22

    I live in blanco tx and I know shelly duvall. I even got her autograph once. But I can honestly say she is crazy now. Like torally blanco residence stay away from her cuz she can flip at any point. But she was a good actress.

  23. gretchen
    March 21st, 2014 at 08:12 | #23

    Its all true ivlive in blanco tx. Iv met her a few times the women is crazy!!!

  24. Brenda Cunningham
    March 21st, 2014 at 09:48 | #24

    I am Shelley Duvall’s neighbor and I have a duty to shame all of you who are being cruel and snipey. There by the grace of God go I and all of you who gossip cruelly. She has a lovely 400k home on 10 acres. We have a less valuable home but the point is that you are laughing at another person who is suffering from a mental health issue and I don’t think that is very funny. Yeah she has her bad days when she gets confused. She has a great guy as her caretaker(go on laugh it up) she needs patience and understanding and as a neighbor we here in this little town have a responsibility to her cause here in this llittle crummy town (or so I hear) we were raised to have respect and compassion for Shelley just like we should. Yeah she has bad days and gets a little bit out of reality from time to time. Her home is well maintained and it’s a lovely home. She tries very hard to stay on the medications she has to take with grueling side effects. Sometimes she tries to stop and yes she’ll have a few episodes of erratic behavior but don’t poke fun and judge. We are well advised that for the grace of God go I. Can anyone remember that simple lesson in life when wwe were taught from the time we first went to kindergarten that our words hurt the ones of us who have the burden of mental illnesses and as her neighbor I feel blessed to be mentally stable and you should too. I guess I am glad to be in the place I am today. Not snickering at a lovely and talented and by the way she is very sweet and gentle loves the animals and nature just like me and you. Her aviary is full of exotic birds and believe it or not a little terrier chihuahua mix that she dotes on. I just wanted to set the record straight. This newsflash wouldn’t be what you would want to see or hear if it was you under the spotlight. God tells us that the way to inheret the earth is to love our neighbors as we.love ourselves. Keep laughing folks. I am sure that on your judgement day God will remember the deeds you did on earth and if there’s any chance at all to that I would rather have a lifetime of loving thy neighbor and being kind and generous not with money but more importantly that I can stand up true and proud. SHAME SHAME ON EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU WHO ARE ENTERTAINED BY A PERSON’S STRUGGLE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS LIKE SHE HAS TO DO. YOU ALL SUCK OK.

  25. Simbry
    March 21st, 2014 at 12:29 | #25

    I also live in Blanco. Shelley had a great career that i applaude and i respect her for it. However, all these claims are true. The aliens, the government stealing her thoughts. She once threw a burger into the drive thru window at sonic and claimed the bacon on it was dog meat. On another occasion she wanted to order everything on the menu at dairy queen that “doesnt have glitter in it”. Its a shame to see her wander in local stores and babble away about her delusions. Like it or not, these accounts are true but that does not change her great career and thats what we all will remember her by.

  26. March 21st, 2014 at 15:58 | #26

    Im from this small town as well & yes it is true. Shes a sweet lady but speaks about abnormal things. She once showed me her dog that was extremely filthy & said the radiation was taking it over, along with some other crazy talk.

  27. john mayfield
    March 21st, 2014 at 22:03 | #27

    Yes, Shelley Duvall lives in Blanco, Tx. I met her at a gas station, I was fueling up, she drove up and out of the blue she made a comment on how I looked just like her brother, I said well thank you but you do not look like any of my sisters. She kept insisting on how much I looked like her brother. That was the first time I met her. The second time was even crazier but that will be in my book that 1 day I will wrote.

  28. Anonymous
    March 22nd, 2014 at 09:31 | #28

    Being from blanco I can say that every day you would see her she would go on some rant about the aliens and evil around her house. She would yell at us when were In the gas station in highschool for being in the ah class because “the ah building is haunted and they do evil things there it’s a cult!” Loved her in movies bit I have personal experiences being around her and talking to her within the past few years, everyone here is sweet to we but you don’t know if you’ll get nice Shelley or angry. It’s sad

  29. Karen
    April 9th, 2014 at 07:01 | #29

    john mayfield :
    Yes, Shelley Duvall lives in Blanco, Tx. I met her at a gas station, I was fueling up, she drove up and out of the blue she made a comment on how I looked just like her brother, I said well thank you but you do not look like any of my sisters. She kept insisting on how much I looked like her brother. That was the first time I met her. The second time was even crazier but that will be in my book that 1 day I will wrote.

    John Mayfield: OMG! Please learn to write before you “wrote” your book. I thought that run on sentence would never end.

  30. Anonomoose
    June 11th, 2014 at 22:15 | #30

    This made me sad (if true) almost to tears – I’m 25, a huge movie fan, and a lover of life
    I love Shelly and have been trying hard to find out whatever happened to her. Ever since about 2000 she disappeared off the face of the earth (and you’d think a person as cool and popular like her would at least show up for a cameo, or in a book, or news, hell I’d even take a vine) – back in the 70′s and early 80′s she was a crazy popular person (and if you look at some of the photo shoots back then too – very beautiful… those eyes) both on screen and off, had all kinds of famous friends – so I kinda find it hard to believe that she was abandoned and left by all of them? O_o ALL OF THEM! (that also made me sad)
    (if true) I want to believe the she is acting just to see what she can get away with… maybe she’s bored with life and is just looking for a laugh (Andy Kaufman)… but then if that is her in the pic why dose she look so so fallen and in bad shape :-(
    If she dose live in this town, and if I ever make my way there, I’d like to spend a day with her talking and palling around (maybe even record some stuff) dose anybody think that would be possible? If I wanted to find her can I just go to her house?
    Shelly if you read this, we haven’t forgotten about you
    Peace, respect, and much love

  31. Pauline Lindsey
    June 27th, 2014 at 18:15 | #31

    I personally wait on Shelly each time she gets gas, she has problems but has never been vicious or mean,to me. One day she was fueling her SUV and we were visiting,she accidentally went over the usual 20. dollar purchase by another 20. I told her it was as much my fault as hers as we were having a great talk. She was telling me about some things that I knew couldn’t be fact but I continued to listen and engage with her. I told her I would pay the other 20.$ which I did. About 2 weeks later she came back, she had remembered the incident and re-payed me. So, i figured if I never got it back it was the price fora movie ticket and myself and my children have received much enjoyment from her movie time.
    As I say, she was here today and got her usual 20$ in fuel, we talk I am accepting of her an she appreciates it. However the disorders she has, is very common in these days almost everyone is by-polar or deranged in some way……just love and forget what has happened- that she is still……..Shelley Duvall.

  32. October 13th, 2014 at 22:58 | #32

    if she wants to talk about aliens,I would listen to her ALL DAY LONG with that great voice she has! lol

  33. Linda Cappaert
    October 21st, 2014 at 07:18 | #33

    I went to high school with Shelley Duvall. We didn’t hang out in the same circles, but could tell she was a unique individual with an art or entertainment career in her future. For some reason, she crossed my mind ,so I started researching what happened to her. Very sad to hear about her mental issues, but it seems that she has the financial resources to get treatment for whatever mental disorder she as if there was someone to guide her toward getting help. Many of the above comments seem to make her mental illness out as some kind of badge of honor and her as a tragic heroine. Of course, the ‘real’ Shelley with all her wonderful attributes is still inside somewhere, but they are trapped inside the nightmarish prison of mental illness. Of course, she is to be treated with dignity, compassion and respect, because she cannot help that she is suffering from a mental disorder, but anyone with a real heart who is close to her would do what they can to see that she receives the help needed to free the ‘real’ Shelley from the prison of mental illness.

  34. Jenn
    December 4th, 2014 at 16:22 | #34

    Unfortunately, this story is true. As someone who has personally seen and heard things since I live close to Blanco. On several occasions she has stopped people asked for money then randomly talks about strange things that don’t make any sense. I’ve personally seen her car a while back and it was stuffed top to bottom with newspaper. I had heard from locals that she had to let her ranch go due to no money to make the payments. My brother walked by the table she was sitting at in a local restaurant and she pulled aside my grandmother to tell her that my brother purposefully hit her as he walked by. He did no such thing as he was walking a good distance from her physically. I feel aweful for this woman but sad that this has happened to her. Hoping someday she can get some help:(

  35. Czarek
    December 8th, 2015 at 16:53 | #35

    Does she reply or just read the mail from outside of America, Iceland for example? I’m a huge fan of her and I want so much to make contact with her, if there’s any hope she could read my letter it would be great :) I found her adress somewhere on the internet

  1. November 26th, 2009 at 12:46 | #1
  2. December 12th, 2009 at 17:29 | #2
  3. July 19th, 2013 at 14:38 | #3