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See Shelley Duvall in Her First Movie After 20 Years Away From Hollywood

The 73-year-old star is returning to the screen for an upcoming horror film.

Twenty years after retiring from acting, Shelley Duvall is heading back to the big screen. As reported by Deadline on Oct. 28, the 73-year-old will appear in the upcoming indie horror movie The Forest Hills. Duvall, who delivered an iconic horror performance in The Shining, has not appeared in a movie since 2002's Manna from Heaven. And her most recent public appearance was during a controversial interview six years ago.

Read on to find out more about Duvall's career, her new movie, and how she's doing today.

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Duvall acted consistently for over 30 years.

Shelley Duvall signing autographs in New York circa 1970
Art Zelin/Getty Images

Duvall's movie career began in the early 1970s, and over the ensuing years, she appeared in films including McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Annie Hall, Three Women, The Shining, Time Bandits, The Portrait of a Lady, and many more. In 2002, she starred in her final movie (until now, at least), the comedy Manna from Heaven, which also featured Cloris Leachman and Jerry Orbach.

She stayed out of the spotlight for a long time.

Shelley Duvall photographed in Los Angeles circa 1990
Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock

Duvall remained out of the public eye following her retirement. For decades, she has lived in Texas with her partner of over 30 years, Dan Gilroy. In 2016, she appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil. The interview, which some saw as invasive, led to backlash and brought forth claims that Duvall was being exploited, as her mental health struggles were discussed and she appeared to be unwell.

"I found out the kind of person he is the hard way," Duvall told The Hollywood Reporter of host Phil McGraw in a rare 2021 interview. (The Hollywood Reporter interview noted that Duvall's "mood ebbed and flowed throughout the day" but that her memory was "sharp" and her stories "engrossing.")

A spokesperson for Dr. Phil defended the episode in a statement to THR, which reads in part, "We view every Dr. Phil episode, including Miss Duvall and her struggle with mental illness, as an opportunity to share relatable, useful information and perspective with our audiences … With no one else offering help, our goal was to document the struggle and bring amazing resources to change her trajectory as we have for so many over 19 years."

She's returning to the screen for a horror movie.

Shelley Duvall behind the scenes of "The Forest Hills"
Scott Hansen/ Digital Thunderdome

According to Deadline, The Forest Hills is an independent horror movie about a man (Chiko Mendez) who begins having disturbing visions after suffering head trauma during a camping trip. Duvall will play the man's mother and also serve as his inner voice. The cast also includes Edward Furlong (Terminator 2: Judgement Day) and Dee Wallace (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial). The photos featured here were taken behind-the-scenes of the film.

The director praised Duvall's work in The Shining.

Scott Hansen, Shelley Duvall, Steve Wallenda, and Scott Goldberg (shown on phone via video chat) behind the scenes of "The Forest Hills"
Scott Hansen/ Digital Thunderdome

While Duvall (posing above with gaffer Steve Wallenda on the left and director of photography Scott Hansen on the right) has not yet commented on The Forest Hills, writer and director Scott Goldberg (pictured via Facetime in the photo above) said in a statement to Deadline, "We are huge fans of The Shining and it's honestly one of my favorite horror movies of all time, up there with John Carpenter's Halloween and George A. Romero's Day of the Dead with the dark tones they delivered in their movies, along with perfect scores and elements that make them my personal favorites. Shelley contributed to The Shining being an absolute masterpiece by giving her all, and performing in a way that really showcased the fear and horror of a mother in isolation."

No release date for The Forest Hills has been announced yet, but it's filming at this time.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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