Shelley Duvall's Life before She Became Famous and Landed Roles like Olive Oyl in 'Popeye'

Shelley Duvall is one of the best character actors to work in the movie business, but her life before fame was ordinary and had nothing of the glitz and glamor of Hollywood.

On July 7th, '49, Shelley Duvall came into the world in Fort Worth, Texas, as the only daughter of Bobbie and Robert Duvall. As a child growing up in Houston, the actress loved the arts, and had a lot of energy.  

Shelley Duvall attend the Cable ACE awards in circa 1991 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

Shelley Duvall attend the Cable ACE awards in circa 1991 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

SHELLEY DUVALL'S CHILDHOOD

She attended Waltrip High School, graduating in '67, before proceeding to South Texas Junior College, where she studied nutrition and diet therapy. 

While in college, Duvall started selling cosmetics at Foley's, but things took a turn in '69 when she met the director, Robert Altman. 

Impressed by her lean build, big eyes, and toothy smile, he signed the then-sales agent up for a minor role in his movie, "Brewster McCloud," and so began her journey into Hollywood. 

Shelley Duvall attends the 15th Annual CableACE Awards on January 16, 1994 | Photo: Getty Images

Shelley Duvall attends the 15th Annual CableACE Awards on January 16, 1994 | Photo: Getty Images

HOW DUVALL'S CAREER SPROUTED 

Working with Altman gave Duvall steady roles on the big screen as he featured her in some of his '70s flicks, like "Thieves Like Us," "Nashville," and "Buffalo Bill and the Indians."

Many assumed she became a recluse, but in 2016, the actress resurfaced in an interview with Dr. Phil, where she claimed to be mentally ill and asked for help.

By '77, she had won two Best Actress awards at the Cannes Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. In '80, the actress had her last and most famous role with the director. 

Shelley Duvall attends the Museum of Broadcasting's Sixth Annual Television Festival on February 28, 1989 | Photo: Getty Images

Shelley Duvall attends the Museum of Broadcasting's Sixth Annual Television Festival on February 28, 1989 | Photo: Getty Images

"POPEYE" CEMENTED DUVALL'S PLACE IN HOLLYWOOD

Shelly Duvall portrayed "Olive Oyl" in "Popeye," and cemented her place as one of the best character actors of all-time. The Houston native also got to work with directors like Woody Allen on "Annie Hall," Terry Gilman, on "Time Bandits," and Tim Burton on "Frankenweenie." 

The actress also starred as "Wendy Torrance" alongside Jack Nicholson in Stanley Kubrick's "Shining." The role was the most challenging and rewarding of Duvall's career, as it demanded everything she had to give emotionally, and physically. 

By '83, the "Frasier" star went into the production of children's shows, by learning the art of producing, and directing. 

Shelley Duvall attend the Museum of Broadcasting's Fifth Annual Television Festival on March 7, 1988 | Photo: Getty Images

Shelley Duvall attend the Museum of Broadcasting's Fifth Annual Television Festival on March 7, 1988 | Photo: Getty Images

Duvall founded the production company, "Platypus Productions," which handled the creation of two award-winning programs, "Faerie Tale Theater and Shelley Duvall Tall Tales," and "Legends." 

Duvall remained active throughout the '90s, branching into TV, and horror genres. In 2002, she stopped appearing in movies, choosing to live a quiet and peaceable life at her home in Blanco, Texas. 

Shelley Duvall, who plays Olive Oyl in the film Popeye, in London on 8th April 1981 | Photo: Getty Images

Shelley Duvall, who plays Olive Oyl in the film Popeye, in London on 8th April 1981 | Photo: Getty Images

DUVALL MADE A SURPRISE APPEARANCE ON DR. PHILL

Many assumed she became a recluse, but in 2016, the actress resurfaced in an interview with Dr. Phil, where she claimed to be mentally ill and asked for help.

Since then, there has been no news of the actress, or how she's faring. While some of her fans are hoping that she would find her way back to the movies, Duvall has been away for so long that it seems most unlikely.

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