On Memorial Day 1980, The Shining, one of the greatest horror films ever made premiered in theatres and captured audiences across the nation.
The visionary Stanley Kubrick directed movie starred Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, a writer who took on a job at an isolated hotel built atop of a Native American burial ground to help him overcome his writer's block. Torrance moved into the hotel with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and their son Danny (Dan Lloyd) who was gifted with the power of "shining," a telepathic ability. Soon after they settled in inexplicable things began to take place and all does not end well.
Although Stephen King, the author of the novel the movie is based on, didn't quite love the film, the rest of the world embraced the masterpiece and became fascinated with the actors.
Nicholson arguably delivered one of his best performances in the classic psychological horror film, but it was the child actors who gave the film the extra zest through their acclaimed performances.
I mean, there are very few movie scenes more terrifying than the one with the dead twins chanting at Danny in the hotel corridor.
In fact, the kids were so important to the movie that Kubrick personally ensured their safety and comfort while on set.
During the entire filming process Dan wasn't made aware that he was shooting a horror movie, so for the darker scenes involving the young boy, Kubrick ordered life-sized dummies to be used in Dan's place.
Since the young actor was under the impression that the film was a drama, the set managers would often play music before each scene to get him in the right mood.
As for Lisa and Louise Burns, the actresses who played the Grady twins? They had to film their scenes using fake props so they would remain unharmed.
Their efforts proved successful because the children suffered no injuries and Dan later revealed in an interview that he truly had no idea what the genre of the movie was at the time of filming and he only realized what went on behind the scenes after watching an uncut version of the film 11 years after its release.
But the question that remains on everyone's mind is: "whatever happened to the kids who played these iconic characters?"
Click on the next page to see what the child stars look like all grown up!
Dan Lloyd was only 5 years old when he beat out over 5,000 kids for the role of Danny Torrence. After his praise-worthy performance in the movie, you'd think the child actor would be scouted by directors everywhere, but unfortunately this wasn't the case for Dan.
He only appeared in one more film in 1982, Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy, before giving up his dream of becoming a full-time actor.
In his interview with New York Daily News, a then 40-year-old Dan opened up about leaving Hollywood for the first time.
“I lead a pretty normal life now,” Lloyd told the NY Daily News. “People don’t recognize me when I got out in public.”
Dan was turned away from too many auditions in the years following The Shining, so at about 14 years old, the aspiring actor buried his dreams of being in the entertainment industry.
“We kept trying for several years ... until I was in high school and I stopped at about 14 with almost no success,” he said.
Contrary to the rumors online, starring in the horror film did not ruin Dan's chances of finding success in LA.
“I’m glad I was in ‘The Shining.’ It was not a bad experience for me. It just wasn’t something that panned out and I decided to go back to being a regular kid.”
He now works as a pig farmer and teaches biology at a community college a few miles from Louisville.
“A Hollywood life probably wouldn’t have been for me, anyway,” he added. “I’m proud to come from the Midwest and that’s where I’m comfortable at.”
He tells NY Daily News that he enjoyed the experience of being treated like an A-lister and he cherishes the memories on set including playing with the twins, Lisa and Louise.
The girls who were accidentally casted as the Grady twins have also bid adieu to their acting days soon after their stint on The Shining.
They also claimed that casting agents weren't interested in choosing them and it may have had to do with their horror movie experience. They were also turned away from the prestigious acting school, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London.
"When I was younger it was a huge dream of mine to be a movie star like Judy Garland or Greta Garbo, real movie stars. I went to an audition for RADA and they said they couldn’t accept me because I’d been in the movie, that made me a professional actress and they didn’t accept professionals," said Louise.
Nonetheless, the sisters found success in other fields. The 48-year-olds lead a normal life in london where Lisa is works as a lawyer and Louise is a published scientist.
They may no longer be as famous as they once were, but Dan Lloyd and the Burns twins contribution to pop culture won't be soon forgotten.
Do you remember watching these child actors in The Shining? Share your thoughts in the comments!