'The Shining': What Happened to the Child Actor From the Movie?

As a child, Danny Lloyd gave an acclaimed performance in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining but he never became a movie star. This raises interesting questions: Where did Lloyd’s career go after he made The Shining? Furthermore, what did he think of the experience?

How Danny Lloyd won the role of Danny Torrence

The Guardian reports when Lloyd was four, his father heard an advertisement on the radio. The advertisement called for a child between the ages of five and seven. Lloyd’s father felt his son was an attention-seeker, so he started trying to get Lloyd acting jobs. 

Danny Torrance is one of the most prominent child characters in horror cinema. AllMovie reports Lloyd had to beat a lot of competition when he tried to earn the role. 5,000 actors from the Midwestern United States tried to get the part. Lloyd was chosen because of his videotaped audition, even though he had no acting experience. According to The Guardian, this was because director Stanley Kubrick was impressed with how well Lloyd could concentrate.

What it was like making ‘The Shining’

Kubrick said it would take 17 weeks to shoot the film but production lasted nearly a year. Lloyd certainly could have taken issue with Kubrick but he didn’t. “Stanley was great. I remember him playing ball with me, playing catch, stuff like that. He was a big guy with a beard, but I don’t remember ever being scared of him or intimidated or anything.”

Danny Lloyd’s career after ‘The Shining’

Where did Lloyd’s career go after the release of The Shining? Two years after that film’s release, Lloyd appeared in a television film called Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy. In that film, he portrayed Liddy in scene about Liddy’s childhood. Liddy was a well-known member of President Richard Nixon’s administration. While certain television films have dedicated followings, Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy is not one of them.

So Lloyd now had a theatrical film and a television film under his belt. Where did his acting career go from there? Nowhere — save for a fitting cameo. 

Lloyd quit the acting profession around the age of 13 or 14 because he grew tired of the auditioning process. He has no regrets. As of 2017, he is working as a teacher at a community college in Kentucky. Interestingly, he can be glimpsed in Doctor Sleep, the belated sequel to The Shining, during a baseball game. Lloyd’s character says something about psychic abilities — a clever callback to the character of Danny. Danny is the main character of Doctor Sleep, but he’s portrayed by Ewan McGregor, not Lloyd.

Sometimes, when people exit the film industry, it’s because they didn’t like making films. Lloyd, on the other hand, liked making The Shining. “I don’t do many interviews. But when I do, I try to make it clear, The Shining was a good experience. I look back on it fondly.”

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