THEN: The life of a child actor can be tough. Many youngsters discover a brutal dose of reality once they grow up and face the real world. After all, you have agents and money men fawning all over you because they can make a buck off of you, but what happens when you aren’t an adorable tyke anymore? While there are always exceptions to the rule, most don’t enjoy huge success after their formative years. But there is one young actor that had a massive impact on the world of horror. He delivered a tour-de-force performance at the tender age of six, made one more television movie, and a few years later he said farewell to Hollywood. Considering the role, it is absolutely shocking we didn’t see more from the young boy who gave incredible depth to ‘Danny Torrance’ in THE SHINING.
Generally when we talk about a specific actor for Where in the Horror are they Now, they have at least a couple of notable horror films. But what about Danny Lloyd? He literally has two films to his credit on IMDB. Frankly that is not a lot of genre goodness to spread around considering his only other acting credit is a TV-movie called Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Libby. Yet here is the thing, THE SHINING is a spectacular motion picture on every level. Sure, Stephen King didn’t love the Stanley Kubrick directed masterpiece, but this great film has held up so well that nearly every single horror fan sings its praises. Even with a rocky early reception, it is now considered a work of cinematic art. A bloody and beautiful film that delivers.
In the film, Danny Lloyd portrays young Danny Torrance. According to Wikipedia, Danny was chosen for the role thanks to his ability to maintain his concentration for extended periods. Another interesting fact - according to the DVD commentary by Garrett Brown and John Baxter - Danny had no idea they were making a horror film while he was shooting. He was told it was a family drama that took place in a massive hotel. Whatever they told him, it worked. It is a real and powerful performance, and arguably the most important role in the film. Jack Nicholson was the star, but it was Lloyd and his mother - played by Shelley Duvall - who gave you somebody to care about and invest in.
There is something about the young actor in the film that has officially cemented him in Hollywood history. It is a stunning performance from somebody so young. He had tremendous chemistry with all the seasoned actors including Nicholson, Duvall, and Scatman Crothers. I dug this kid, and what makes his work so genuine is the wide-eyed intensity that he gives as this scary story unfolds. For being so young he had the ability to give sincerity to Danny Torrence, something that many child actors fail to be able to connect with. They either are too big with their emotions, or they come across as flat. Stanley Kubrick certainly knew what he was doing by casting the young talent.
So what happens when a young actor makes that kind of impact in a film with this kind of lasting success? Well, if you are Danny Lloyd, you say farewell to making movies, and you say hello to just being a regular kid again. Back then, you didn’t have the massive social media impact, but that didn’t stop the rumors. Did he hate the movie so much that he had to completely disappear? Nope, according to a terrific interview in the NY Daily News, the acting thing didn’t really work out for Danny so he stopped at age 14 and led a fairly normal life. There was nothing terribly dramatic or shocking, just the cold hard fact that it is a tough career for anybody, especially a child actor, so he simply moved on.
NOW: So what is Danny Lloyd up to? Mr. Lloyd has moved on from hauntings and supernatural horror and has found a very quiet life. The one time actor is currently a pig farmer and a science teacher. This current father of six opened up to the NY Daily News about working with Nicholson and Kubrick and talked about why he left the business - it is a terrific read. He seems to enjoy the fact that he is not recognized by people and that he can have a nice and peaceful existence.
“A Hollywood life probably wouldn’t have been for me, anyway,”
Danny told Hugo Daniel and Daniel Beekman:
“I’m proud to come from the Midwest and that’s where I’m comfortable at.”
The interview - which took place in 2013 - coincided with the release of Stephen King’s “The Shining” sequel “Doctor Sleep,” which features a now forty something Danny Torrence. When asked if he would like to be a part of it, if and when they decide to bring the novel to the big - or small - screen, Danny replied…
“I would be up for a cameo… That would be fun.”
While it’s clear that Dan Lloyd won’t be returning to acting anytime soon, it’s nice to see that he has settled into a life that makes him happy and satisfied. That’s something many people strive for but are never able to successfully accomplish.