Whatever Happened To The Kid That Played Danny In The Shining?

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Halloween is right around the corner, and the other day while watching clips of my favorite horror movie, The Shining (because it's the feel-good movie of the season, as you know), I started to wonder what became of the kid that played Danny, Danny Lloyd. That little bugger sure could act. It seemed to come so naturally for him, speaking to his imaginary friend Tony in a creaky, creepy voice. Surely he must have gone on to have a successful career in Hollywood, right? If not as an actor, then perhaps he is working behind the scenes as a writer, producer, or director.

The first logical step was to go on the Internet Movie Database, or IMDB.com. To my surprise, Lloyd only worked in one more acting role after The Shining -- a 1982 TV movie based on the life of G. Gordon Liddy (he played Liddy as a child.) From there I looked at the message boards. That's when I discovered that Liddy left the business altogether and became a pig farmer and biology teacher in Louisville, Illinois, his home state. Lloyd -- who goes by Dan now -- is also a married father of six.

According to a 2013 interview that Lloyd gave to the NY Daily News, he pursued acting into his teens but just didn't have any luck obtaining roles. Hard to fantom, given the performance he turned in alongside Jack Nicholson. Lloyd was six years old during the filming of The Shining and was chosen because director Stanley Kubrick was impressed with his ability to concentrate for long periods of time, something practically unheard of with kids around that age. He didn't even see the movie until he was a teenager, and has never considered it a scary film because he was working on it from behind the scenes.

He told the NY Daily News that what he remembers most about making the movie was playing with the two British girls that played Delbert Grady's dead twin daughters, eating peanut butter sandwiches, and getting to ride his tricycle on the set. On the day that the infamous "Heeeeere's Johnny" scene was filmed, Lloyd remembers Jack Nicholson joking with him and pretending to be a Native American while brandishing the axe like a tomahawk in between takes.

As for his dried-up acting career, Lloyd has no regrets, telling the paper, "A Hollywood life probably wouldn’t have been for me, anyway. I’m proud to come from the Midwest and that’s where I’m comfortable at.”

It's nice to hear he's doing well and is quite centered and happy.

By the way, Stephen King resurrected the Danny Lloyd character as an adult with psychic powers in his 2013 novel, Doctor Sleep.

Even today, I'm still blown away by Lloyd's role in The Shining. Just in case you need a reminder:


  1. Well, if you walk into a bar, sit down and order some booze and the bartender tells you, "Your money's no good here," you can be sure that something is terribly, terribly wrong, and you are either dreaming or having a supernatural experience, and something bad is about to happen.

  2. If you haven't seen it (and have Netflix), you gotta watch 'Room 237'--a documentary where these hardcore super-fans of 'The Shining' believe they've found all these hidden meanings in the film, courtesy of Kubrick's mad genius. Some of them sure made a believer outta me!

    As for Stephen King, as much as I love the man I'll never understand his outspoken dislike for Kubrick's version. I realize that King's story had a clear supernatural element, but you can't deny Stanley Kubrick did a brilliant job with it
    PS. Curious read about Danny! It reminded me of the boy in 'Willy Wonka' and his being a 'one-hit wonder' as well :)

    1. Thanks for the comments and the recommendation, Doug...YouTube has some portions of Room 237 uploaded but I haven't watched them yet. I didn't read King's novel, but I believe he was upset/jealous because Kubrick elevated his work by changing some elements of his story and it became a hit. I saw the ABC miniseries remake version made during the '90s, which closely followed King's book, and it was a flop. I honestly don't remember any of it except for the topiary animals that came to life. You can't mess with a classic.

  3. I remember that TV remake. They made Danny's imaginary friend visible and "real." Why?

    1. I looked up clips of the miniseries today...now I remember why it was instantly forgettable while the Kubrick version has stuck in my craw vividly.

  4. I'm only 34 years old but when I watched this movie again I really became almost wistful about the strange scene where Nicholson walks into the Gold Room of the hotel and there is a 1920s party being given, with a dream like orchestra playing an old tune. So elegant and haunting is that scene, especially later when all the party goers of that lost generation are shown as corpses in their evening attire. That to me signified the true passing of an elegant era in the world's history (by the year 1980) where style, class and manners were still held in high regard. And yes, I liked the end shot of the photograph that Nicholson appears in from that era. It looks as though they dubbed in his picture to one authentic from that time.

    1. I absolutely love that scene, too! So glamorous and elegant.

    --April, 2020


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