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Flick: Danny's taken a 'shining' to real life
The Shining

Flick: Danny's taken a 'shining' to real life

Today he is Daniel Lloyd, 43, father of four, the youngest at nine months.

Voted by students on the website "Rate My Professor" as his campus' top instructor, he is a popular, obviously successful biology teacher in his eighth year at a community college in Elizabethtown, Ky., after a stint at Olney Central College in southern Illinois.

A graduate of high school in Tremont — west of Bloomington along Illinois 9, near Pekin — his folks, Ann and Jim, still live there.

And, oh, one other thing ...

He starred in the “The Shining.”

That, of course, is the Stanley Kubrick movie classic that this month is celebrating its 35th year of release, a creepy, arm-hair-raising film that is so chilling, TV Guide recently rated it one of the top psychological horror films of all time.

Daniel was — and still is — Danny. In the movie, he is "Danny Torrance," the cute mop-top in the Stephen King-inspired film who rode a Big Wheel, immortalized the phrase "REDRUM! REDRUM!" (murder spelled backwards) and possessed psychic abilities that not only enabled him to see things in the past and future but, by film's end, also helped his movie dad (Jack Nicholson) go full-boat nutso.

But don't mention that to Daniel. 

"Dan's very private and quiet about any of that," attests his mom, Ann. "He's just not interested in any publicity."

Just how private?

As part of the blockbuster movie's 35th anniversary, Warner Bros. this summer hosted a "Shining Reunion" in London that included much of cast and crew and made Page 1 of The London Telegraph. But Dan Lloyd didn't go.

He was busy with his own life.

Instead he sent a video — to offer hellos, a brief explanation of where he's been for 35 years and, in a stroke of creative genius, a video clip of his own son, Ben, riding a Big Wheel around the house, just as "Danny" did in the "The Shining."

And then he went back to grading papers.

You've probably heard the stories about child stars, some of whom find life success and others who become a "Whatever Happened To" on Page 38 in the drugstore magazines.

Dan Lloyd has in fact been featured in both "People" and "Us."

But after that?

He's just happy being who he is, thank you very much.

It began in 1977 when Dan's dad, Jim, then a conductor on the TP&W Railroad, heard of a movie audition in Chicago for 5-year-old boys.

Kubrick, best known for "2001: A Space Odyssey," was the director. King, best known for famed horror novels, was author. And Danny Lloyd, best known for pretty much nothing outside of Tremont, would land the role of a lifetime, because of his 5-year-old ability to concentrate. And Kubrick liked him.

Ann and Jim took him to London and they lived there for 13½ months to shoot the movie (all to get Kubrick, a famed perfectionist, 2 hours and 24 minutes of celluloid). Ann took endless pictures that she mounted in scrapbooks and are fascinating — behind-the-scenes shots of the now-famous movie sets, of Nicholson between takes, even of a weekend swimming party at actress Shelley Duvall’s (Danny's mother in the movie) rented London home.

The movie came out, to rave reviews, huge international box office and "Danny's" face was famous, brandished planet-wide.

Until age 11, Dan was not allowed to watch it. Until then, he didn’t even know it was a scary movie.

And from that point on, he also began to play it very low-key. If at all.

"I’m glad I was in ‘The Shining,’" he said in an interview with this newspaper several years ago. “It was not a bad experience. My 'career' just didn’t go very far from there. So I went back to being a regular kid.”

At Tremont, he was fully "regular," played second base for the Turks, rooted on Sundays for the Pittsburgh Steelers and developed a love of biology.

In college, he furthered that love and also further distanced himself from “The Shining.” One story goes that one night, in a group at a fraternity house in Charleston, the movie came on, everyone gushed how much they liked the film — and only after priming did Dan shyly give in to the rest of the room that he was "that kid" in the movie.

On came adulthood, success in teaching, buying a small farm in rural Kentucky, a couple cows and a horse, meeting a nurse he married, and now four kids.

“He attended a benefit (for Make-A-Wish) a few years ago and signed some things that were related to the movie,” says his mom. “But other than that, he’s just not much interested.”

We all have memories of childhood, of course. First love, report cards, the principal’s office. And Daniel Lloyd has one that most don’t … as a 6-year-old, making a hit (and subsequently replayed forever) movie, with some who would become Hollywood icons. And then — once that road didn't fork — he simply moved out of the glare, and distraction, to play himself in life and find success.

That's the Hollywood ending to it, of course.

Hollywood? In real life? Not for Dan. Doing that can be — uh — REDRUM!


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