Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” is a timeless masterpiece of horror cinema that continues to haunt and captivate audiences to this day. Among its iconic and eerie characters, the ghostly twins, Grady sisters, played by Lisa and Louise Burns, left an indelible mark on viewers’ minds. Their unsettling presence and memorable line, “Come play with us, Danny,” are etched into horror movie history.
But what became of the talented twin actresses after their unforgettable roles in this chilling film?
The twins were born in 1968 in London, England. They had starred in minor roles before The Shinning, though they had never been to stage or acting school. The Burns had an agent who had helped them find work in television shows, including one called Kids in 1979.
It was their agent who encouraged the girls’ mother to have them audition for the role in The Shining when it was made known that Stanley Kubrick was looking for sisters.
Initially, Kubrick wasn’t looking for twins but sisters of different ages, as is portrayed in Stephen King’s book. However, Kubrick decided that twins were “spookier” and enjoyed the girls’ synchronization during the audition.
He agreed to cast them as Alexa Grady and Alexie Grady, better known as The Shining Twins.
The Burns fondly recall their time as The Shining Twins, who, in the film, were murdered by their father when ghosts possessed him.
The Twins return throughout the film in visions had by Danny (Danny Lloyd), the son of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson). The sisters felt they were the luckiest girls, being invited to an exclusive “party” each day where they were the youngest in attendance.
The twins worked alongside Jack Nicholson, who played Jack Torrance. Both women have recalled that he was a friendly, family man during filming. He often talked of his daughter, Jennifer, who remained in the United States.
The Burns said that Nicholson was kind, played games with them, and could sometimes be found taking naps on the set floor. Overall, the women paint Nicholson as a mentor and father figure during the filming of The Shining.
One of their most terrifying roles in the film is their death scene. They are shown lying in a hallway covered in blood after being violently murdered with an axe by their father.
The Burns revealed that they were more worried about being cold on the chilly set than covered in fake blood at the time.
Due to the fact that there was only one set of their iconic blue dresses, the scene had to be perfect on the first take. The Burns recalled how still they had to lie as Kubrick poured the blood over them in order to film the shot.
The Burns had their eleventh birthday on set and were given a bottle of the fake blood, fondly referred to as “Kensington Gore” by Kubrick.
What Did They Do After the Shining?
Louise desired to be an actress. However, the Burns claim they were turned away from several acting schools, including the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), due to their roles in a horror movie.
The schools allegedly claimed that they were professional actresses because they were in the film, and schools were not allowed to accept professionals.
Without formal training, Louise admits that she lost her confidence, especially after the woman at RADA wouldn’t even let her audition for entrance to the school.
Despite this, the Burns say that they loved being part of a film that became such a global success and arguably one of the most well-known horror films of all time.
A sequel to The Shining, titled Doctor Sleep, was released in 2019. The Burns did not reprise their roles as the Grady Twins.
Instead, the twins were played by Sadie and KK Heim, with Kaitlyn McCormick and Molly Jackson voicing additional parts.
What are Louise & Lisa Burns Doing Now?
Lisa Burns studied literature and is now a lawyer. Louise Burns is a microbiologist and published scientist.
Neither women are actresses and admitted that their role in The Shining did more harm than good to their aspirations of acting careers.
Nevertheless, the two still travel to horror conventions and make appearances as The Grady Twins. You can also find them on the popular celebrity message app, Cameo.
In 2014, The Burns appeared in the documentary film From Borehamwood to Hollywood: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Elstree.
Neither Lisa nor Louise seem to be married or have children, though details about their personal life are hard to come by.
Most recently, the pair, now in their fifties, was spotted waiting in line to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin lying in state in London. Their iconic dresses still regularly travel the world as part of an exhibition.