Lia Beldam is a model and is best known to genre audiences for her one and only screen appearance as the young Mrs. Grady who resides in room 237 in Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING (1980). Mrs. Beldam was gracious enough to discuss with me her experiences on appearing in the film.
Jonathan Stryker: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Lia Beldam: I was born in Switzerland and lived in the county of Zurich. I went to secretarial college after finishing my regular school and did my work experience in a couture house. There I was asked to model now and again. I then went to London to a college to study English and after I graduated I met my husband and got married at the age of twenty.
Jonathan Stryker: How did you become a model?
Lia Beldam: I worked as an interpreter and later in a patent office where one of the girls asked me to meet her uncle who was one of the top photographers in London, Michael Boys. He gave me a job and with his pictures, I went to a modeling agent. In the beginning, I did catwalk shows, including modeling for royalty and then I concentrated only on photographic work.
Jonathan Stryker: How did getting a role in THE SHINING to come to you?
Lia Beldam: My agent was approached by Hawks Films to supply girls for the ballroom scene in THE SHINING and I was sent along. My portfolio had many nude beauty shots in it and therefore they gave me the role of the ghost. I never did the ballroom scene. I had heard of Stanley Kubrick and had seen some of his films. On the set, Stanley was extremely nice and relaxed and never intimidating. The same goes for Jack (Nicholson). He was absolutely charming and treated me with great courtesy. We were all a team and we had many laughs. The whole week I was there was just one pleasant experience. I was allowed to make suggestions for the scene and they were accepted. Stanley’s daughter (Vivian Kubrick) was on the set making a film of us all as we went along.
Jonathan Stryker: Do you recall what suggestions you made for the scene?
Lia Beldam: I suggested running my hands up Jack’s body very slowly till I reached his face
Jonathan Stryker: Stanley Kubrick is known for having demanded many takes. Did you shoot multiple takes of your scene?
Lia Beldam: Yes, there were many, many takes!
Jonathan Stryker: Did you shoot any additional scenes (to your recollection) that did not end up in the film?
Lia Beldam: No extra scenes were shot, however. We shot what you see in the film, so everything was used. Before starting on the film, I had no idea of what it was about. I was not given a script and had not yet read the book. We shot it on a stage in Borehamwood in England
Jonathan Stryker: THE SHINING is the scariest movie I have ever seen and it is my favorite horror film. What does it mean to you to be a part of this film?
Lia Beldam: I loved being in THE SHINING! However, as a model you get to move around all sorts of wonderful locations and meet some amazingly interesting people. For me, THE SHINING was just another very, very pleasant job.
Jonathan Stryker: Do you get recognized by people who have seen the film?
Lia Beldam: Only my name gets recognized, not me.
Jonathan Stryker: Where and when did you see THE SHINING for the first time? What was that experience like?
Lia Beldam: I saw THE SHINING in Leicester Square, London when it was on general release. I loved it