Shell decided to become an actress after seeing The Wizard of Oz at age two.
Her first appearance came at age nine when she appeared in The Prime of Miss
Jean Brodie, at the Chattanooga, Tennessee, Little Theater. She later appeared
in the same theater in The Sound of Music.
Shell came to Los Angeles with her family just before entering junior high
school. "At that time," she explains, "I was the world's most outstanding
reject, all gangling and quiet," hardly a fitting description for the
vivacious, petite actress now. Shell recalls how uncoordinated she felt in
gym classes in those days. However, to her amazement, she bettered three
California state track records when her class was given a physical fitness
When Shell was 14 her mother died. Two years later her father moved back
east to accept a position as vice president with a large corporation. Shell
and her brother decided to stay in Los Angeles.
Shell's eyes light up as she speaks of her brother. "Fred was a prodigy in
classical guitar but now he's the lead singer of a rock group. Since I'm a
frustrated singer, I live vicariously through him."
Shell is not unfamiliar with the rock scene. At the tender age of 15 she
left school and went to work as a reporter for a magazine specializing in
rock 'n' roll. In all her exuberance, Shell is surprisingly business-minded,
investing in real estate and the stock market. Additionally, Shell has
written a screenplay and a television pilot and plans to one day star in both.