Shelley in a screen capture with Robert De Niro
from the film The King of Comedy, 1983
Shelley played her cards well after she left Charlie's Angels in 1980. She was determined to get better at this new craft she found herself in and took on roles that would help her hone her acting skills. She first tackled stage and won praises for her work in Vanities and Close Ties. The she got a part of a lifetime. A supporting role (receptionist Cathy Long) in the Martin Scorsese film The King of Comedy where she was going to work alongside the great Robert De Niro. "I couldn't work because I read for The King of Comedy, and got the part. The picture was delayed and I couldn't take a chance on doing anything else." The film wasn't a box office smash but has gained a following as years went by. It is now considered a classic and one of the great films Scorsese has ever made.