Shelley Duvall opens up on struggle with mental illness, believes Robin Williams isn't dead

Shelley Duvall in The Shining.
Shelley Duvall in The Shining.

Her doe eyes filled with fear as Jack Nicholson chops his way through a door remains one of Hollywood horror movies' most iconic scenes, but this star is a heartbreakingly long way from her glory days.

Shelley Duvall's struggles with mental illness has been revealed for the first time in a new interview with Dr. Phil, The Daily Mail reports.

In a sneak peek of an upcoming show released Wednesday, the 67-year-old actress, who rose to fame in the 80s, is almost unrecognisable.

While her mental illness was once the source of gossipy fodder for the National Enquirer, this is the first time the world - outside of her small town - has seen the 67-year-old in over a decade.

Sitting down with Dr. Phil McGraw it is immediately evident that The Shining actress is very unwell.

Shelley - who lives a reclusive life in a small town in Texas - is also known for her role as Olive Oyl in the 1980 hit Popeye opposite Robin Williams.

While the trailer for Friday's show does not say what mental illness the star is suffering from it is clear she needs help, with the actress telling the TV host she does not believe her late co-star is really dead.

"I loved Robin Williams. I don't think he is dead," the actress says in the trailer.

When asked by Dr. Phil where she thinks Robin is, the Time Bandits star replies, "Shape shifting".

Shelley - who claims to have seen Robin since his death - also feels she is under threat. "The man who is threatening me is the Sheriff of Nottingham."

Pointing to her leg, the former Hollywood starlet also claims "there's a worrying disc inside of me."

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In a moment of clarity Shelley looks at Dr. Phil and begs for help: "I'm very sick, I need help." Dr. Phil replies: "That's why I am here."

It has been 14 years since Shelley starred in a film, and she has previously hinted at her struggle with mental illness during the filming of The Shining which was released in 1980 but took 500 days to film. Director Stanley Kubrick allegedly pushed Shelley harder than he did her co-star Jack Nicholson.

The iconic filmmaker reportedly made the cast and crew isolate her, forcing her to re-do scenes hundreds of times and not telling her what he and Jack were improvising so to scare her more.

Shelley said in The Complete Kubrick: "From May until October I was really in and out of ill health because the stress of the role was so great.

"Stanley pushed me and prodded me further than I've ever been pushed before. It's the most difficult role I've ever had to play."

- Daily Mail

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