Dr. Phil interviews Duvall despite clear struggles with mental illness

Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Jack Nicholson in car on their way to resort in lobby card for the film 'The Shining', 1980. Photo / Getty
Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Jack Nicholson in car on their way to resort in lobby card for the film 'The Shining', 1980. Photo / Getty

It was every bit as grotesque as we feared.

Despite calls for a boycott, Friday's episode of Dr. Phil, featuring a much-hyped interview with actress Shelley Duvall, aired as planned.

The star of The Shining, 67, who hasn't appeared in a movie since 2002, struggled to string together more than a couple coherent words at a time, and bore little resemblance to the actress who appeared in a number of popular and critically acclaimed movies in the 1980s.

Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicholson circa 1980 in New York City. Photo / Getty
Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicholson circa 1980 in New York City. Photo / Getty

"I need to get the Bermuda Triangle off of me, because I do not want a hairy chest," she said in one of her more lucid moments. "I'm not a Chia Pet."

While Duvall appeared to be struggling with a serious mental illness, Dr.

Phil (whose full name is Phil McGraw) spent the majority of the hour-long episode baiting her with questions before airing footage of her travelling to a care facility in California.

"We'll make a deal that you'll get checked out, and I'll make a deal that they won't murder you," McGraw, 66, told Duvall.

At the end of the episode, McGraw informed viewers that Duvall had refused treatment before returning home to Texas. He added that the show was working with professionals in her home state to make sure she gets the care she needs, and promised to update viewers on her progress.


Duvall also told Dr. Phil that people were trying to hurt her at night. Photo / Dr Phil
Duvall also told Dr. Phil that people were trying to hurt her at night. Photo / Dr Phil

On Thursday, the show's producers released a teaser of the interview, including a clip in which she said that she didn't believe Popeye co-star Robin Williams was dead.

Promotional efforts were met with swift and near-unanimous condemnation. Vivian Kubrick, whose father directed Duvall in The Shining, called for a boycott of the show in a scathing statement.

Robin Williams. Photo / Getty
Robin Williams. Photo / Getty

"You are putting Shelley Duvall 'on show' while she is suffering from a pitiable state of ill health. Unquestionably, this is purely a form of lurid and exploitive entertainment - it's appallingly cruel ... I recoil in complete disgust. I hope others will join me in boycotting your utterly heartless form of entertainment, because it has nothing to do with compassionate healing."

Wendy Torrance, played by American actress Shelley Duvall, recoils in shock as her husband chops through the bathroom door with a fire axe in a scene from 'The Shining.' Photo / Getty
Wendy Torrance, played by American actress Shelley Duvall, recoils in shock as her husband chops through the bathroom door with a fire axe in a scene from 'The Shining.' Photo / Getty

Ronan Farrow, the son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, echoed Kubrick's sentiments soon after on Twitter.

"Dr. Phil's exploitation of the wonderful Shelley Duvall - masquerading as 'powerful TV' - is shameful. She's a treasure. She deserves respect," he tweeted.

- news.com.au

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