mental health

Shelley Duvall Reflects on Her 2016 Dr. Phil Interview

Duvall in The Shining. Photo: Warner Bros.

The Hollywood Reporter dropped an unexpected new profile today of Shelley Duvall, the actor best known to ’90s kids as the star of the bizarre and wonderful Mother Goose Rock ’n’ Rhyme and more widely known for her performance as Wendy Torrance opposite Jack Nicholson in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Duvall, who has been living in Texas for nearly 30 years, had remained largely off the radar until a 2016 Dr. Phil interview that was widely criticized as exploitative of her mental-health issues, including by Stanley Kubrick’s daughter Vivian, who called it “appallingly cruel” and a “heartless form of entertainment.” In her interview with THR — which is well worth the read in its entirety — Duvall, who was “visibly distressed” at the mention of Phil McGraw’s name, briefly reflected on the interview. “I found out the kind of person he is the hard way,” she said. “My mother didn’t like him, either. A lot of people, like Dan [Gilroy, Duvall’s partner], said, ‘You shouldn’t have done that, Shelley.’”

A Dr. Phil spokesperson gave THR a statement in response to Duvall’s comments, noting that they viewed the episode about her mental-health struggles “as an opportunity to share relatable, useful information and perspective with our audiences,” and that “with no one else offering help, our goal was to document the struggle and bring amazing resources to change her trajectory as we have for so many over 19 years.” The spokesperson went on to say that Duvall declined their repeated offers to provide treatment: “We were of course very disappointed,” the statement concluded, “but those offers for help remain open today.” THR writer Seth Abramovitch notes in the profile that he found Duvall’s “memory to be sharp and her stories engrossing,” and that he didn’t want McGraw’s “insensitive sideshow to be the final word on her legacy.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Duvall was asked about the claims that Stanley Kubrick was “unusually cruel or abusive” to her while filming The Shining. “He’s got that streak in him. He definitely has that. But I think mostly because people have been that way to him at some time in the past,” she said. “He was very warm and friendly to me … He spent a lot of time with Jack and me. He just wanted to sit down and talk for hours while the crew waited. And the crew would say, ‘Stanley, we have about 60 people waiting.’ But it was very important work.”

Read the rest of the interview over at THR.

Shelley Duvall Reflects on Her 2016 Dr. Phil Interview