ByEmily Browne, writer at
Twitter: @emrbrowne
Emily Browne

Shelley Duvall is best known for her incredible performance as the dark haired, doe-eyed, long-suffering Wendy in Stanley Kubrick's classic horror The Shining. This, and her role as Popeye's kooky Olive Oyl, skyrocketed her to stardom in the 1980s — but it came at an immense cost. Duvall's tragic fall from the height of stardom has been the subject of much discussion since she left the industry entirely in 2002 and went into near isolation in Texas.

Shelley Duvall in 'The Shining' Image: Warner Bros.
Shelley Duvall in 'The Shining' Image: Warner Bros.

Now living in the small town of Blanco, Duvall is a known recluse who has been witnessed by neighbors "[wandering] around town… looking dishevelled, strange and totally crazy". Luckily, it finally looks like she's starting to seek the help she so desperately needs.

In a recent and upsetting clip posted on the Dr. Phil website, we can see Duvall looking completely unrecognizable and severely struggling with her mental health.

Looking incredibly disconnected and far removed from the young and vibrant actress she used to be, it's clear Duvall's grip on reality has been severely eroded over the years. When asked about Robin Williams, whom she starred alongside in 1980's Popeye, Duvall claims she believes he's still alive and walks among us:

"I loved Robin Williams, I don't think he's dead."

"Where is he?"


"Do you see him?"

"Have. Yeah."

Duvall and Williams in 'Popeye' Image: Paramount Pictures
Duvall and Williams in 'Popeye' Image: Paramount Pictures

Shelley also reveals that she was threatened by a fictional character from Robin Hood, but further details are unknown:

"The man who threatened me is the Sheriff of Nottingham."


There is also something whirring in her leg that she's concerned about. Fortunately, the clip ends with Duvall claiming that she realizes how sick she is, and that she needs help. Her willingness to seek help from a doctor is the first step towards treatment; let's just hope this is the first step on her journey to recovery.

Having said this, Stanley Kubrick's daughter Vivian has spoken out against the special on Twitter, sharing her disgust at an "utterly heartless form of entertainment:"

Whether you believe the special should be boycotted or not, let's hope Shelley receives the help she needs. Shelley Duvall's full interview with Dr. Phil airs November 18 on CBS.

Are you shocked about Shelley Duvall's struggle with mental illness? Let us know in comments.

[EDIT 17/11/2016 - This article was amended to reflect the fact that Dr. Phil is a qualified Doctor.]


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