Shelley Duvall’s cry for help and Dr. Phil’s ‘exploitative’ interview – update

Shelley Duvall interview sparks controversy

A visibly unwell Shelley Duvall is pleading with Dr. Phil McGraw for help, but many are questioning whether or not he has the actress’ best interests at heart.

Earlier this week, The Dr. Phil Show released a clip for today’s (Nov. 18) episode, which showcases a transformed Shelley in shocking fashion.

The 67-year-old actress, known for her role in Robert Altman‘s drama 3 Women (1977) and Stanley Kubrick’s thriller The Shining (1980), is now a starkly different person than the one familiar to audiences. She appears disheveled, seems scattered and even says that her former Popeye (1980) co-star Robin Williams is “shapeshifting.” She claims that the comedic actor isn’t dead and that she has seen him.

Additionally, Shelley also confesses that she is being threatened by “the Sheriff of Nottingham” and that she’s convinced there is a whirring disc inside of her.

It’s the end of the clip that has sparked controversy, however. Shelley is seen telling Dr. Phil that she’s “very sick” and in need of help, a request he assures her that he’ll meet. “That’s why I’m here,” he says.

But people are doubtful, hesitant to believe that he is genuinely concerned for her. Many are arguing that his decision to document her illness is a blatant ploy for money and ratings.

One individual particularly critical is Vivian Kubrick, daughter of director Stanley Kubrick. She posted a letter to Twitter Wednesday evening where she lashes out at Dr. Phil, calling his “shameful” and “exploitative” use of Shelley “a form of lurid entertainment.”

Other stars who have voiced disdain over Dr. Phil’s choice to “exploit” Shelley include Mia Farrow and Patton Oswalt.

Check out Dr. Phil’s video below, as well as the Tweets from Vivian, Mia and Patton.

UPDATE: Dr. Phil spent the majority of the Friday, Nov. 18 episode interviewing Shelley, but also following her to a California care facility. At one point, she can be seen saying, “I need to get the Bermuda Triangle off of me, because I do not want a hairy chest. I’m not a Chia Pet.”

As the hour-long episode ended, Dr. Phil said Shelley had refused treatment and returned home to Texas. He added that members of his show were corresponding with professionals in Texas to ensure Shelley receives the treatment she needs, and vowed to keep viewers updated on the actress’ progress.

In the wake of the episode, Vivian Kubrick made the move to financially assist Shelley. She set up a GoFundMe page designed to raise $100,000 for the Popeye star. On the page, Vivian wrote, “Showing your love and support for Shelley Duvall by making a donation can start her back on the road to independence and perhaps back to health and for her fans, more superb performances!”

What do you think about this? Is Dr. Phil exploiting Shelley or do you think he’s sincerely trying to help her? Share your thoughts with us. ~Matthew Pariselli

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Comments & Discussion

  1. john • November 18, 2016 @ 11:24 AM

    it’s obvious that she needs help now, and she’s not getting it fast enough.

  2. Appalled • November 18, 2016 @ 12:39 PM

    Showcasing Shelley in that state is shameful and clearly appealing to cheap tabloid viewers. What a pity that there is an audience for this kind of thing and, unfortunately, a big audience which allows people like Dr. Phil to reap the benefits 💰💰💰💰💰💰💰! How do you think Trump got in? Tabloid style campaigning! What does that tell us about American culture?!

  3. Snepts • November 18, 2016 @ 4:27 PM

    I see a “reality” show in the making…

  4. shirley • November 18, 2016 @ 6:08 PM

    Dr. Phil is nothing but an expensive scam artist. He has done this same thing to so many “little” people. I’ve seen through him for so long, that if he comes on, the TV either goes off or another station. He’s nothing but a piece of crap who gets his jollies out of humiliating people,and always has. Ms. Shelley deserves so much more than being paraded around for people to laugh at or feel sorry for.

  5. Hugh • November 18, 2016 @ 7:34 PM

    This is TV at its worst. A once fine actress, Ms. Duvall is clearly suffering from mental health issues. The only person helped by this interview was Dr. Phil.
    He should be ashamed for airing this. People who watched and laughed should be ashamed of themselves.

  6. gloria • November 18, 2016 @ 7:58 PM

    Dr. Phil should be banned from every program on tv or radio . he is totally disgusting taking advantage of the ill and weak souls. PRograms that allow him to continue this sick scam should have their contracts cancelled never to be allowed to air again. Isn’t there some way to stop him from ever being allowed on air forever?Does this really up the ratings for these sick programs? Get rid of Dr Phil from
    tv /

  7. Anneshell • November 18, 2016 @ 10:20 PM

    Isthis not on a Oprah Network….she should pull the plug …all his shows are for shock effects and rating…

  8. Kevin • November 19, 2016 @ 7:57 AM

    People are saying “He’s exploiting her for ratings! Why doesn’t he treat her privately?” Well, he doesn’t have a private practice. TV is his platform. Whether you approve of his methods or not, he does help people. It may be said that all media is exploitive in one sense or another. Some are asking if Shelley can consent to this given her diminished capacity. It’s an interesting question. But one benefit to this may be that this may help to normalize perception of mental illness and reduce stigma. The inclusion of Vivian Kubrick in this issue may be telling. I’ve read multiple sources that say she’s a Scientologist, and those folks don’t have a great view of traditional therapy. I find it mystifying that the daughter of one of the most intelligent men ever could allow herself to be taken in by such nonsense. If I really needed help and I had to choose between Dr Phil and Scientology, I’ll go with Dr Phil any damn day of the week.

  9. kcanada • November 19, 2016 @ 10:42 AM

    Did Shelley not gain finically from this? Its not the one way street everyone here is painting it to be. He didn’t hold a gun to her head to get her there.

  10. Annie • November 19, 2016 @ 10:26 PM

    You’re missing the point, kcanada. If she’s mentally ill, she’s unable to make decisions that are in her best interests.

  11. Barbara Bartlein • December 3, 2016 @ 10:08 PM

    Dr. Phil is not a mental health professional and should not behave as if he is one. This piece is clearly exploitive and reinforces his poor understanding of mental health. This is a continuing pattern on his show of exploiting people for his bottom line. Perhaps you recall the travesty of “helping” the woman who had eight babies.

  12. Monty rae • December 12, 2016 @ 12:25 PM

    It’s not against the law to be mentally in. If she is not suicidal. Homicidal or gravely disabled meaning she can not provide food shelter or clothing for herself. Then there is nothing the law can do. She is within her right to refuse meds or treatment. Even if she is I’ll and making poor choices. I dont agree with this but that’s the way the law is set up

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