Shelley Duvall, once a Holywood A-lister with such films as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and the Robin Williams live action Popeye film among her list of credits, has faded into obscurity since she last appeared in 2002’s Manna from Heaven. Ms. Duvall might have remained forgotten if the onslaught of mental illness hadn’t changed her life. Now, even before she has had a chance to receive treatment, Shelley finds herself being paraded in the spotlight once more with her illness becoming the star in a new Dr. Phil segment. As Shelley tells the world about beliefs that couldn’t possibly be true, one has to wonder if Dr. Phil really has Duvall’s best interests at heart.
Even Mentally Ill Shelley Duvall Has To Contend With Hollywood Body Image Pretenses
It has been a long time, since Shelley Duvall’s star was on the rise and, as Pop Crush points out, that’s a long time for anyone to maintain a constant Hollywood image. Adding to the effects of time, Shelley has also been subjected to mental illness, which has had a physical effect on her appearance. At this time, it seems wrinkles and weight gain are the least of Duvall’s worries, as she now must come to terms with the fact that everything she sees and believes is not necessarily all that it seems.
It seems particularly sad when a beloved celebrity becomes incapacitated by mental illness and that may be why Dr. Phil’s segment with The Shining star seems particularly exploitive, even as a voice over teases Duvall’s appearance with the promise of telling her story “from red carpet to near recluse.”
While Shelley looks completely different from her acting glory days, it’s her words that threaten to bring tears most of all. Duvall talks of conspiracies in a preview clip for Dr. Phil that suggests an even sadder glimpse into what life is like for The Shining‘s lead actress.
Shelley Duvall Puts It Out There On Dr. Phil
Now 67-years-old, Shelley Duvall opens up to Dr. Phil about her perception of the world as it is today and, as Us Weekly shares, that includes believing that Robin Williams is a living, shape-shifting being, that she is being pursued by a fictional character from Robin Hood, and that she has had a disc implanted in her body. These outrageous claims are just a few of the indications that Shelley suffers from mental illness, but is Dr. Phil sharing this with the public to draw attention to Ms, Duvall’s plight and ensure she receives the proper treatment?
Dr. Phil’s interest in Shelley’s delusions seems to indicate that he does care for Duvall’s well being, as he inquires further about her belief that the late Robin Williams is a shape-shifter.
“Do you see him,” he asks Shelley.
“Have, yes,” Duvall responds.
Later, Shelley reveals that she’s being threatened.
“The man who’s threatening me is the Sheriff of Nottingham.”
As sad and scary is that is for the audience to hear, Ms. Duvall hasn’t even revealed her worst delusion. She finally tells Dr. Phil that she’s concerned that her body has been tampered with for unknown purposes.
“I think there’s a worrying disc inside me,” Shelley says, lifting her pant leg.
Ms. Duvall knows how such confessions sound and she tells Dr. Phil that she knows she’s not well and that she needs help. At this point in the clip, Dr. Phil seems to promise that he will be involved in getting her the help that she needs. While mental illness certainly needs to have the stigma surrounding it diminished and the best way to do that is to bring stories like this to the public, but one still can’t help but feel that Shelley Duvall is also being exploited. Either way, it may be worth it, if The Shining and Popeye star can get the treatment she needs and go back to seeing the world through healthier eyes.
The Dr. Phil episode featuring Shelley Duvall is set to air on November 18.
[Featured Image by Warner Bros]