The reclusive co-star of the 1980 film “The Shining” — who fled from Hollywood to Texas for unknown reasons nearly 30 years ago — had made only one TV appearance after fading into obscurity.
In 2016, she was a guest on “Dr. Phil” in an interview widely panned for being exploitative of someone with a mental health condition. Most famously, Duvall told host Phil McGraw that she believed that Robin Williams, her co-star in the 1980 film “Popeye” who died by suicide in 2014, was still alive and was a shapeshifter.
However, Seth Abramovitch, who wrote Duvall’s profile for THR, noted that he “found [Duvall’s] memory to be sharp and her stories engrossing.”
He also wrote that during his interview with her, the star and producer of the 1990 film “Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme” appeared “visibly distressed” by the mention of McGraw’s name.
“I found out the kind of person he is the hard way,” Duvall told Abramovitch, referring to McGraw. “My mother didn’t like him, either. A lot of people, like [my partner], said, ‘You shouldn’t have done that, Shelley.’”
Duvall apparently had submitted to the interview without the knowledge of her longtime partner, Dan Gilroy.
The backlash came shortly after a promo for Duvall’s interview with McGraw aired. Actor Mia Farrow called McGraw a TV talk-show predator who exploited Duvall “for his own gain.”
Vivian Kubrick, the daughter of Stanley Kubrick (who directed Duvall in “The Shining”), also called the interview “appallingly cruel” and a “heartless form of entertainment.”
In a statement to THR, a “Dr. Phil” spokesperson said that the show felt that airing her interview was “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 also said that Duvall declined their multiple offers to provide her treatment.
“We were of course very disappointed,” the statement concluded, “but those offers for help remain open today.”
Duvall also told THR that McGraw attempted numerous times to make contact with her after the backlash by calling her mother “all the time.”
The profile also includes quotes from Anjelica Huston — who was dating Duvall’s “The Shining” co-star Jack Nicholson during the making of the movie. Huston praises Duvall’s performance in the famous thriller and makes observations about how she was treated on the set.
To read the profile in full, head over to The Hollywood Reporter.