Actress Shelley Duvall, best known for her role in the horror movie classic, The Shinning, has revealed her struggles with mental illness in an interview with Dr. Phil.

A preview of the Los Angeles-based syndicated talk show released Wednesday features a 67-year-old actress that clearly seems unwell and speaks incoherencies before she admits at the end that she is “very sick” and needs help. The clip has sparked controversy as critics say the interview is a cruel form of entertainment that should not be documented.

Actress Shelley Duvall
Actress Shelley Duvall. Image credit: Dr. Phil.

Also known for portraying Olive Oyl in Robert Altman’s 1980 movie Popeye, the actress told Phil McGraw that she did not believe her costar Robin Williams was dead but rather alive and “shape shifting.” She also said she has even seen him. The two of them worked together in the film version of the comic strip.

Vivian Kubrick, the daughter of The Shinning director Stanley Kubrick, tweeted a letter to McGraw claiming that the interview represented a form of “lurid and exploitive entertainment and “appallingly cruel.” She expressed how disgusted she was with the idea of documenting a famous actress in such conditions.

“Shelly Duvall was a movie star… whatever dignity a mere fortunate creature might have in this world, is denied her by your displaying her in this way. I recoil in complete disgust,” Kubrick wrote.

She added that she hoped others would join her in condemning McGraw’s form of entertainment that was far from a way to express “compassionate healing.” When Duvall said she was sick and in need of help, Dr. Phil reassured her she could count on him. He and his representatives have not given any comments on Kubrick’s Twitter letter.

The one-time movie star told McGraw that a man who she describes as the Sheriff of Nottingham is threatening and tormenting her. She also said that there is whirring disc or alien implant inside her body. The clip only features the parts in which her mental state is clearly unwell.

Others did join Kubrick’s speech in favor Duvall

Big Brother cast member Phaylen Fairchild also wrote a letter to Dr. Phil and posted it on Facebook. He included those working on CBS programming and asked for the episode not to be aired.

Phaylen expressed her concern about Duvall not being competent enough to grant McGraw permission to air her interview. She wrote that the woman was suffering “extreme delusions and distorted perceptions of reality,” as well as paranoia and confusion. The comedian and nightlife DivaDrag said she was “extremely disheartened” that Dr. Phil and CBS would dare to air that episode for ratings at the expenses of an elderly woman in need of protection.

Dr. Phil airs at 3 p.m. on CBS and the actress’ interview is scheduled to air Friday.

Duvall’s last onscreen appearance was in the 2002 independent movie Manna From Heaven, as written on her IMDb page. Also a writer and producer, she has worked on Brewster McCloud and McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

Source: CBS News