Dr. Phil Ignores Criticism Of ‘Exploitative’ Shelley Duvall Interview

By November 18, 2016
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Phil McGraw appears to have no immediate plans to cancel or even delay the airing of an interview Friday with a popular 1970s movie actress, even after the daughter of one of Hollywood most prestigious directors asked him to.

drphil-inset111816McGraw, who hosts the daily talk show Dr. Phil, has been promoting an interview he recently conducted with Shelley Duvall, an actress best known for her role opposite Jack Nicholson in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, where she displays obvious signs of mental illness.

Duvall, who turned 67 last July, is shown in the promos to talk about how her Popeye co-star Robin Williams is still alive, and that she’s being stalked by the sheriff of Nottingham, a character in the Robin Hood fairy tale.

Vivian Kubrick, who had cameos in many of her father’s films including The Shining, wrote a letter to McGraw, according to Page Sixasking that he not move forward with the episode. She signed it “sincerely disgusted.”

viviankubrick-mug111816You are putting Shelley Duvall ‘on show’ while she is suffering from a pitiable state of ill health. Unquestionably, this is purely a form of lurid and exploitive (sic) entertainment – it’s appallingly cruel.

“Shelley Duvall was a movie star … whatever dignity a mere unfortunate creature might have in this world is denied by your displaying her in this way. 

“I recoil in complete disgust. I hope others will join me in boycotting your utterly heartless form of entertainment, because it has nothing to do with compassionate healing.”

ronanfarrow-mug111816Also attacking McGraw was Ronan Farrow, the former MSNBC host and journalist, according to the New York Daily News. His father, Woody Allen, directed Duvall in 1977’s Annie Hall.

“Interviewers sometimes must show suffering. It’s our ethical responsibility to do so with compassion. Duvall appears to have been shown none.”

“Dr. Phil’s exploitation of the wonderful Shelley Duvall – masquerading as ‘powerful TV’ – is shameful. She’s a treasure. She deserves respect.” 

McGraw has not publicly responded to the criticism, or issued any statements. In portions of the interview released ahead of Friday’s showing, Duvall said she believes Williams, who died 2014, to be a shapeshifter who has come to visit her.

Duvall has been away from the cameras since 2002 when she appeared in Manna from Heaven with Shirley Jones, Cloris Leachman and Louise Fletcher.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael has spent more than 18 years of his way-long journalism career in entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based in New York City.