The Reclusive Hollywood Icon, known for famous roles like Olive Oyl from Robert Altman’s Popeye and Wendy Torrance from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining Shelley Duvall, disappeared from Hollywood mid-1990s. In 2016 she appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil that shocked and outraged fans of Duvall.
Many fans and even her closest Hollywood friends that Dr. Phil appearance was the first they had seen of the actress since she disappeared from Hollywood. The reasons underlying that move remain uncertain.
If not familiar with the episode Phil McGraw and his Dr. Phil crew filmed a disturbing interview with Duvall, in which she babbled free-associative nonsense and disclosed paranoid fantasies. She also talked about how she believed that her Popeye co-star, the late Robin Williams, who died by suicide in 2014, was very much alive and is a “shapeshifter.” There was an overwhelming amount of criticism toward the episode.
Duvall opened up to The Hollywood Reporter this year about her life and her experiences before she disappeared from the spotlight, especially her experience on the set of The Shining.
The Shining took about 56 weeks to film, and a lot of that came from a fire at the EMI Elstree Studios in February 1979. It heavily destroyed the Overlook Hotel set, and it was the largest hotel ever built. More than that was Kubrick’s famously demanding operation. The workload was grueling, and the filming was six days a week, up to 16 hours a day.
Dedicated to her role Duvall took it upon herself to put her mind in a state of absolute hysteria to play the role of wife to writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) who goes insane inside a snow-covered resort hotel, eventually trying to hack up his family with an ax.
“Nobody does that,” says Anjelica Huston, 69, girlfriend to Nicholson at the time. “You go back and forth from London, even though you could get stuck in two-hour traffic going in and out. But Shelley did that for a good year and a half. She got herself an apartment and lived there because she was just terribly dedicated and didn’t want to shortchange herself or anyone else by not giving over fully to her commitment.”
In 2019 Duvall celebrated her 70th birthday.