‘The Shrink Next Door’ follows the remarkable story of how a psychiatrist takes over his patient’s life. After initially going to therapy for help with depression, soft-spoken Martin “Marty” Markowitz finds his financial decisions being increasingly maneuvered by his therapist. Though it takes Marty many years to break out of the bizarre dynamic, his sister, Phyllis, becomes suspicious of the doctor much sooner.
Ever protective of her brother, Phyllis implores him repeatedly not to follow his psychiatrist’s advice blindly. However, her words go unheeded, resulting in the desperate sister taking drastic measures. So how much do we know about this character and about the real-life person she is based on? Let’s take a look.
Who is Phyllis Shapiro?
Phyllis is Marty’s younger sister by three years and worked at Associated Fabrics, the family company that Marty’s father had started. Soon after Marty first began attending sessions with Dr. Herschkopf in 1981, the latter allegedly convinced him that people were trying to take advantage of him. In 1983, two years into their schedule of thrice-weekly sessions, the doctor allegedly instructed Marty to begin lowering his sister’s pay.
Herschkopf also seemingly convinced Marty to have another bar mitzvah and not invite his sister or her children. According to the investigative podcast that the show is based on, Shapiro then flew to Switzerland and withdrew money from a joint account she held with her brother. She also emptied out a shared safe deposit box and took bonds from Marty’s apartment. Marty later recalled, “At Dr. Ike’s insistence I fired Phyllis from Associated Fabrics.”
Where is Phyllis Shapiro Now?
After Marty finally broke ties with Herschkopf in 2010, he got back in touch with his sister, who reportedly told him that she had waited for his call for twenty-seven years. Since then, the siblings have reconnected and are now seemingly closer than ever. Phyllis regularly visits the house in the Hamptons, which at one point was used by Herschkopf to apparently host parties where guests sometimes confused the house’s owner (Marty) for the help. Phyllis and Marty have also reportedly biked through Italy and traveled to China together after reconnecting.
Despite the widespread publicity of their story, Phyllis seemingly keeps a relatively low profile, and not much else is known about her current status. However, for the television version of ‘The Shrink Next Door,’ lead actors Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd recently visited Marty and Phyllis. They met at the very same Hamptons home mentioned earlier and spoke at length to get insight (and likely first-hand accounts) about what happened for all those years between Marty, his sister, and Herschkopf.