Patty Duke has passed away

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Television and film icon, Patty Duke, has passed away. Actor Sean Astin was on the FoxLA 11 morning show to confirm his mother had died.

Patty Duke in the role of Helen Keller from the film, “The Miracle Worker.”
Patty Duke in the role of Helen Keller from the film, “The Miracle Worker.”

Duke was born December 14, 1946 in Queens, NY, Anne Marie Duke and began her acting career in the mid 1950’s. Her big break came with the role of Helen Keller, in the film The Miracle Worker, opposite Anne Bancroft, first on Broadway and then on the big screen. Duke won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the role.

At the time the Broadway play began its run Duke’s managers changed her first name from Anne to Patty, by proclaiming, “Anne Marie is dead. You are now Patty.” It would have repercussions in Duke’s future. in 1990 she published her autobiography, Call Me Anna.”

She went on to appear in many other films, most notably Valley of the Dolls, in which she played a drug-addicted alcoholic, a reversal of her squeaky-clean image that was a result of her hit television show, The Patty Duke Show.

In 1982 she was diagnosed as being bipolar and became a passionate advocate for education on mental health issues. In 1985 Patty Duke was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild, which she held until 1988.

Patty Duke had been active in both television and film — and she had a successful singing career. She had been married four times, her current marriage to Michael Pearce lasting 30 years. She is survived by Pearce, three children and three grandchildren.

Duke was reported to have died from sepsis due to a ruptured intestine. She was 69.

The family released a statement:

“This morning, our beloved wife, mother, matriarch and the exquisite artist, humanitarian and champion of mental health, Anna Patty Duke, closed her eyes, quieted her pain and ascended to a beautiful place. We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life.”

Photos are screen shots from YouTube