Passings: Patty Duke (1946 - 2016)

Academy Award winning actress Patty Duke, who also was a popular recording artist in the mid-60's, died on Tuesday morning after suffering sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She was 69.

Her son, actor Sean Astin, released a statement for the family:
I love you mom.


This morning, our beloved wife, mother, grandmother, matriarch and the exquisite artist, humanitarian, and champion for mental health, Anna PATTY DUKE Pearce, 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.

Her work endures...
The Patty Duke Mental Health Project:
Duke was born on December 14, 1946 in Elmhurst, Queens, NY. The oldest of three children, they had a fairly rough childhood with an alcoholic father and a mother who suffered from clinical depression. At the age of 8, her guardianship was transferred to talent managers John and Ethel Ross who changed her name to Patty Duke and sent her out on numerous jobs playing children younger than her own age.

During the 50's, she made appearances on numerous television programs from drama to game shows but it was her 1962 leading roll as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker with Ann Bancroft that made her a recognizable name. She won that year's Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the youngest person to ever have received an Oscar to that time.

From 1963 to 1966, she starred on TV in The Patty Duke Show in twin roles as "identical cousins", making her popular with the youth of the day. In 1965, she signed with United Artists for what would be a three year/six album recording career. While only one of the albums (Don't Just Stand There (1965 / #90) charted nationally, Duke had four charting singles, the top ten Don't Just Stand There (1965 / #8), Say Something Funny (1965 / #22), Funny Little Butterflies (1965 / #77) and Whenever She Holds You (1966 / #64).

After The Patty Duke Show, Duke continued to act in both TV and film while she fought bipolar disease which went un-diagnosed until 1982. As the first celebrity to go public with the diagnosis, she became an activist to de-stigmatize the disease along with other mental health disorders.

Patty wrote two books during her life, Call Me Anna and Brilliant Madness: Living With Manic Depressive Illness.

Duke was married four times, to Harry Falk (1965 to 1967), Michael Tell (June to July 1970), John Astin (1972 to 1985) and Michael Pearce (1986 to her passing). She had three sons, Sean Astin, McKenzie Astin and Kevin Pearce and three granddaughters.

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