Patty Duke’s most memorable roles included mental health advocate
Patty Duke spent the last years of her life talking about what it was like living with bipolar disorder. In this clip from the upcoming PBS documentary "Ride The Tiger: A Guide Through the Bipolar Brain," the Oscar-winning actress speaks openly about her condition.
Patty Duke, the lovable girl(s) next door in "The Patty Duke Show", was remembered this week as a woman who overcame bipolar disorder to become a renowned actress and mental health advocate.
She died Tuesday at a hospital in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, due to complications of a ruptured intestine, her husband Michael Pearce said. She was 69.
At age 12, she starred as Helen Keller in the original Broadway production of "The Miracle Worker." She won the Academy Award for best supporting actress when she took on the same role in the 1962 movie adaptation.
The following year, the ABC sitcom "The Patty Duke Show" debuted, in which she played rowdy Brooklyn teen Patty Lane and her more demure Scottish cousin Cathy Lane.
Duke endured personal struggles during her rise to fame. She was born Anna Marie Duke in New York City on Dec. 14, 1946, to a chronically depressed mother and alcoholic father, who left the family when she was a young girl.
Duke was removed from her home by her managers, who groomed her for screen and stage but took her earnings as well, in addition to changing her name to Patty, she wrote in her memoir "Call Me Anna."
She had a succession of TV and film roles, including the 1970 TV movie "My Sweet Charlie," in which she portrayed a pregnant runaway and earned her first of three Emmy Awards. Duke also played a woman addicted to sex, drugs and alcohol in the 1967 movie adaptation of "Valley of the Dolls."
Duke struggled with an undiagnosed illness and attempted suicide several times. Years later in 1982, she was diagnosed with bipolar disease and received treatment. She went on to publicly advocate for mental health causes — one of the first celebrities to do so — along with AIDS awareness and nuclear disarmament.
Duke was president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1985 to 1988. She had several short-lived marriages, but her fourth — to Army drill sergeant Pearce — lasted for the rest of her life. She is survived by a brother Raymond; two sons Sean Astin and Mackenzie Astin; a stepdaughter Charlene Gibson from her marriage to Pearce; a son with Pearce, Kevin; and six grandchildren.
"We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life," her family said in a statement posted by her son Sean Astin.