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Patty Duke

Patty Duke

Born: December 14, 1946
Died: March 29, 2016 (at age 69)
Birthplace: Queens, New York City, New York, U.S.
Popularity:
Biography

Anna Marie "Patty" Duke (December 14, 1946 - March 29, 2016) was an American actress of stage, film, and television. She first became known as a teen star, winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at age 16 for her role as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (1962), a role which she had originated on Broadway. The following year she was given her own show, The Patty Duke Show, in which she portrayed "identical cousins". She later progressed to more mature roles such as that of Neely O'Hara in the film Valley of the Dolls (1967). Over the course of her career, she received ten Emmy Award nominations and three Emmy Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards. Duke also served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1985 to 1988.

Duke was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982, after which she devoted much of her time to advocating for and educating the public on mental health issues.

Early life

Duke was born in Elmhurst, Queens, New York, the youngest of three children of Frances Margaret (née McMahon; June 7, 1913 - April 6, 1993), a cashier, and John Patrick Duke (May 9, 1913 - February 6, 1964), a handyman and cab driver. She was of Irish, and more distant German, descent.

Duke, her brother Raymond, and her sister Carol experienced a difficult childhood. Their father was an alcoholic, and their mother suffered from clinical depression and was prone to violence. When Duke was six, her mother forced her father to leave the family home. When Duke was eight, her care was turned over to talent managers John and Ethel Ross, who, after promoting Patty's brother, were looking for a girl to add to their stable of child actors.

The Rosses' methods of managing Duke's career were often unscrupulous and exploitative. They consistently billed Duke as being two years younger than she actually was and padded her resume with false credits. They gave her alcohol and prescription drugs, took unreasonably high fees from her earnings and made sexual advances to her.

In addition, the Rosses ordered Duke to change her name—"Anna Marie is dead; you're Patty now." They hoped that "Patty Duke" would duplicate the success of tween actress Patty McCormack.

Career

Acting

1950s-1990s

One of Duke's earlier acting roles was in the late 1950s, on the soap opera The Brighter Day. She also appeared in print ads and in television commercials. In 1959, at the age of 12, Duke appeared on The $64,000 Question and won $32,000; her category of expertise was spelling. In 1962, it was revealed that the game show had been rigged, and she was called to testify before a panel of the United States Senate. Duke eventually testified into Congressional investigators - and broke into tears when she admitted she'd been coached to speak falsely, an incident Sonny Fox described when interviewed for the PBS program reviewing the quiz scandals.

Also in 1959, Duke appeared in a television adaptation of Meet Me in St. Louis as Tootie Smith, the role that had been originated in the film version by Margaret O'Brien. Duke's first major starring role was playing Helen Keller (with Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan) in the Broadway play The Miracle Worker, which ran from October 1959 to July 1961. During the run, Duke's name was elevated to above the play's name on the theatre's billboard, believed to be the first time this had been done for such a young star. The play was subsequently made into a 1962 film, for which Duke received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. At 16, Duke was the youngest person at that time to have received an Academy Award in a competitive category. Duke returned to television, this time starring with Laurence Olivier and George C. Scott in a television production of The Power and the Glory (1961).

Duke's own series, The Patty Duke Show, which Sidney Sheldon created especially for her, began airing in September 1963. At that time, it was not known that Duke, who was 16 when the series began, had bipolar disorder; but Sheldon did notice that she had two distinct sides to her personality and thus developed the concept of identical cousins with contrasting personalities. Duke portrayed both main characters: Patricia "Patty" Lane, a fun-loving American teenager who occasionally got into minor trouble at school and home and her "prim and proper" "identical cousin" from Scotland, Catherine "Cathy" Lane. William Schallert, who died six weeks after Duke, portrayed her father, Martin; Jean Byron, who died in 2006, portrayed her mother, Natalie; Paul O'Keefe portrayed her younger brother, Ross; and Eddie Applegate, who died in October 2016, portrayed her boyfriend Richard Harrison. The show also featured such high-profile guest stars as Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, Paul Lynde and Sal Mineo. The series lasted three seasons and earned Duke an Emmy Award nomination. In 1999, the program's characters were revisited and updated in The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' In Brooklyn Heights, with Cindy Williams taking on the villain role of Sue Ellen Turner when Kitty Sullivan was unable to reprise her role.

After the cancellation of The Patty Duke Show in 1966, Duke began her adult acting career by playing Neely O'Hara in Valley of the Dolls (1967). The film was a box-office success, but audiences and critics had a difficult time accepting all-American-teenager Duke as an alcoholic, drug-addicted singing star. While the film has since become a camp classic—thanks in large part to Duke's over-the-top performance—at the time, it almost ruined her career. In 1969, Duke starred in Me, Natalie, a film in which she played an "ugly duckling" Brooklyn teenager struggling to make a life for herself in the Bohemian world in Greenwich Village. Duke won the Golden Globe for Best Actress (Musical or Comedy) for the role.

Duke returned to television in 1970, starring in a made-for-TV movie, My Sweet Charlie. Her portrayal of a pregnant teenager on the run won Duke her first Emmy Award. Her acceptance speech was rambling, angry and disjointed, leading many in the industry to believe she was drunk or using drugs at the moment. In fact, Duke was experiencing a manic phase of her bipolar disorder, which would remain undiagnosed until 1982. She received her second Emmy in 1977 for the TV miniseries Captains and the Kings and her third in 1980 for a TV version of her 1979 stage revival of The Miracle Worker, this time playing Anne Sullivan to Melissa Gilbert's Helen Keller. Her turns in the made-for-TV movies The Women's Room (1980) and George Washington (1984) both garnered her Emmy nominations. In the 1980s, Duke was cast in a number of short-lived TV series: the ABC sitcom It Takes Two, from Soap and Benson creator Susan Harris—which was cancelled after one season—Hail To The Chief, in which she appeared as the first female President of the United States, and a comedy, Karen's Song, which aired on the fledgling Fox network.

Duke's film roles in the 1980s included the Canadian film By Design (1981), which garnered her a Genie Award nomination for Best Foreign Actress, and the made-for-TV movie A Time to Triumph (1986), the true story of Concetta Hassan, a woman who struggles to support her family after her husband is injured but who eventually becomes a United States Army helicopter pilot. In 1990, Duke's autobiography, Call Me Anna, was adapted for television; she played herself from her mid-30s onward. In 1992, Duke portrayed the mother of Meg Ryan's character in the film adaptation of the play Prelude to a Kiss. Duke received an Emmy nomination in 1999 for her appearances in three episodes of Touched by an Angel.

In 1985, Duke was the second woman, after Kathleen Nolan, to be elected president of the Screen Actors Guild, a post she held until 1988. Her tenure as president was marked by factional in-fighting and controversy; however, she gained respect for managing to maintain solidarity amongst members. During her term, she led industrial actions and contract negotiations and oversaw the relocation of the guild's headquarters.

Later years

Duke gradually reduced her work schedule in the 2000s, but took occasional TV roles, including guest appearances on shows such as Glee and the reboot of Hawaii Five-0. In 2015, Duke made her final TV appearance, guest-starring as Grandma Janice and Great-aunt Hilary, a pair of identical twins on Liv and Maddie. In 2011, she joined the cast of the drama The Protector. She also returned to the stage on occasion—in 2002 as Aunt Eller in a revival of Oklahoma! on Broadway and in 2009 as Madame Morrible in the San Francisco production of the musical Wicked. In May 2011, Duke directed the stage version of The Miracle Worker at Interplayers Theater in Spokane, Washington. In 2011, Duke appeared in public service announcements for the U.S. government, promoting the social security website. In several, she appeared as Patty and Cathy using split-screen effects. In others, she appeared with George Takei wearing a Star Trek-like costume.

Singing

Duke had a successful singing career, including two Top 40 hits in 1965, "Don't Just Stand There" (#8) and "Say Something Funny" (#22). She also performed on TV shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show.

Mental health advocacy

In 1987, Duke revealed in her autobiography that she had been diagnosed with manic depression (now called bipolar disorder) in 1982, becoming one of the first public figures to speak out about personal experience of mental health. Her treatment, which included lithium as a medication and therapy, stabilized her and she became an activist for numerous mental health causes. She lobbied the United States Congress and joined forces with the National Institute of Mental Health and National Alliance on Mental Illness in order to increase awareness, funding and research for people with mental illness. In 2007, Duke appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, talking about her bipolar disorder.

Memoirs

Duke wrote two books: her autobiography, Call Me Anna (ISBN 0-553-27205-5) in 1987 and Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depressive Illness (ISBN 0-553-56072-7) in 1992.

Recognition

On August 17, 2004, Duke received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to the motion picture industry. On December 14, 2007, her 61st birthday, Duke was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters degree from the University of North Florida for her work in advancing awareness of mental health issues. On March 6, 2010, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Personal life

Duke was married four times and had three children.

In 1965, Duke married director Harry Falk, who was 13 years her senior. During their marriage, she had repeated mood swings, drank heavily, became anorexic and overdosed on pills a number of times. The couple divorced in 1969.

In early 1970, at the age of 23, Duke became involved with three men at the same time: 17-year-old Here's Lucy star Desi Arnaz, Jr., actor John Astin, who was 16 years her senior, and rock promoter Michael Tell. The relationship with Arnaz was widely publicized, due in part to the vocal and public opposition of Arnaz's mother, actress and production company executive Lucille Ball. By late spring, Duke and Arnaz had broken off their relationship.

In June 1970, Duke learned she was pregnant and married Michael Tell on June 26, 1970, during a manic phase, in order to "give (her child) a name". Their marriage lasted 13 days before ending in an annulment on July 9, 1970; Duke was married to Astin when her son, actor Sean Astin, was born on February 25, 1971. Duke said in her 1987 autobiography that the marriage to Tell was never consummated, that Astin was the biological father of Sean, and that she had always believed that Arnaz Jr. was Sean's biological father. It turned out that all three statements were incorrect: in 1994, Sean Astin underwent biological testing to determine his paternity and the results showed that Astin's father is actually Tell.

Duke married John Astin in August 1972. Astin adopted Sean and the couple had another son, actor Mackenzie Astin, in 1973. Duke and Astin worked together extensively during their marriage and she took his name professionally, becoming "Patty Duke Astin". The couple divorced in 1985.

Duke married her fourth husband, drill sergeant Michael Pearce, in 1986, and remained married to him until her death thirty years later. Duke and Pearce had met during the production of A Time to Triumph, for which Pearce served as a consultant. The couple moved to Hayden, Idaho and adopted a son, Kevin, who was born in 1988. From her marriage to Pearce until her death in 2016, Duke occasionally used the name "Anna Duke-Pearce" in her writings and other professional work.

Duke had three granddaughters by her eldest son Sean: actress Alexandra "Ali" Astin, Elizabeth, and Isabella.

Death

Duke died on the morning of March 29, 2016 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho of sepsis from a ruptured intestine at the age of 69. Sean invited the public to contribute to a mental health foundation in his mother's name, the Patty Duke Mental Health Initiative.

Filmography

Films

Year Film Role Notes
1958 Country Music Holiday Sis Brand
1958 Goddess, TheThe Goddess Emily Ann Faulkner, age 8
1959 4D Man Marjorie Sutherland
1959 Happy Anniversary Debbie Walters
1962 Miracle Worker, TheThe Miracle Worker Helen Keller Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Golden Globe for New Star of the Year - Actress
Nominated - Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress
1965 Billie Billie Carol
1966 Daydreamer, TheThe Daydreamer Thumbelina Voice
1967 Think Twentieth Herself Short subject
1967 Valley of the Dolls Neely O'Hara
1969 Me, Natalie Natalie Miller Golden Globe for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1972 You'll Like My Mother Francesca Kinsolving
1978 Swarm, TheThe Swarm Rita
1982 By Design Helen Nominated-Genie Award for Best Performance by a Foreign Actress
1986 Willy/Milly Doris Niceman Alternative titles: I Was a Teenage Boy, Something Special
1992 Prelude to a Kiss Mrs. Boyle
1999 Kimberly Dr. Feinstenberger Alternate title: Daddy Who?
2005 Bigger Than the Sky Mrs. Keene/Earlene
2008 Four Children of Tander Welch, TheThe Four Children of Tander Welch Susan Metler
2012 Amazing Love Helen

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1963-66 Patty Duke Show, TheThe Patty Duke Show Patty Lane/Cathy Lane 104 episodes
Nominated-Emmy Award; Nominated-Golden Globe
1967 Virginian, TheThe Virginian Sue Ann MacRae "Sue Ann" Season 5, Episode 16
1969 Journey to the Unknown Barbara King Episode: "The Last Visitor"
1970 My Sweet Charlie Marlene Chambers TV movie
Limited theatrical release after television premiere
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1971 If Tomorrow Comes Eileen Phillips TV movie
1971 She Waits Laura Wilson TV movie
1971 Night Gallery Holly Schaeffer Season 2, Episode 8, Segment 1 "The Diary"
1972 Deadly Harvest Jenny TV movie
1973 Hawaii Five-O Toni Season 5, Episode 15 "Thanks for the Honeymoon"
1974 Nightmare Jan TV movie
1975 Police Woman LaRue Collins Guest-starred with then-husband John Astin in Season 1 / Episode 18 "Nothing Left to Lose"
1976 Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby Rosemary Woodhouse TV movie (alternate title: Rosemary's Baby II)
1976 Captains and the Kings Bernadette Hennessey Armagh Miniseries
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1977 Curse of the Black Widow Laura Lockwood/Valerie Steffan TV movie
1977 Killer on Board Norma Walsh TV movie
1978 Family Upside Down, AA Family Upside Down Wendy TV movie
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award Nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama or Comedy Special
1978 Having Babies III Leslee Wexler Primetime series, 3rd installment
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series
1979 Before and After Carole Matthews TV movie
1979 Women in White Cathy Payson TV movie
1979 The Miracle Worker Annie Sullivan TV movie
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1980 The Babysitter Liz Benedict TV movie
1980 Women's Room, TheThe Women's Room Lily TV movie
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Special
1981 Girl on the Edge of Town, TheThe Girl on the Edge of Town Martha TV movie
Nominated-Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement - Children's Programming
1981 Violation of Sarah McDavid, TheThe Violation of Sarah McDavid Sarah McDavid TV movie
1981 Please Don't Hit Me, Mom Barbara Reynolds TV movie (appearing with her son, Sean Astin)
1982 It Takes Two Molly Quinn TV series
1983 September Gun Sister Dolcina TV movie
1984 Best Kept Secrets Laura Dietz TV movie (alternate title: Under Suspicion)
1984 Insight Unnamed Series episode: The Hit Man
Nominated-Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Religious Programming - Performers
1984 George Washington Martha Washington Miniseries
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Special
1985 Hail to the Chief President Julia Mansfield TV series
1986 Time to Triumph, AA Time to Triumph Concetta Hassan TV docudrama
1986 George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation Martha Washington TV movie
1987 Fight for Life Shirley Abrams TV docudrama
1987 Karen's Song Karen Matthews TV series
1988 Fatal Judgement Anne Capute TV movie
1989 Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes Nancy Evans TV movie (alternate titles: Amityville: The Evil Escapes, Amityville Horror: The Evil Escapes)
1989 Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure Carolyn Henry TV movie
1990 Always Remember I Love You Ruth Monroe TV movie
1990 Call Me Anna Herself TV docudrama
1991 Killer Among Friends, AA Killer Among Friends Jean Monroe TV movie
1991 The Torkelsons Wesley Hodges' daughter-in-law 1 episode ("Return to Sender")
1991 Absolute Strangers Judge Ray TV docudrama
1992 Last Wish Betty Rollin TV docudrama
1992 Grave Secrets: The Legacy of Hilltop Drive Jean Williams TV movie
1993 Matter of Justice, AA Matter of Justice Mary Brown TV docudrama
1993 No Child of Mine Lucille Jenkins TV movie
1994 Cries from the Heart Terry Wilson TV movie (alternate title: Touch of Truth)
1995 When the Vows Break Barbara Parker TV docudrama (alternate title: Courting Justice)
1995 Amazing Grace Hannah Miller 5 episodes
1996 Harvest of Fire Annie Beiler TV movie
1996 Race Against Time: The Search for Sarah Natalie TV movie
1997 Christmas Memory, AA Christmas Memory Sook Faulk TV movie
1997 Frasier Caller 1 episode
1998 Disappearing Act, TheThe Disappearing Act Faye Dolan TV movie
1998-2003 Touched by an Angel Jean 3 episodes
Nominated- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (1999)
1999 Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights, TheThe Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights Patty Lane/Cathy Lane MacAllister TV movie
1999 Season for Miracles, AA Season for Miracles Angel TV movie
2000 Miracle on the Mountain: The Kincaid Family Story Anne Kincaid TV docudrama
2002 Little John Sylvia TV movie
2004 Murder without Conviction Mother Joseph TV movie
2004 Judging Amy Valerie Bing 1 episode
2006 Falling in Love with the Girl Next Door Bridget Connelly TV movie
2009 Love Finds a Home Mary Watson TV movie
2010 Unanswered Prayers Irene TV movie
2011 Hawaii 5-0 Sylvia Spencer 1 episode
2013 Glee Jan 1 episode
2015 Liv and Maddie Grandmother Janice/Great-Aunt Hilary Episode: "Grandma-A-Rooney"

Discography

Numbers indicate Billboard chart peak positions

Albums

  • Don't Just Stand There (#90) - United Artists UAL 3452 (Mono)/UAS 6452 (Stereo) - 1965
  • Patty - United Artists UAL 3492/UAS 6492 - 1966
  • Patty Duke's Greatest Hits - United Artists UAL 3535/UAS 6535 - 1966
  • TV's Teen Star - Unart M 20005 (Mono)/S 21005 (Stereo) - 1967
  • Songs from Valley of The Dolls and Other Selections - United Artists UAL 3623/UAS 6623 - 1967
  • Patty Duke Sings Folk Songs: Time To Move On - United Artists - Unreleased - 1968
  • Note: After years of remaining unreleased, Patty Duke Sings Folk Songs: Time To Move On was finally released by Real Gone Music (under Capitol records) on CD and digital download in 2013.

Singles

Year Titles (A-side, B-side) Record Label Peak chart positions Album
1965 "Don't Just Stand There"
United Artists 875 8 6 Don't Just Stand There
"Say Something Funny" / United Artists 915 22 31
"Funny Little Butterflies" 77 51 Patty Duke's Greatest Hits
1966 "Whenever She Holds You"
United Artists 978 64 63 Patty
"Little Things Mean A Lot"
United Artists 50034 - -
"The Wall Came Tumbling Down"
United Artists 50057 - - Non-album tracks
"Why Don't They Understand"
United Artists 50073 - - Don't Just Stand There
1967 "Come Live With Me"
United Artists 50216 - - Songs From 'Valley Of The Dolls'
1968 "And We Were Strangers"
United Artists 50299 - - Patty Duke Sings Folk Songs

[ Source: Wikipedia ]