Patty Duke


Born: 14 December 1946
Died: 29 March 2016
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Best known as: Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker

Name at birth: Anna Marie Duke

As a child star, Patty Duke was famous for her portrayal of Helen Keller in the 1962 film The Miracle Worker. She first played the role on Broadway in 1959, with Anne Bancroft as Keller's teacher Anne Sullivan; the film version won Oscars for both Duke (as best supporting actress) and Bancroft (as best actress). The Patty Duke Show, in which Duke played identical cousins from different backgrounds, was a hit from 1963-66. Patty Duke continued her acting career into adulthood, making something of a specialty of TV movies. She was married to the actor John Astin (famous for playing Gomez on TV's The Addams Family) from 1972-85; their sons Sean and Mackenzie also are actors. In the early 1980s Duke was diagnosed with manic depression; in 1992 she published a book about the disease, A Brilliant Madness.
Extra credit:

Like Ronald Reagan and Ed Asner, Patty Duke served as president of the Screen Actors Guild (1985-88)…. Also like Reagan, she played the president of the United States, in the TV series Hail to the Chief (1985)… Patty Duke was a regular panelist alongside Richard Dawson and Charles Nelson Reilly on The Match Game in the 1970s… During her marriage to John Astin, she was known professionally as Patty Duke Astin… The Patty Duke Show was created by novelist Sidney Sheldon.

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