Legendary actress Patty Duke, who became a huge TV star playing identical cousins on the 1960s sitcom “The Patty Duke Show,” has died. TMZ.com reports that Duke died today at 1:20 a.m. from sepsis due to a ruptured intestine. She was 69.
“Duke’s son, Sean Astin, said the family is ‘relieved’ because Duke was in a lot of pain and the process took a long time to play out,” TMZ notes.
Her family released a statement today saying: “This morning, our beloved wife, mother, 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.”
Duke’s success on television followed her Oscar-winning performance in the 1962 Hellen Keller biopic “The Miracle Worker.” Duke was just 16 when she received the Academy Award for her performance in the title role. At the time she was the youngest person to win an Oscar.
Duke received 10 Primetime Emmy nominations, spanning 1964-1999, winning three Emmys, for “My Sweet Charlie” (1970), “Captains and the Kings” (1977) and a TV remake of “The Miracle Worker” (1980), in which Duke moved into the role of Anne Sullivan, who was played by Anne Bancroft in the 1962 movie.
Duke served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1985-1988.
USA Today notes: “Acclaimed for her acting (her career dates back to the late 1950s), Duke became best known in later life as an advocate for mental health issues, after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982 and wrote about it in her 1987 autobiography.”
Below we have two videos from YouTube featuring Duke. The first one is the opening to her sitcom, “The Patty Duke Show.” The second is one of her most famous scenes (with Anne Bancroft) from Duke’s Oscar-winning performance as Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker.”