Patty Duke was an American actress in film and television. On December 14, 1946, Patty Duke was born in Elmhurst, Queens, New York. At the age of 69, Patty passed away on March 29, 2016. Throughout her career, Patty was honored with three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and an Academy Award.
Patty’s parents gave up custody of her when she was eight years old, and her talent managers took over. Patty started acting at a very young age, making appearances in TV commercials, print ads, and soap operas. She won $32,000 on the game show “The $64,000 Question” when she was twelve years old. Patty was compelled to testify before the US Senate after it was eventually discovered that the show had been rigged.
Patty Duke’s Net Worth
Patty Duke had an estimated value of $ 10 million dollars at the time of death. The majority of Duke’s wealth was accumulated during the course of her more than 50-year acting career. Because of early talent discovery, at the age of twelve, she had already won $32,000 on the game show “The $64,000 Question.”
Duke’s career took off when she played Helen Keller in the Broadway play “The Miracle Worker,” going on to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in the film adaptation. This was despite a scandal involving the show’s rigged nature.
Patty Duke Early Life
On December 14, 1946, Patty Duke was born in New York City to parents John Patrick Duke and Frances Margaret Duke. Her father worked as a cab driver and handyman, and her mother was a cashier. She was raised in an Elmhurst, Queens, Roman Catholic home alongside her two elder siblings.
Her mother’s clinical depression and violent tendencies, along with her father’s alcoholism, made for a challenging childhood. When Duke was six years old, her mother made her father leave the family home. She was placed in the care of John and Ethel Ross when she was eight years old. The elder brother of Duke was among the several child actors whose careers the couple oversaw.
Throughout her early career, Duke was mistreated by the Rosses due to their dangerous and exploitative methods. They made her book roles by pretending to be younger than she was, gave her prescription drugs and alcohol, and withheld unreasonable amounts of money from her earnings. She didn’t break up with the Rosses until 1965 when she got married for the first time.
Patty Duke Career
In the 1950s, Duke made his acting debut in the soap opera “The Brighter Day.” She made several appearances in television commercials as well. Her debut in a significant motion picture was as Helen Keller in the Broadway production of “The Miracle Worker.” Duke starred in the 1962 film adaptation of the play, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She starred in “The Patty Duke Show,” her own television series, in 1963. The television show was canceled in 1966 after three seasons.
In 1967, Duke debuted as an adult actor in “Valley of the Dolls”. In 1969, after two years, she made an appearance in “Me, Natalie.” Duke made frequent television appearances in the 1970s in programs like “Captains and Kings” and “It Takes Two.” Her acting credits during the 1980s included “By Design” and “A Time to Triumph.” She was also chosen to serve as the Screen Actors Guild president in 1985, a position she kept until 1988. She starred in the 1992 film version of the drama “Prelude to a Kiss.”
Even though Duke took on less work in her later years, she continued to appear in films. She appeared as a guest star on the revival of “Hawaii Five-0” and “Glee.” Additionally, she made an appearance on stage in the San Francisco run of “Wicked.” She also oversaw the production of “The Miracle Worker” at a Spokane, Washington theater.
Throughout her career, Duke was nominated for ten Emmy Awards, won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and received two Golden Globe Awards in addition to four nominations. She was the youngest person to ever win an Academy Award in a competitive category when she accepted hers in 1963.
Duke was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in August 2004. She received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the University of North Florida in 2007 on her 61st birthday in recognition of her efforts to raise public awareness of mental health issues. The University of Maryland Eastern Shore granted her an honorary doctorate in humane letters in March 2010.
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Patty Duke Personal Life and Death
Duke had three children and four marriages during her lifetime. At the age of 19, she wed the thirteen-year-old director Harry Falk in 1965. The abusive relationship she had with the Rosses, her childhood guardians, ended when she got married. Throughout the marriage, Duke experienced mental health problems as evidenced by her frequent mood swings, drug and alcohol abuse, and anorexia. In 1969, the couple got divorced.
Early in 1970, Duke had three men in her life: Michael Tell, Desi Arnaz Jr., and John Astin. It was discovered in June 1970 that she was expecting. In a fit of mania, she married Tell very quickly. Their union was dissolved in July after a mere 13 days of marriage.
In February 1971, Sean Astin, her son, was born. When her son was younger, Duke told him that Arnaz Jr. was his father. Following biological testing, Sean discovered Tell was his biological father. John Astin and Duke were wed in August 1972. After adopting Sean, Astin and the couple welcomed Mackenzie Astin into their family. The couple got divorced in 1985. She wed drill sergeant Michael Pearce the next year. Up until the death of the Duke thirty years later, they stayed married. Kevin, their adopted son, was born in 1988.
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Throughout her life, Duke published three books. “Call Me Anna,” her autobiography, was released in 1987. In 1992, the book “Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depression Illness” was released. Her mental health issues were covered in both books; in 1982, she received a bipolar diagnosis. One of the first well-known people to open up about a personal experience with mental illness was her.
In order to raise awareness, funds, and research for those suffering from mental illness, she continued to lobby the US Congress and teamed up with the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. In February 2018, the posthumous edition of her third book, “In the Presence of Greatness – My Sixty-Year Journey as an Actress,” was released.
At the age of 69, Duke passed away in Idaho on March 29, 2016. Sean, her son, invited people to donate to the Patty Duke Mental Health Initiative, a mental health foundation named after his mother.
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