Anna Marie "Patty" Duke
(born December 14, 1946)
is an American actress of stage
, film, and
television. She was able to make the rare successful transition
from child star (winning an Academy Award for Best
at age 16) to award-winning adult actress.
She was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild
Duke was diagnosed with bipolar
or manic depression in 1982, and since then has
devoted most of her time to advocating and educating the public on
mental health issues.
born Anna Marie Duke in Elmhurst,
Queens, New York, the daughter of Frances (née McMahon), a cashier,
and John Patrick Duke, a handyman and cab driver.
was Irish American and her maternal
grandmother was German.
Duke experienced a childhood of hard times. Her father was an
, and her mother suffered from
prone to violence. When Duke was 6, her mother threw her father
out; when she was 8, her mother turned Duke's care over to John and
Ethel Ross, who became her managers, recognized her talent and
promoted her as a child actress.
The Rosses' methods were unscrupulous. For instance, they
consistently billed Duke as two years younger than she was, and
padded her resume with some false credits. It was Ethel Ross who
gave the sweeping name-change order, "Anna Marie is dead, you are
Patty now." This would have painful repercussions for Duke in the
decades to come. (Her professional name was chosen because the
Rosses wanted her to achieve the success of Patty McCormack
One of Duke's first acting jobs was on the soap opera The
in the late 1950s. She also appeared in
print ads and in television commercials. At the age of twelve, Duke
appeared on The $64,000
and won $32,000. Three years later, it was
revealed that the game show was
and she was called to testify before a congressional
first major role was playing Helen
Keller (with Anne Bancroft as
Annie Sullivan) in the Broadway play
Worker, which ran for nearly two years (October, 1959 -
Midway through the production-run, her name was
placed above the title on the marquee.
The play was subsequently made into a 1962 film
, for which Duke
received the Academy Award for Best
. At 16, Duke was the youngest person at that
time to receive an Academy Award
competitive category. Duke then appeared with Laurence Olivier
and George C. Scott
in a TV production of The Power and the Glory
In a 1979 television movie of "The Miracle Worker", Duke played
In 1963, Duke landed her own series The Patty Duke Show,
in which she
played both main characters: Patty Lane, an American teenager
occasionally getting into minor trouble in school and at home; and
her 'prim and proper' "identical cousin" from Scotland, Cathy Lane.
The show featured co-stars William
as Patty Lane's father, Jean Byron as her mother,
Paul O'Keefe as her brother and Eddie Applegate as her boyfriend,
Richard. The show had some guest stars such as Sammy Davis, Jr.
, Peter Lawford
, Sal Mineo
, and the show
appeared on TV for three seasons and earned Duke an Emmy Award
Despite the success of her career, Duke was deeply unhappy during
her teenage years. Efforts were taken by the Rosses to portray her
as a normal teenager, but Duke has indicated in her memoirs that
she was a virtual prisoner of them and had little control over her
own life and earnings. The Rosses kept control over Duke and her
mother by allowing them only a small amount of money to survive on.
The Rosses also began providing Duke with alcohol and prescription
drugs when she was 13, which led to substance abuse problems later
on (as an adult, Duke accused both John and Ethel Ross of sexual abuse
). Upon turning 18, Duke became
free of the Rosses, only to find that they had squandered most of
In 1967, with The Patty Duke Show
attempted to leave her childhood success behind and begin her adult
acting career by playing Neely O'Hara
in Valley of the
. 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 (due in
large part to Duke's over-the-top performance), it almost ruined
her career at the time. She won a Golden Globe
for Me, Natalie
in 1969, which also featured
in his screen debut, but the
film was a failure at the box office. She finally made a comeback
with the 1970 television movie My
. Her sensitive portrayal of a pregnant
teenager on the run won Duke her first Emmy
, but her infamous acceptance speech was rambling, angry,
and disjointed. This led many in the industry to believe she was
using drugs. In fact, Duke was suffering from mania, a part of
, which went
undiagnosed until 1982.
She received her second Emmy for the TV miniseries
, Captains and the Kings
1977, and her third in 1980 for a TV version of The Miracle
in which she played Annie Sullivan to Melissa Gilbert
's Helen Keller.
In 2002, Duke returned to New York to appear as Aunt Eller in a
revival of Oklahoma!
returned again in 2005 to attend a memorial service for her former
co-star and actress from The Miracle Worker
, Anne Bancroft
, who had died of uterine cancer
earlier in the year.
On November 2, 2004, it was announced that Duke would undergo
single bypass surgery
in Idaho, which
On October 4, 2007, Duke appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show
about her bipolar disorder to a guest, advising the guest to seek
out a support group.
In early 2009, Duke reprised her role(s) as Patty Lane/Cathy Lane
in PSAs for The Social Security Administration for retiring online.
24, 2009, she replaced Carol Kane as
Madame Morrible in the San Francisco production of the musical Wicked.
She will remain with
the production until March 28, 2010.
On July 20, 2009, Duke was given a tribute in her honor at The
Castro Theatre in San Francisco entitled "Sparkle, Patty, Sparkle!"
During the evening, Duke met and posed for pictures with over one
thousand fans and was interviewed on stage by comic Bruce Vilanch
. In addition to showing clips
from her long career, Duke's 1967 film Valley of the Dolls
was screened at the end of the evening. The event sold out the 1400
Duke had a successful singing career, garnering several Top 40 hits
such as "Don't Just Stand There" in 1965, and "Dona Dona" in 1968.
She performed the second song on The Ed Sullivan Show
. Also during
1968, she had appeared on The Tonight Show
Starring Johnny Carson
, and after George Jessel's
comic appearance, she
was introduced and sang an old Irish song, "Danny Boy". She also
sang songs on such shows as Shindig!
, Kraft Musica Hall, The Mike Douglas Show
The Merv Griffin
. She had a hit song in her 1965 feature film,
, and sang on the soundtrack of the 1966 feature
film, The Daydreamer
which she voiced the character of Thumbelina
In 1985, Duke was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild
, the second woman to
hold the position (Duke held the job until 1988). That same year
she also played the first female President of the United States in
the sitcom Hail to the
She authored two books, one her autobiography, Call Me
(ISBN 0-553-27205-5), and Brilliant Madness: Living
with Manic Depressive Illness
17, 2004, Duke received a star on the Hollywood Walk
of Fame for her contribution to the motion picture
In December 2007, Duke was awarded an honorary Doctorate from the
University of North Florida for her work in advancing awareness of
mental health issues.
Duke was married to first husband, director Harry Falk, from 1965
to 1969. During their four year marriage, Duke suffered from her
undiagnosed, untreated manic depression. She became anorexic, drank
heavily and overdosed a number of times. Their marriage ended in
In 1970, at the age of 23, Duke had an affair with 17-year old
Desi Arnaz, Jr.
became tabloid fodder, due in part to Lucille Ball
's vocal opposition to Duke seeing
her son. Duke then began dating actor John
. In June-July 1970, she had a brief (13 day) marriage to
rock promoter Michael Tell, which ended with an annulment. Duke
became pregnant and there was media speculation that the child was
Arnaz'. Her son Sean
was born in February
1971. Duke claimed in her 1987 autobiography that John Astin
was Sean's father (and he did adopt
him); she later stated she always thought his biological father was
Desi Arnaz, Jr.In 1994, Duke's son, Sean
had parental testing
done, which revealed that his biological father was actually Duke's
second husband, Michael Tell. Duke had claimed in her autobiography
that her marriage to Tell was never consummated.
In 1972, Duke and actor John Astin were married. He adopted her
son, Sean, and fathered her second son, Mackenzie
, who was born in 1973. Duke and
Astin worked together extensively during their marriage. For a
time, Duke added 'Astin' to her professional name. The marriage and
her children greatly improved her self confidence and her
In 1985, Duke and Astin divorced, and in 1986 she married drill sergeant
Michael Pearce, whom she met
on the set of a TV movie, A Time To Triumph
. The couple moved to
Idaho and adopted a son together.
Duke has suffered from mental health issues throughout her life. In
1982, she was diagnosed with bipolar
. Its treatment, which included lithium
as a medication, stabilized
Duke's life and put her on the road to recovery. She is the first
celebrity to go public with her bipolar disorder diagnosis, and has
contributed to the destigmatization of that mental illness. Duke
has since become an activist for numerous mental health
- Patty Duke Biography (1946-)
- Pattie 'Duke' Pierce
- TV Preview: Patty Duke pairs off again as
- Duke Awarded Honorary Degree/Senior Recognized
for Service. Press Release For: December 06, 2007.
University of North Florida.