Historical records matching Patty Duke
About Patty Duke
American actress Patty Duke became the youngest person ever to win the Academy Award for her portrayal of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker at age 16. As her success on the screen continued, she began to privately unravel due to drug and alcohol abuse and manic-depression. She is best known for her rein as the Queen of TV Movies, starring in cult classics like Valley of the Dolls and Me, Natalie.
Born Anna Marie Duke on December 14, 1946 in Elmhurst, New York. Anna and her siblings grew up in a difficult household, raised by an alcoholic father and manic-depressive mother. She was introduced to acting by her brother's managers, Ethel and John Ross who groomed her almost from infancy for a starring career. Soon after, Anna Marie became Patty, the actress. Patty started off in commercials, a few movies and some bit parts.
Her first big role came in 1951 when she was cast as Helen Keller in the Broadway version of The Miracle Worker. In 1962, the play was turned into a feature film, and Patty won an Academy Award for best supporting actress. At 16, she was the youngest person ever to win the award. But following this huge win, Duke began to privately unravel, and her family history of manic-depression began to plague her. She was drinking heavily and abusing drugs, and attempted suicide several times. But all the while her work continued.
In 1962, she starred in her own sitcom called The Patty Duke Show, which lasted three seasons and earned her an Emmy nomination. In 1965, she headlined the acclaimed film Billie, which was to be the first movie ever sold to a television network. Thus began her reign as the Queen of TV Movies. She starred in the cult classic Valley of The Dolls in 1967, and appeared in an independent film called Me, Natalie in 1969. Though the latter did poorly with audiences, her performance earned her a second Golden Globe Award.
In 1976, Duke won her second Emmy award for the highly successful mini-series, Captains and the Kings. Other popular TV movies followed, including the 1979 TV movie version of The Miracle Worker in which she portrayed Annie Sullivan, a role that won her a third Emmy. In 1984, she became president of the Screen Actors Guild.
Patty was finally diagnosed with manic-depressive illness in 1982. She wrote her autobiography, Call Me Anna in 1987, which was made into a TV movie in 1990. Her second book, A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depression Illness, was published in 1992.
Duke was married to Harry Falk from 1965-1969. In 1969, she discovered she was pregnant; the baby's father was unknown, but she suspected it was Desi Arnaz, Jr., with whom she had a tumultuous affair. It later proved to be the baby of rock promoter Michael Tell, to whom she was married for less than two weeks. She also had a brief marriage with actor John Astin, of The Addams Family fame. He adopted her illegitimate son, and fathered her second son, Mackenzie, in 1973. The couple divorced in 1985. In 1986, she married Michael Pierce, a drill sergeant whom she met while preparing for a television role. The couple adopted a son, Kevin, in 1989.