Duke experienced what could be termed a Dickensian childhood. Her father was an alcoholic, and her mother suffered from clinical depression and was prone to violence. When Duke was 6, her mother threw her father out. When she was 8, her mother essentially turned Duke's care over to her managers, John and Ethel Ross, who recognized her talent and promoted her as a child actress.
The Rosses' methods were somewhat 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).
Duke's first major role was playing Helen Keller (with Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan) in the Broadway play The Miracle Worker, which ran for nearly two years. Midway through the 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 Supporting Actress. At 16, Duke was the youngest person at that time to receive an Academy Award in a competitive category. She won a Golden Globe for Me, Natalie in 1969, which also featured Al Pacino in his screen debut. In a 1979 television movie of "The Miracle Worker", Duke played Sullivan.
In 1963, Duke landed her own series The Patty Duke Show, in which she played both main characters: Patty Lane and her prim and proper "identical cousin" from Scotland, Cathy Lane. The show ran for three seasons, and earned her one Emmy Award nomination.
Despite the success of her career, Duke was deeply unhappy during her teenage years. Efforts were taken to portray her as a normal teenager, but Duke has indicated in her memoirs that she was a virtual prisoner of the Rosses, and had little control over her own life and earnings. The Rosses kept control over Duke and her mother by allowing them only a pittance 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 her earnings.
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 both songs on The Ed Sullivan Show. However, it was in the 1970 TV movie My Sweet Charlie, for which she won her first Emmy Award, where Duke made her comeback as an actress.
On November 2, 2004, it was announced that Duke would undergo single bypass surgery in Idaho, which was successful. On October 4, 2007, Duke appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, talking about her bipolar disorder to an Oprah guest, advising the guest to seek out a support group.
She authored two books, one her autobiography, Call Me Anna (ISBN 0-553-27205-5), and Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depressive Illness (ISBN 0-553-56072-7)
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.
Around 1970, Duke became romantically involved with actor John Astin. She also entered into a short-lived but highly publicized affair with Desi Arnaz, Jr. The relationship did not last, partially because Arnaz's mother, TV legend Lucille Ball, did not approve of the relationship and reportedly ordered her son to stop seeing Duke.
Duke quickly married rock promoter Michael Tell, whom she had only recently met. The marriage was annulled two weeks later. After her marriage to Michael Tell, Duke discovered she was pregnant with her first child. Much of the public assumed that the father was Arnaz, due to the media hype of the affair. However, Duke herself believed she was carrying Astin's child. On February 25, 1971, she gave birth to her first son, Sean. Although she would later claim in her autobiography that her marriage with Tell was never consummated. Even though the affair with Desi Jr. had long since ended, Desi Arnaz, Sr. made a kindly visit to Duke when she was in the hospital, despite reporters outside the hospital that were eager for news that the newborn was his grandson.
In 1972, actor John Astin married Duke, adopted her son, Sean Astin who was not his own biological son, and fathered her second son, Mackenzie, who was born in 1973. Duke and Astin worked together extensively during their marriage. For a time, Patty Duke added Astin to her professional name. The marriage and her children greatly improved her self confidence and her career. She received her second Emmy for the TV miniseries, Captains and the Kings, and her third for a TV version of The Miracle Worker in which she played Annie Sullivan to Melissa Gilbert's Helen Keller.
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 for Triumph. The couple moved to Idaho and adopted a son together.
Duke has since become an activist for numerous mental health causes.
|1958||Country Music Holiday||Sis Brand|
|The Goddess||Emily Ann Faulkner, age 8|
|1959||4D Man||Marjorie Sutherland|
|Happy Anniversary||Debbie Walters|
|1962||The Miracle Worker||Helen Keller||Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress; Nominated - Golden Globe|
|1963-1966||The Patty Duke Show||Patty Lane/Cathy Lane||104 episodes; Nominated - Emmy Award; Nominated - Golden Globe|
|1967||Think Twentieth||Herself||Short Subject|
|Valley of the Dolls||Neely O'Hara|
|1969||Me, Natalie||Natalie Miller||Nominated - Golden Globe|
|1970||My Sweet Charlie||Marlene Chambers||Emmy Award|
|1972||You'll Like My Mother||Francesca Kinsolving|
|1976||Captains and the Kings||Bernadette Hennessey Armagh||Emmy Award|
|1979||The Miracle Worker||Annie Sullivan||Emmy Award|
|1981||The Violation of Sarah McDavid||Sarah McDavid|
|1987||Fight for Life||Shirley Abrams|
|1991||A killer among friends(film)||Jean Monroe|
|1992||Prelude to a Kiss||Mrs. Boyle|
|1998||The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights||Patty Lane/Cathy Lane MacAllister|
|1998-2003||Touched by an Angel||Jean||3 episodes|
|2004||Judging Amy||Valerie Bing|
|2005||Bigger Than the Sky||Mrs. Keene/Earlene|
|2008||The Four Children of Tander Welch||Susan Metler|
Patty Duke hopes her new series ''Amazing Grace'' can promote spirituality.(Originated from Knight-Ridder Newspapers)
Mar 21, 1995; Although ``Amazing Grace'' is about a woman of belief, series star Patty Duke has been stunned by the amazing belief NBC has...