Star of stage, screen and television Patty Duke, the Oscar-winning former child star, has passed away at the age of 69. Her husband Michael Pearce has revealed to The New York Times that her death was the result of complications from a ruptured intestine.
Born in 1946 as Anna Marie Duke, she rose to fame after playing the role of Helen Keller in the Broadway adaptation of The Miracle Worker at the age of 12. She later reprised her role for the 1962 film, which earned her an Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actress category.
Following The Miracle Worker, Duke starred in the ABC sitcom The Patty Duke Show, playing identical cousins. In 1967 she played Neely O'Hara in Valley Of The Dolls alongside Barbara Parkins and Sharon Tate.
Although her work in film and television was sporadic later in life, she used her platform to become a spokesperson and advocate for social issues close to her heart.
In 1987, Duke publicized her diagnosis with bipolar disorder in her autobiography Call Me Anna, becoming the first celebrity to do so. Duke spent years of her life aiding in the education and destigmatization of mental illness.
She is survived by her husband and their son Kevin Pearce, as well as her children from previous marriages, actors Mackenzie Astin (The Facts Of Life) and Sean Astin (The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy).
Earlier today, Sean Astin shared an official statement from their family:
This morning, our beloved wife, mother, grandmother, 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. We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life.
Her work endures...
The Patty Duke Mental Health Project
Our thoughts are with her family during this difficult time.
(Source: The New York Times)