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Patty Duke Dies at the Age of 69


Oscar-winning actress Patty Duke has died at the age of 69.

Patty Duke won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker in 1963.

As well as a best supporting Oscar, Patty Duke won an Emmy in 1980 for playing Helen Keller’s teacher in a TV movie.

Patty Duke also starred in The Patty Duke Show in the 1960s in which she took the roles of “identical” teenage cousins.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

The actress was the mother of actor Sean Astin, who played the hobbit Sam in the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films.

Patty Duke’s representative, Mitchell Stubbs, said in a statement that she had died on March 29 of sepsis from a ruptured intestine.

She underwent a heart bypass in 2004.

Mitchell Stubbs said: “She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a mental health advocate and a cultural icon. She will be missed.”

A statement from Patty Duke’s family read: “This morning, our beloved wife, mother, matriarch and the exquisite artist and champion of mental health, Anna Patty Duke, closed her eyes, quieted her pain and ascended to a beautiful place.”

Patty Duke died in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, according to her son Sean’s publicist, Teri Weigel.

She was a child star, making her first TV appearance at the age of 12.

In The Miracle Worker, 16-year-old Patty Duke played blind and deaf girl Helen Keller whose tutor – played by Anne Bancroft – breaks through her isolation and helps her to communicate.

Among her other awards were Emmys for My Sweet Charlie in 1970 and Captains and the Kings in 1976.

Patty Duke also appeared in the Broadway musical Oklahoma!.

In her autobiography, Patty Duke revealed that in the 1980s she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

In later life Patty Duke became a strong advocate for increasing awareness, funding and research for people with mental illness.