“A hot dog makes her lose control” may not be the most eloquent remark ever made about Patty Duke, but it’s sure hard to forget.
The actress, who won an Oscar as a teen, then maintained a long career while battling personal demons, died Tuesday at 69, the Associated Press reports.
Born Anna Marie Duke in Queens, N.Y. in 1946, the performer and writer died of sepsis from a ruptured intestine in Idaho, where she lived for the past quarter-century, according to the publicist for her son, actor Sean Astin.
She astonished audiences playing the young deaf-and-blind Helen Keller on Broadway, then in the 1962 film, appearing in both with Anne Bancroft as Helen’s teacher, Annie Sullivan; both won Oscars.
In “The Patty Duke Show” in the mid-1960s, she played identical cousins Kathy (who adores a minuet, according to the unforgettable theme song) and Patty (who loves rock and roll). She played twins again — grandmothers — on a 2015 episode of “Liv and Maddie” on the Disney Channel.
While her illness was difficult at the end, Astin told the AP she was a warrior in life: “You watch this 4-foot-10, tiny imp of a lady who’s more powerful than the greatest military leaders in history,” he said.
Raised by abusive parents, she was pushed as a youngster to appear on soap operas and in ads, and given alcohol and prescription drugs, which poorly affected her undiagnosed bipolar disorder.
In her 1988 memoir, Duke wrote of her condition and the diagnosis she had gotten only six years earlier, and of treatment that helped stabilize her life. She became an activist for mental health causes as well as president of the Screen Actors Guild in the 1980s.
Among her many roles were in the campy 1967 melodrama “Valley of the Dolls” based on Jacqueline Susann’s pulp novel, and Emmy Award turns in the TV film “My Sweet Charlie,” the miniseries “Captains and the Kings” and the 1979 TV remake of “The Miracle Worker,” in which she played Annie to Melissa Gilbert’s Helen.
“Her career ebbed and flowed,” said Sean Astin, her son with her third husband, actor John Astin, “and sometimes she was stressed about it and sometimes she was at peace with it. And then she’d get to do something that she could sink her teeth into, that reminded her of what she was capable of.”
Tributes to Duke included one from producer Nile Rodgers, who tweeted, “She was so cool she had a disco dance named after her in my hood in 70s NYC.”
KIND OF LIKE SHARK TANK
“Quit Your Day Job,” premiering at 9 tonight on Oxygen, follows members of an angel investment group as they decide to mentor, and fund, aspiring entrepreneurs. The panel includes Silicon Valley mogul Randi Zuckerberg, San Francisco consumer products tycoon Ido Leffler, tech start-up advocate Sarah Prevette and former model and marketer Lauren Maillian, author of “The Path Redefined: Getting to the Top on Your Own Terms.” Hard to know whether the series will change the world: among the initial products being considered are Weave Scratcher Pro created by Jamilah Lang and Hang-O-Matic, by Jared and Karina Rabin.
Want to attend opening day at the renovated San Francisco Museum of Art? It’s May 14, and free timed admission tickets are available online starting noon today. Tickets for general purchase, for regular admission on May 15 and daily after that, also are available, at www.sfmoma.org.
S.F. Giant Mike Broadway is 29. … San Jose Shark Marc-Edouard Vlasic is 29. … Singer Norah Jones is 37. … Singer Celine Dion is 48. … Singer Tracy Chapman is 52. … Actor Ian Ziering is 52. … Rapper MC Hammer is 53. … Actor Paul Reiser is 59. … Musician Eric Clapton is 71. … Actor Warren Beatty is 79. … TV personality Peter Marshall is 90.
— Wire reports
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