COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (CelebrityAccess) — Patty Duke, an actor best known for her Academy Award-winning performance as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, died on Tuesday at the age of 69.
"This morning, our beloved wife, mother, matriarch and the exquisite artist, humanitarian and champion of mental health, Anna Patty Duke, closed her eyes, quieted her pain and ascended to a beautiful place," read a family statement. "We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life."
According to the New York Times, Duke died at a hospital near her home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from complications of a ruptured intestine that she had suffered Thursday.
Anna Marie "Patty" Duke, who was only 16 when she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Miracle Worker, a role she first portrayed on Broadway before being made into a film.
Duke also landed her own series The Patty Duke show at the age of 16, in which she portrayed two cousins with contrasting personalities.
The show ran for three years and following its cancellation, Duke tried to shake off her innocent image by accepting a role as an alcoholic, drug-addicted singing star in the controversial film Valley of the Dolls, which while successful at the box office, was a career disaster for Duke, who had previously been seen in a wholesome light.
At the age of 18, Duke also worked to free herself from her talent managers John and Ethel Ross, who had been caring for since her parents had split when she was eight years old. Duke later accused both Rosses of providing her with alcohol and prescription drugs, starting when she was a teenager, and both managers of sexual abuse. When she became legally free of the Rosses at 18, she discovered that they had spent much of her earnings from her acting career.
Duke continued to work in both television and film, appearing in vehicles such as Me, Natalie, My Sweet Charlie, The Women's Room & George Washington.
Duke penned Call Me Anna, her 1987 autobiography where she revealed that she was bipolar. Duke went on to become a mental health advocate, working with organizations such as the National Institute of Mental Health and National Alliance on Mental Illness to promote awareness and increase funding to help people afflicted with mental disorders.
Duke also had a successful singing career in the 1960s, including two Top 40 hits in 1965, "Don't Just Stand There" which peaked at #8, and "Say Something Funny" which peaked at #22 on the Billboard charts. – Staff Writers