Sunday, December 14, 2008

PATTY DUKE ~ Born on December 14, 1946 in Elmhurst, New York

Born on December 14, 1946 in Elmhurst, New York, as Anna Marie Duke. Her acting career began when she was introduced to her brother Ray Duke's managers, John and Ethel Ross. Soon after, Anna Marie became Patty, the actress. Patty started off in commercials, a few movies and some bit parts. Her first big, memorable role came when she was chosen to portray the blind and deaf Helen Keller in the Broadway version of "The Miracle Worker". The play lasted almost two years, from October 19, 1959 - July 1, 1961 (Patty left on May, 1961). In 1962, The Miracle Worker (1962) became a movie and Patty won an Academy Award for best supporting actress. She was 16 years old, making her the youngest person ever to win an Oscar. She then starred in her own sitcom titled "The Patty Duke Show" (1963). It lasted for three seasons and Patty was nominated for an Emmy. In 1965 she starred in the movie Billie (1965). It was a success and was the first movie ever sold to a television network. That same year she married director Harry Falk. Their marriage lasted four years. She then starred in Valley of the Dolls (1967), which was a financial but not a critical success. In 1969 she secured a part in an independent film called Me, Natalie (1969). The film was a box-office flop but she won her second Golden Globe Award for her performance in it. In 1976 she won her second Emmy award for the highly successful mini-series "Captains and the Kings" (1976). Other successful TV films followed. She received two Emmy nominations in 1978 for A Family Upside Down (1978) (TV) and Having Babies III (1978) (TV). She then won her third Emmy in the 1979 TV movie version of The Miracle Worker (1979) (TV), this time portraying Annie Sullivan. In 1982 she was diagnosed with manic-depressive illness. In 1984 she became President of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). In 1986, she married Michael Pierce, a drill sergeant whom she met while preparing for a role in the TV movie A Time to Triumph (1986) (TV). In 1987 she wrote her autobiography "Call Me Anna". In 1989 she and Mike adopted a baby, who they named Kevin. Her autobiography became a TV movie in 1990, with Patty playing herself from her 30s onward. In 1992 she wrote her second book, "A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depression Illness". Anna Marie Duke has had a long and successful career, winning three Emmys. She is a mother, a political advocate for issues such as the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), AIDS and nuclear disarmament, all despite having Manic-Depression. She has proven her strength as an actress and as a person.

She was the youngest actress at the time (12) to have her name above the marquee title on Broadway ("The Miracle Worker") and the youngest ever (16) to have a TV series bearing her name ("The Patty Duke Show" (1963)).

I subscribe to the theory that says you're a product of all your experiences. And I am finally, most of the time, happy with the product. I now think it is OK to be Patty Duke.

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