Patty Duke Dead

The Patty Duke Show Star Patty Duke Dead at 69

Patty Duke, who became synonymous with chipper teenhood as the star of The Patty Duke Show, has died. She was 69.

Duke, whose real name was Anna Pearce, is best known for playing the dual roles of Patty and Cathy on her eponymous ABC sitcom, which ran from 1963-66.

ABC News reports that the actress died of sepsis from a ruptured intestine.

“This morning, our beloved mother, wife, 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,” her family said in a statement. “We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life.”

Duke was a child actress whose portrayal of Helen Keller in the film The Miracle Worker, a part she’d originated on Broadway, won her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. (She later played Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, in the 1979 TV-movie adaptation.) In addition to her identical cousin comedy series, other notable TV gigs included It Takes TwoKaren’s Song, Amazing Grace and Hail to the Chief — in which she played the first female president of the United States.

In recent years, Duke’s TV appearances included a Season 4 episode of Glee, as a lesbian jeweler who helps Blaine to pick out an engagement ring for Kurt, and a meta guest-starring role on Disney Channel’s twin sisters comedy Liv and Maddie, playing Grandma Janice and her lookalike Great-Aunt Hillary.

Duke is survived by her husband, Michael Pearce, and children Sean Astin, Mackenzie Astin and Kevin Pearce.

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25 Comments
  1. Brian says:

    Sad news. Always loved her.

    Rest In Peace, Patty.

  2. Belle says:

    RIP…sending love and prayers to her family!

  3. Whatevah says:

    NOOOOO…RIP Patty. 2016 has been rough.

  4. BrightLight says:

    I can honestly say I haven’t been this saddened by an actor or actress’s death in a long time. Guess I’ll marathon some of my fave Patty Duke TV movies this weekend and have a good long cry.

  5. Eran says:

    Invariably sad to learn this :(

  6. Mary says:

    My goodness, I understand that these Actors and Actress are older but it can stop for awhile.
    One of my favorites RIP.

  7. Thomas Sperduti says:

    My heart is broken and I cannot speak. I will always love you Anna.

  8. Evelyn Mulder says:

    RIP Patty Duke I really enjoyed your shows and movies! GOD needs you back now. My Condolences and Prayers to the Families and Friends. <3

  9. So sorry 😢 May she soar with the Angels …

  10. connie schock says:

    She will be so missed. Thank you patti .

  11. Steve says:

    Still, they’re cousins,
    Identical cousins and you’ll find,
    They laugh alike, they walk alike,
    At times they even talk alike –

    You can lose your mind,
    When cousins are two of a kind.

    RIP, Patty.

  12. Jim Hudson says:

    I grew up listening and watching her. Great woman; rest in peace.

  13. DV says:

    I was fortunate enough to catch her as Madame Morrible in Wicked. She was the best! Loved her since I was a kid (Patty Duke show) and as an adult (Valley of the Dolls) and everything before and after! She also needs to be commended for her strength in her long term battle with mental illness. She will be missed. RIP

  14. Phyllis Jay says:

    RIP beautiful lady. Family, friends and acquaintances will be much sadder without you. Thank you for everything you’ve done, especially for the mentally ill. You are one of a kind. God bless you and keep you.

  15. Pat says:

    So sad to hear this. I was a big fan of hers starting back in the 60’s when she was doing the Patty Duke Show. My thoughts and prayers go to her family and May She Rest in Peace”.

  16. TV Gord says:

    I still enjoy her occasionally popping up on old Match Game reruns on GSN. Even when she’s not on herself, Charles Nelson Reilly frequently invoked her name as one of the best actresses in the biz (if, for instance, Brett Somers is chewing the scenery over some bit they would do, Charles would mutter under his breath that he hoped Patty Duke wasn’t watching, etc.).

    I’ll always remember her as–really–the first public figure to speak openly about mental illness. It took a great deal of courage to do that, and helped who knows how many people! Her frankness and honesty was always refreshing.

  17. brenda says:

    I grew up with patty duke and loved her. She was my age so it was easy to relate to her. God bless her family.

  18. Jackie says:

    So sad about this. I grew up watching her, and have enjoyed all her work. Condolences to her family and friends.
    RIP Patty.

  19. Penny says:

    Such a gracious lady.

  20. Ruth says:

    She is wonderful actress, love her..she will be missed…sending prayer to her family..

  21. So sad to hear this. She was such an iconic actress. RIP, dear Patty.

  22. Sarah T says:

    I remember Patty Duke as a young girl and I always enjoyed her TV shows she will be missed…. rest in peace Patty.

  23. She was my Goddest a great Actress the First I saw was the Movie The curse of the Black Widow I have that Movie she play the Wonderful Part in the Movie after that she was my Icon never will never f get her u RIP she is always be my Fan Y home now y Fan PJ