Patty Duke, Star of ‘The Patty Duke Show’ and ‘The Miracle Worker’, Dies at 69

Everett Collection

Patty Duke, who played identical cousins on the classic series The Patty Duke Show and became an advocate for people with mental illness, passed away today at the age of 69. According to ABC News, the cause was sepsis from a ruptured intestine.

Her family issued the following statement, which was posted at TMZ: “This morning, our beloved wife, mother, 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. We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life.”

Duke won an Academy Award for portraying Helen Keller in the 1962 feature film The Miracle Worker, and soon after was cast as both Patty and Cathy Lane in the 1963-66 series The Patty Duke Show. In 1979, she played Keller’s instructor, Anne Sullivan in a TV remake of Miracle, a role for which she won one of her three Emmys.

As part of a long acting career, she also became an advocate for mental health when she revealed that she had bipolar disorder, which she detailed in her 1990 TV movie Call Me Anna, based on her 1987 autobiography of the same name.

Some initial Twitter reaction to her death from Holly Robinson Peete, William Shatner and others:

She appeared on the cover of TV Guide twice, in 1963 and 1964:

Patty Duke, TV Guide covers

Patty Duke, TV Guide covers