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Patty Duke was born in New York in 1946. She was a teenage actress with minor success until she was 16 and was cast as blind/deaf Helen Keller in the Broadway version of The Miracle Worker. She starred there for 1 1/2 years and then starred in the very memorable movie version opposite Anne Bancroft. She won the Oscar for that role, making her the youngest person to that date to win one (of course, up to that time "children" were only given "special" Oscars). She next starred in The Pattty Duke Show on TV (playing "identical cousins"), and that goofy show has a very loyal following even to this day. She was 19 and seemingly on top of the world, but she had an incredibly turbulent private life, and she next married an assistant director on The Patty Duke Show who was 33, and soon after she was married she starred as Neely O'Hara in Valley of the Dolls, playing an All About Eve-like character. Alas, that was one of her last memorable roles. She divorced her husband, and married a man for 2 weeks and left him and had a son. She married actor John Astin, who adopted her son, and she had a daughter with him. She came to realize she was manic depressive, and she got treatment, and was very public about her illness. Her most memorable later role was in 1979 when she starred in a TV movie version of The Miracle Worker, where she this time played Annie Sullivan, opposite Melissa Gilbert as Helen, and this time she won an Emmy for her performance! Sean Astin (star of the wonderful football movie Rudy and now best known as Samwise 'Sam' Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings trilogy) is her son. His biological father is the man Duke married for two weeks, but he was adopted by and grew up with John Astin. She passed away in 2016 at the age of 69.
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