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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Remembering Patty Duke

Unfortunately, another celebrity has left us early this year. Patty Duke, born in Queens, NYC, died today after suffering from a ruptured intestine. So many things to look out for as we grow older.

Ms Duke detailed her struggle with bipolar disorder in two autobiographies, Call Me Anna and Brilliant Madness.

Patty was only 69.

Fans best remember Ms Duke as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker opposite Ann Bancroft. Patty played deaf, dumb and blind with great zest. The show was a hit on Broadway from 1959-62. It then became a hit movie that immortalized her immediately. Being bipolar may be a drawback in real life but it can sure feed into a fabulous performance, looks like.

The Patty Duke Show was a hit ABC tv series from 1963-66. Designed by hit producer Sidney Sheldon for its star, it unintentionally externalized her schizophrenia by having Patty play identical cousins (an improbable likelihood). It was set in Brooklyn Heights. Growing up in Paterson, Nj, only 25 miles away, I thought it sounded like the most exotic place in the USA and I wanted to move there.

"A hot dog makes her lose control." Me too!

Duke did a lot of admirable work in the movies and on tv.  But she became a camp icon when she assayed the role of Neely O'Hara in the 1967 film Valley of the Dolls, her first role as an adult actress.

Rest in peace, Patty. We love and miss you!

"Mel? God? It's me! NEELY O'HARA!!!

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