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Patty Duke

An American actress of stage, film, and television.

First becoming famous as a child star, winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at age 16, and later starring in her eponymous sitcom for three years.

She successfully made the transition to adult roles. She was later elected president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1985 to 1988.

Duke was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982, and since then has devoted much of her time to advocating and educating the public on mental health issues.

One of Duke's first acting jobs was on the soap opera The Brighter Day, in the late 1950s. She also appeared in print ads and in television commercials. At the age of twelve, Duke appeared on The $64,000 Question and won $32,000.

Three years later, it was revealed that the game show was rigged and she was called to testify before a congressional panel.

Duke's first major role was playing Helen Keller (with Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan) in the Broadway play The Miracle Worker, which ran for nearly two years (October, 1959 July, 1961). Midway through the production-run, her name was placed above the title on the marquee.

The play was subsequently made into a 1962 film, for which Duke received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. At 16, Duke was the youngest person at that time to receive an Academy Award in a competitive category.

In 1963, Duke landed her own series The Patty Duke Show, in which she played both main characters: Patty Lane, an American teenager occasionally getting into minor trouble in school and at home; and her 'prim and proper' "identical cousin" from Scotland, Cathy Lane.

In 1967, with The Patty Duke Show cancelled, Duke attempted to leave her childhood success behind and begin her adult acting career.

She made a comeback with the 1970 television movie My Sweet Charlie. Her sensitive portrayal of a pregnant teenager on the run won Duke her first Emmy Award, but her infamous acceptance speech was rambling, angry, and disjointed.

This led many in the industry to believe she was using drugs. In fact, Duke was suffering from mania, a part of bipolar disorder, which went undiagnosed until 1982.

She received her second Emmy for the TV miniseries, Captains and the Kings in 1977, and her third in 1980 for a TV version of The Miracle Worker in which she played Annie Sullivan to Melissa Gilbert's Helen Keller.

In 2002, Duke returned to New York to appear as Aunt Eller in a revival of Oklahoma!. She returned again in 2005 to attend a memorial service for her former co-star and actress from The Miracle Worker, Anne Bancroft, who had died of uterine cancer earlier in the year.

Duke had a successful singing career, including two Top 40 hits in 1965, "Don't Just Stand There" (#8) and "Say Something Funny" (#22).

Another successful song was "Dona Dona" in 1968. She performed the second song on The Ed Sullivan Show.

On March 6, 2010, Duke was awarded the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

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