Actress Patty Duke, who won an Oscar (at only 16!) for her performance as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker and starred as two cousins on her own sitcom, has died, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. She was 69.
“This morning, our beloved wife, mother, matriarch and the exquisite artist, humanitarian, and champion of mental health, Anna Patty Duke, closed her eyes, quieted her pain and ascended to a beautiful place,” read a family statement. “We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life.”
Duke became the youngest at that time to have a TV series bearing her name. The Patty Duke Show ran for three seasons on ABC, and she was nominated for an Emmy in 1964. The series was based on a Sidney Sheldon pilot about two identical-looking cousins, one American (Patty Lane) and one English (Cathy Lane). Duke played both parts: the perky one and the studious one.
She ascended to icon status in 1967 with her appearance in Valley of the Dolls, in which she played Neely O’Hara, a pill-popping alcoholic.
The New York Times is reporting that she died at a hospital near her home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from complications of a ruptured intestine that she had suffered Thursday.