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Patty Duke Had a Rough Start at Life – See How She Finally Found Happiness

Young people today probably have no idea who the late actress Patty Duke was.

In commemoration of her third death anniversary, let’s take a look back at the eventful life and fruitful career that the child star turned Hollywood darling had.

Tough Childhood

Although she made a name for herself in the United States, Duke was actually born across the pond in the United Kingdom.

Originally Anna Marie Duke, the future young star’s family eventually moved to New York City in search of a better life for her. Unfortunately, her father would leave the family soon after they set foot in the city.

Duke’s life would definitely take a turn for the better but this would cost her to lose the rest of her family when acting agents decided to ‘adopt’ her at a very young age.

Hollywood Stardom

A young Duke together with the elderly Helen Keller.

Duke was a pretty girl to begin with but her agents wanted to create an image that would be suitable to Hollywood’s standards at the time.

The New York accent she developed while living in the city was first to go. Her pale skin was next and she was forced to go on tanning regimens then on. They even wanted to change her name and thus, Patty Duke was born.

Fortunately, her sacrifices paid off soon when she was cast as a young Hellen Keller in the film, The Miracle Worker. What more, she made history when she became the youngest actor, at the time, winning an Academy award at just 16 years old.

But her achievements didn’t bring happiness to Duke. In retrospect, she even said that she felt like a ‘little computer’ at the time with regards to her work.

Still, her agents pushed her further into the world of acting after her talent and good looks were noticed by other people in the industry.

Taste of Adulthood

Duke with her first husband, Falk (left) and her second one, Astin.

Not surprisingly, the charming young actress also attracted the attention of men in Hollywood.

This would lead her to meet and hastily marry the television director Harry Falk, 31, when she was just 18. Soon enough, their age difference and the resurfacing of Duke’s childhood traumas would break up their marriage.

After falling into years of depression and mania cycles, she fell in love again. This time it was with her fellow actor John Astin. Together they would make a family uniting kids from Astin’s past marriage, Duke’s son Sean and their very own kid Mackenzie.

Duke finally found the stability and loving family that she was robbed of as a child.

A Late, But Happy Ending

Duke got her own star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004. She is pictured here with her two actor sons, Mackenzie (left) and Sean Astin (right).

After 15 years of marriage, Duke and Astin decided to separate but ended their relationship on good terms.

She, later on, found her final match in Michael Pierce who would father her youngest son Kevin. The couple enjoyed 30 years of happy marriage until Duke died in 2016 due to a ruptured intestine.

The actress is survived by her husband and three sons, two of whom, followed her footsteps into acting.

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