In Memoriam: Patty Duke
Where Cathy adores a minuet,
The Ballet Russes, and crepe suzette,
Our Patty loves to rock and roll,
A hot dog makes her lose control –
What a wild duet!
Patty Duke, aka Anna Pearce, died earlier this week at the age of 69. Many of you know of her early struggles in life, her three failed marriages, and her battles with mental illness. What you may not realize (I certainly didn’t) was she lived the last thirty years happily married, her bipolar disorder under control, and her relationships with her sons, actors Sean and MacKenzie Astin, intact despite their admittedly tumultuous upbringing.
That’s a lot more than a lot of celebrities with even some parallels to her life can claim.
I loved her show as a child. I thought Patty and Cathy were incredibly fun, her parents were wonderful (near-perfect, but of course they were fictional) and her brother, while pesky, was tolerable. And of course there was that goofy, good-natured boyfriend.
A friend of mine in college told me he thought all families, except his, were like Patty and Cathy Lane’s. How many of us believed that same myth? Certainly Patty Duke’s family life wasn’t anything like what she portrayed on TV. Oh well.
In the last 20 years she valiantly worked to lower the stigma associated with bipolar disorder, and I believe she was successful. Thank you, Anna.
My sympathies to her husband, children, grandchildren and many friends as they grieve their loss.