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.

Patty_Duke_in_The_Patty_Duke_Show_-_ABC_Television,_September_18,_1963_(The_French_Teacher)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.

19 Replies to “In Memoriam: Patty Duke”

  1. I never saw her show. Good to know she had a happy life the last 30 years. I didn’t know that. How sad that the media spends so much time on the scandals. She certainly did lots of important work for mental disorders awareness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. I’m particularly glad her relationship with her sons was healthy. She was honest about how difficult their upbringing was for the whole family, so she must have been very proud of how forgiving and caring they were.


  2. Hi, Belinda. I didn’t know that Patty Duke had passed. My condolences to her family. I have thoroughly enjoyed her career from the Patty Duke show and on. She has done quite a few successful movies that I love including her Lifetime stints and the infamous classic, “Valley of the Dolls.” I still watch that movie. It is on Netflix. And what’s interesting is that I love the theme song and when I want to relax before I go to sleep, I will choose that movie. I still end it watching it to the end. Patty was a riot in the movie, and one of the main characters. Even back then, the entertainment industry could be devastating. As the story encompasses several women and their story in the limelight, it is done with class. You can still have a decent storyline without all the sexual exploitation and this was included in the movie with discretion. Thanks for the post.


  3. I, too, was saddened when I heard the news. She was a classy lady and a real inspiration. She will be missed much! Thanks for the beautiful words! 😃


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