Patty Duke, who won as Oscar as a teen for 1962’s Miracle Worker and later starred in her own sitcom The Patty Duke Show, died on Tuesday, March 29, at 69.
Her rep, Mitchell Stubbs, confirmed the news in a statement to USA Today: “Anna ‘Patty Duke’ Pearce passed away this morning March 29, 2016 at 1:20 a.m. Her cause of death was sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a mental health advocate and a cultural icon. She will be missed.” She is survived by husband Michael Pearce and three children: Kevin Pearce, 28, plus Hollywood actors Sean Astin, 45, and Mackenzie Astin, 42.
In The Patty Duke Show, which ran from 1963-1966, the actress played “identical cousins” Cathy and Patty who were complete opposites. Duke won three Emmy Awards for The Miracle Worker, Captains and Kings and My Sweet Charlie. She also played Neely O’Hara in the 1967 film Valley of the Dolls and is credited in more than 140 film and TV roles.
Her recent tweets alluded to her absence from the public eye due to her health issues. “Hi tweethearts and FB friends. I have been absent, but not far, believe me. I love and miss you all. Hopefully back more soon and often,” Duke wrote on March 1.
She suffered from bipolar disorder, and was a passionate advocate for mental health issues. Her character in the 2011 series The Protector was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder, mimicking her real-life condition.