Patty Duke, Oscar-winning actress, dies at 69; son Sean Astin shares touching words

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HAIL TO THE CHIEF - Patty Duke (2/11/85) (Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images) PATTY DUKE

Patty Duke, the actress who won fame with her stage and screen portrayals of Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker,” died Tuesday, according to her agent. She was 69.

Duke died of sepsis from a ruptured intestine, according to a statement from Mitchell K. Stubbs & Associates, the agency that represented her.

Duke won an Academy Award in 1963 for her portrayal of Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker,” a role she also played to acclaim on Broadway.

She was also known for roles in “Valley of the Dolls,” “My Sweet Charlie” and “Me, Natalie,” as well as for the “The Patty Duke Show,” which aired from 1963 to 1966.

Actor Sean Astin, Duke’s son and star of “Rudy” and the “Lord of the Rings” films, shared a photo of his mother on Facebook and offered a statement.

I love you mom.


This morning, our beloved wife, mother, grandmother, matriarch and the exquisite artist, humanitarian, and champion for mental health, Anna PATTY DUKE Pearce, closed her eyes, quieted her pain and ascended to a beautiful place. We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life.

Astin added a link to The Patty Duke Mental Health Project, saying “Her work endures…”