Child Star and Mental Health Advocate, Patty Duke, Dies at 69

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Patty Duke, known for her self titled show from 1963 and her work in ‘Valley of the Dolls’  died today at the age of 69. The child star began her career playing Helen Keller in the Broadway play, ‘The Miracle Worker,’ which ran for nearly two years. The play was turned into a film in 1962 and landed Duke an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the youngest person at the time to do so.

“If I have any message for others, it is to go for help early and not to be a resistant patient.”

Through all this, unknown to the world, Duke suffered from Bi-Polar disorder and manic depression. In her adult life she became a big advocate for mental health. Not being diagnosed until the age of 35, Duke has said her feelings and behaviors finally made sense. She spent much of her adult life traveling and speaking about mental health around the country. With this, Duke created The Patty Duke Online Center for Mental Wellnessa blog focused on helping others with mental illness.

Duke also received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Women’s Rights Activities. Being the most prized award she has been given.

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