Acclaimed actress Patty Duke has died at the age of 69.USA Today reports that the actress passed away earlier this morning due to sepsis from a ruptured intestine.
Duke won an Oscar at the age of sixteen for her portrayal of Helen Keller in 1962’s “The Miracle Worker” which led to the successful 1963 ABC sitcom “The Patty Duke Show” and the controversial film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s “The Valley of the Dolls”.
After years of struggle with an undiagnosed mental illness, Duke was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed lithium, which she credits with saving her life and led to her becoming an advocate for mental illness treatment.
She married “The Addams Family” actor John Astin and ultimately had three children (two with him). One of her sons, “The Lord of the Rings” actor Sean Astin, released the following statement on Facebook: