Biography of Patty Duke
Anna Marie "Patty" Duke (born December 14, 1946) is an American actress of stage, film, and television. First becoming famous as a child star, winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at age 16, and later starring in her eponymous sitcom for three years, she progressed to more mature roles upon playing Neely O'Hara in the 1967 film Valley of the Dolls. She was later elected president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1985 to 1988.
Duke was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982; since then she has devoted much of her time to advocating and educating the public on mental health issues.
In 1996, Patty Duke was ranked #40 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.
Duke was born in Elmhurst, Queens, New York, the youngest of three children born to Frances (née McMahon), a cashier, and John Patrick Duke, a handyman and cab driver. Her father was Irish American and her maternal grandmother was German.
Duke and her older brother, Raymond, and their older sister Carol experienced a childhood of hard times. Her father was an alcoholic, and her mother suffered from clinical depression and was prone to violence. When Duke was 6, her mother threw her father out; when she was 8, her mother turned Duke's care over to John and Ethel Ross, who became her managers. The Rosses recognized her talent and promoted her as a child actress.
The Rosses' methods of managing Duke's career were often unscrupulous and exploitive; they consistently billed Duke as being two years younger than she actually was, and padded her resume with some false credits. It was Ethel Ross who gave the sweeping name-change order, "Anna Marie is dead; you're Patty now." This was in hopes that the change in her first name would allow her to duplicate the success of child actress Patty McCormack. This act would have painful repercussions for Duke in the decades to come.