Patty Duke’s Amazing Journey from Child Star to Happiness Finally Gets Its Own Book
Although Patty Duke passed away a few years back, her unforgettable performances and legacy as an actor shall live on forever in the history books. She first burst onto the scene at a relatively very young age and her stardom never actually diminished unlike other actresses of her era.
Patty continued her acting career long into adulthood, albeit facing battles that arguably might have been too much for any other individual to overcome.
Better or Worse?
Born in the UK as Anna Marie, Patty Duke’s family moved her and the rest of their family to the States in search of a better life and opportunities. However, their problems seemed to follow them even across the Atlantic ocean and several thousand kilometers, with life in New York not exactly being the one they had dreamed about.
Patty’s dad was an alcoholic while her mom suffered from clinical depression, which is not exactly an ideal environment for an impressionable child. When she was six, her mom forced her husband out of their home, and that was the last they would ever see of him.
The actress-to-be soon ended up in an entirely different home after her mother gave her up to a couple of talent seekers who had initially been grooming her elder brother. Duke’s mom believed this to be the best move for her daughter, and she moved in with Ethel and John Ross.
Though the couple had the noble intention of transforming the child into a star, their methods of going about it were questionable indeed; they forced Patty into believing that her former self was dead, hence the name change from Anna Marie to Patty Duke. Additionally, they coaxed her to get rid of her New York accent, citing that it didn’t blend with the image they wanted her to portray to the world.
True to their word, the Ross couple did indeed make Patty a star – she became the darling of Hollywood, winning over everyone who witnessed her craft. As she would admit later, however, she was never completely certain that being an actress was her destined career path. Still, the success that her acting career brought with it made her trust the talent seekers’ methods, telling herself that the end did indeed justify the means.
One of the contractual agreements with her management that Patty had to adhere to was the fact that she could never meet her mother, a move that would later result in her being extremely resentful towards the couple that raised her.
It would also be the most notable cause of the superstar’s mental health issues, as she struggled to love herself in the absence of a mother’s love. In her quest to find love and boot the Ross couple out of her life, she got married to her boyfriend, Harry at the young age of 19.
The hasty decision also turned out to be an ill-thought-out one, as the marriage failed miserably since Harry just couldn’t handle Patty’s difficult behavior. She continued struggling with her mental health issues for years, a trait that broke up many of her relationships. She finally found true love in John Astin, and the two eventually got married and proceeded to lead a happy life together.
Actor Sean Astin was the fruit of the couple’s love, although Patty was never quite certain that John was Sean’s biological dad. This, however, put no strain on the family, and Sean treated John as his real dad even while searching for his biological one.
In the later stages of her life, Patty Duke eventually found peace, forgiving all those who had wronged her, whilst also forgiving herself for her mistakes and put ink to paper, publishing her autobiography before passing away at the age of 69.
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