Patty Duke, the teen Oscar winner who rose to fame for her portrayal of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, died Tuesday at the age of 69. Duke's family, including son and actor Sean Astin, wrote in a statement this week that Duke's "infinite love and compassion" would be celebrated by those who loved her and knew her best. But for those who didn't know Duke personally, there are still plenty of inspiring Patty Duke quotes floating around to keep you in good spirits regardless.
Duke was known in the public eye as an extraordinary actress with a long successful career, most notably punctuated by her roles on Valley of the Dolls, My Sweet Charlie, and Me, Natalie, as well as for TV's The Patty Duke Show, which aired from 1963 to 1966. Perhaps even more importantly, Duke was also remembered as an motivating and dedicated humanitarian. Late in life, after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982, Duke became well known as a champion for mental health, writing about it extensively her 1987 autobiography, Call Me Anna.
Duke was a pioneer, using her notability to discuss mental health issues. Celebs paid tribute to the late actress this week, including Lindsay Lohan who warmly remembered Duke for her honesty with a heartfelt Instagram post, as they both began their careers as children and have struggled with mental health issues.
Here are a few quotes the cultural icon left behind which should help inspire you to do some good — and will maybe help you feel good about yourself.
“Reality is hard. It is no walk in the park, this thing called life.”
During Duke’s first marriage, she had repeated mood swings, admittedly drank heavily, became anorexic, and overdosed on pills a number of times. Her love life was tough, but she was able to bounce back from the pitfalls and eventually find love with her fourth husband, Micheal Pearce. Long story short: If Patty can do it, so can you.
“My recovery from manic depression has been an evolution, not a sudden miracle.”
Duke was diagnosed with manic depression (now called bipolar disorder) in 1982 and became a pioneer for public figures to speak out about personal experiences with mental health. She later became an advocate for several mental health causes to increase awareness, appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show to talk about her experiences and recently speaking out about her pain following Robin Williams' death and silent struggle with depression. In order to help others going through similar struggles, it's important to follow Duke's lead and speak out when possible.
“I never did quite fit the glamour mode. It is life with my husband and family that is my high now.”
As a young 7-year-old actress, Duke’s life was forever changed after starring in a single film. She claimed that she was deprived of family and friends, said that managers monitored and criticized her every action, and alleged that she was reportedly fed liquor and prescription drugs to get work and win roles, according to her 1987 autobiography. Her hectic life in the spotlight most likely led her love her comfortable life with her husband and family, which she openly embraced, despite her troubled past.
“I still have highs and lows, just like any other person. What's missing is the lack of control over the super highs, which became destructive, and the super lows, which are immediately destructive.”
Duke spoke about her experiences with her mental health issues on The Oprah Winfrey Show. back in 1990, admitting that, while she largely led an average life, at other times, things became very difficult. Despite it all, Duke grew to acknowledge her condition and learned how to deal with the highs and lows, in order to know how to best keep herself healthy. Patty Duke proved that understanding and putting yourself first sometimes isn't such a bad idea.
“I have been afraid all my life that I am going to die. All my life it has been stuffed in my imagination”
Duke was brave, outspoken, and very successful. But she also had a very troubled past. Still, despite the fact that she was afraid of dying, she continued to throw herself into her film and TV roles with all her energy, even as she struggled with her mental illness. Duke was able to keep pushing her forward to continue her success and her legend continues now, proving that even the most successful people have fears. The key to it all is knowing that they can't stop you.