Actress Patty Duke, who at age 16 won an Oscar for her role as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, has died today at 69, TMZ reports. Duke died Tuesday morning from sepsis due to a ruptured intestine, as confirmed by one of her representatives, Mitchell Stubbs.
The prolific actress conquered film, TV, and theater. She first played Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker on Broadway in 1959 before reprising her role in the 1962 film, winning an Oscar. Fifteen years later, she played the role of Helen’s teacher Anne Sullivan in a 1979 TV movie. She portrayed lookalike cousins on the sitcom The Patty Duke Show, was known for Valley of the Dolls, and played leading roles in the musicals Oklahoma! and Wicked. Duke was also an activist for bipolar disorder, with which she has diagnosed in 1982. One of Duke’s three children is actor Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings). Duke’s family has issued the following statement, saying, “This morning, our beloved wife, mother, matriarch and the exquisite artist, humanitarian, and champion for mental health, Anna Patty Duke Pearce, closed her eyes, quieted her pain and ascended to a beautiful place. We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life.”