Patty Duke remembered by celebrities as a screen legend: ‘Thank you for sharing your talent’

Oscar-winning TV and film actress Patty Duke, who died on Tuesday, was remembered fondly by actors, actresses, social media celebrities and mental health advocates. The former child star, who won an Oscar for her performance as Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker” at age 16, died of sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She was 69.

Duke’s son Sean Astin, of “Lord of the Rings” fame, posted a heartfelt Facebook statement saying that “the exquisite artist, humanitarian, and champion for mental health... 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.”

Astin also launched a Crowdrise campaign to raise money for his mother’s work in the mental health community.

“The Patty Duke Show” star was also lauded on Facebook and Twitter by her peers. Among them was her “Miracle Worker” costar Melissa Gilbert, the young cast and crew of the Disney Channel’s twin-teen sitcom “Liv and Maddie,” on which Duke guest-starred last year, as well as folks from “Glee” and “Drop Dead Diva.”


“I called her Anna. She was not only an icon, but a good friend. I’m devastated. RIPPattyDuke,” her “Drop Dead Diva” costar Margaret Cho wrote on Twitter, adding, “I was encouraging her to do a Valley of the Dolls screening so I could interview her after. We never got to. I love you Anna. #RIPPattyDuke No one had better gossip about the 60s. #RIPPatty”

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Duke, full name Anna Patty Duke Pearce, was also elected president of the Screen Actors Guild in 1985 and served as the second female president of the union. The guild, whose latest president Ken Howard died last week, commemorated Duke with an obituary, recognizing her as an “Oscar and Emmy-winning actor, labor activist, and pioneering advocate for mental health issues.”

“It is a difficult time for the union, and Anna’s death is another devastating loss to our union family. She was a committed unionist and a champion for her fellow members,” said SAG-AFTRA Acting President Gabrielle Carteris. “I had the honor of working with Anna and she had an amazing energy, resolve and positive spirit. She will be sorely missed and our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”

Actor Ed Asner, who preceded Duke as SAG president, remembered her as “a great star and a great person,” he told Deadline. “I will miss her existence here on this earth.”

I love you mom.OUR FAMILY STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF PATTY DUKEThis morning, our beloved wife, mother,...Posted by Sean Astin on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Thank you Patty Duke for all that you’ve given us. You’ll be missed.— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 29, 2016

“It is creative to be able to interpret someone’s words and breathe life into them.” — Patty Duke #RIP— Tribeca (@Tribeca) March 29, 2016


Very saddened on the passing of Patty Duke. She was a wonderful friend on Twitter. Condolences to her family.— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) March 29, 2016

Oh no! Just read about #PattyDuke passing. I’m thinking about you @SeanAstin - love and condolences.— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) March 29, 2016

So sad to hear of @pattyduke_id’s passing. She was a wonderful and talented person. I loved getting to work with her. XO— Chris Colfer (@chriscolfer) March 29, 2016

I admired Patty Duke for her bravery & work on mental health issues. And, what an actress! Condolences to sons Sean , Kevin & Mackenzie— Larry King (@kingsthings) March 29, 2016


Condolence to @MackenzieAstin @SeanAstin on news of their mom’s passing. May her blessed memory carry you through this sad time #PattyDuke— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) March 29, 2016

My heart goes out to @SeanAstin and the entire family. #PattyDuke— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) March 29, 2016

Sean is crowdrising for Patty Duke Mental Health Project:— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) March 29, 2016

No one had better gossip about the 60s. #RIPPatty— Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) March 29, 2016


Rest with the Angels, Patty Duke. Thoughts and prayers are with all that love her.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) March 29, 2016

Devastated to hear of the passing of the amazing Patty Duke. Legendary actor Eloquent humanitarian¿¿¿¿ @pattyduke_id— Holly Robinson Peete (@hollyrpeete) March 29, 2016

Such a sad passing of Patty Duke, way too young, such a long career of impressive work and service. RIP— Willie Garson (@WillieGarson) March 29, 2016

Sad to hear that our friend Patty Duke has passed away today. She was a talented and wonderful actress. R.I.P.— Jerry Lawler (@JerryLawler) March 29, 2016


Patty Duke has died. Thank you for sharing your talent with us for all these years. #neelyoharaforever— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) March 29, 2016

(1/3) Today, my heart aches for Anna’s (aka @pattyduke_id’s) big beautiful family, but I know she’s in a better place.— Melissa Gilbert (@GilbertforMI) March 29, 2016

(2/3) I will miss her every day but I will find comfort in the words of Helen Keller— Melissa Gilbert (@GilbertforMI) March 29, 2016

(3/3) “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched-they must be felt with the heart.”— Melissa Gilbert (@GilbertforMI) March 29, 2016


RIP Patty Duke- a wonderful actress.— Lynda Carter (@RealLyndaCarter) March 29, 2016

I’m so sad to learn about the passing of the legendary @pattyduke_id . So honored to have worked with her.— Ron Hart (@Scatter) March 29, 2016

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Devastated by the loss of a legend. #PattyDuke blessed us all w/ her kindness & talents. May God bless u & ur family— Jessica Marie Garcia (@JessMarieGarcia) March 29, 2016


I will hold the moments we shared on and off screen forever in my heart. ¿¿ #PattyDuke— Jessica Marie Garcia (@JessMarieGarcia) March 29, 2016

So saddened to hear about the death of my TV Grandma Patty Duke. It was an honor to get to work with you. You’ve left a mark on this world that will be here long after I’m gone too. All my love to you and your family. A photo posted by Joey Bragg (@joeybragg) on Mar 29, 2016 at 10:20am PDT

Brave, outspoken & humanitarian who played Helen Keller in “Miracle Worker,” Oscar winner Patty Duke passed. I will miss her. RIP.— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) March 29, 2016

Brave humanitarian and Oscar winner who played Helen Keller in “Miracle Worker,” #PattyDuke passed.Thoughts and prayers with her family RIP.— Roma Downey (@RealRomaDowney) March 29, 2016


¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿My friend¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿Special-Kind-Loving-Unconditional-Brave AdvocateU left me better than U found me¿¿¿¿#pattyduke— JOHN EDWARD (@psychicmediumje) March 29, 2016

Sad to hear about #PattyDuke. My thoughts and prayers are with Sean and Mac.— octavia spencer (@octaviaspencer) March 29, 2016

2:45 p.m.: This post has been updated to include reactions from SAG-AFTRA, Ed Asner and other celebrities.

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