Patty Duke Biography

Patty Duke, biography of the women, also known as Anna Marie, and her life as an actress dealing with Manic Depression.

Patty Duke was born Anna Marie Duke on December 14, 1946, to John Patrick and Frances Duke. She has an older sister, Carol, and on older brother, Raymond. The Duke children had a dysfunctional childhood due to an alcoholic father and a violent and depressed mother.

Anna's mother was initially hospitalized for her depression when Anna was around 6 years old. It was also around this time that Anna's mother kicked her father out of the house. Anna didn't see much of her father after that and he later died of alcoholism at the 50 years old. Anna's mother, Frances, was hospitalized two more times before being diagnosed with Manic Depression.

As if her home life weren't bad enough already, life got worse when Anna became a child actress at 8 years old. Her managers John and Ethel Ross realized Anna's talent and decided to recreate her identity, which of course was a painful experience for Anna. One day, they actually told her, "Anna Marie is dead, you are Patty Duke now." They also insisted that she claim that she was 6 years old when in reality she was 8 years old. Anna refers to this time when she was being reprogrammed as the killing of Anna Marie and she became obsessed with her own death.

John and Ethel Ross insisted that she move in with them so they could truly concentrate on developing her talent. The Ross' both drank alcohol and were violent with the little girl they now called "Patty." Eventually, John and Ethel both became sexually abusive with Anna. In order to survive, Anna repressed these memories and didn't remember them until her 20's.

Anna now became the Ross' main meal ticket. They squandered her money, only giving Anna's mother small amounts of money every once in a while. The Ross' treated Anna's mother with contempt and controlled Anna by providing alcohol and prescription drugs when she was barely 13 years old. With the experience of filming "The Miracle Worker," Anna found herself self-conscious about her body for the first time and ended up indulging in the drugs and alcohol to help her cope with the pain. Filming "Helen Keller" came next and then "The Patty Duke Show," came next.

At age 19, Anna married 32 year old Harry Falk. During this marriage is when her life began to come apart at the seams. She was heavily drinking and abusing drugs, she attempted suicide several times and started experiencing mania and depression. Anna was also anorexic, she went from 105 pounds to 70 pounds. She would often find herself somewhere, not knowing where she was or how she got there. The stress of all of her mental issues caused Harry to have an affair which ended the marriage. Anna was obsessed with getting Harry back in the beginning, but eventually gave up.

Anna's next love interest was a married John Astin. This affair caused Anna to become pregnant, but she didn't tell John until several months later. Anna was also linked romantically to Desi Arnez, Jr., so the press insinuated that the baby was his, but the timing didn't add up. During one of Anna's manic episodes in 1970 she married a man she hardly knew named Michael Tell. Because she was pregnant, Anna felt she needed to be married, but this marriage lasted only 13 days.

Eventually, John Astin divorced his wife so he'd be free to marry Anna and be with their son, Sean, who was 18 months old at the time. John's 8, 11 and 12 year old sons from a previous marriage lived with them also. At 24 years old, Anna adopted John's boys. Another son, Mackenzie, was born before Anna and John divorced because of her mental problems. It was around this time, approximately 1982, that Anna was finally diagnosed as Manic Depressive and started taking Lithium to help control her mood swings.

In 1986, Anna met Michael Pearce when preparing for a role. Six months later, Michael divorced his estranged wife and married Anna. One year later Anna wrote her first best seller, "Call Me Anna," in which she publicly revealed her illness for the first time. In 1989, Mike and Anna adopted a little boy named Kevin.

In 1990, "Call Me Anna," was made into a TV movie in which Anna played a younger version of herself. In 1992, Anna wrote her second best seller, "A Brilliant Madness: Living With Manic Depressive Illness."

Today, Anna is in her early 50's and is still happily married to Mike Pearce. She has starred in many successful TV movies and still holds the title of "Queen of TV Movies" and deservedly so.

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