Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Goodbye, Patty

Social media is funny. If Kim Kardashian gets another implant in some body part yet to be enlarged, it's a story of major import. If Miley Cyrus twerks her butt or Justin Bieber gets arrested for more drunk driving, tongues wag. This would indicate that it is mostly young people who populate websites like Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. But that's not true, since many people age fifty and above hang out there too. So I find it surprising that no mention has been made by anyone online of the passing of Patty Duke yesterday, at age sixty-nine, which BTW is my age exactly and so I am of course gravely interested, no pun intended. Patty died of sepsis from a ruptured intestine, which further freaked me out as I am right now smack in the middle of an unpleasant episode of diverticulitis, which if you know anything about it, you know it feels like your intestine might rupture any minute.

Seeing double: The Patty Duke Show
But enough about me. Patty Duke began her acting career in a daytime soap opera at age twelve. She was sixteen in 1962 when she earned an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress playing the young Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. (At the time she was that award's youngest recipient.) Prior to that she had played the part on Broadway for two years, where her name appeared on the marquee above the play's title, the first time that had ever been done for such a young performer.  She went on to star in her own TV sitcom, The Patty Duke Show, in which she played identical cousins. During her lifelong career on stage and TV, in dozens of roles appropriate to her age, she always gave a great performance. In her later years, with major film offers waning, she elevated even the shlockiest made-for-TV movies just by her very presence.

Patty Duke was one of the greats. Over the course of her career she received an Oscar, ten Emmy Award nominations and three Emmy Awards, and two Golden Globe awards. Let's show a little respect.

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