Patty Duke Net Worth at Death – Salary, Income, Husband

Patty Duke Net Worth

Patty Duke had an estimated net worth of $12 million at death. Anna Marie “Patty” Duke was an American actress best known for her role as Helen Keller on Broadway in The Miracle Worker.  She earned most of her income from movies and television programs. She was also a singer and author on the side.

Patty landed her first major, memorable role when she was asked to play Helen Keller, blind and deaf, in the Broadway version of “The Miracle Worker.” The play lasted almost two years, from October 19, 1959to July 1, 1961 (Patty left the role in May 1961). In 1962, The Miracle Worker (1962) was made into a movie, and Patty won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was 16 years old, making her the youngest Oscar winner ever.

She then starred in her own sitcom titled The Patty Duke Show (1963). It ran for three seasons, and Patty was nominated for an Emmy.

More mature roles followed, such as that of Neely O’Hara in the film Valley of the Dolls (1967) and that of Natalie Miller in the film Me, Natalie (1969). For the latter role, she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical. She was the president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1985 to 1988.

Duke was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982. She died on the morning of March 29, 2016.

To calculate the net worth of Patty Duke, subtract all her liabilities from her total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity she has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets.

All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities. 

Here’s the breakdown of her net worth:

Let’s take a close look at Patty Duke and how he became so rich today.

Name: Patty Duke
Net Worth: $12 Million
Monthly Salary: $200 Thousand
Annual Income: $3 Million
Source of Wealth: Actor, Singer,Author

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Early Life

Patty Duke was born Anna Marie Duke on December 14, 1946, in Elmhurst, New York, the daughter of Frances Margaret (McMahon), a cashier, and John Patrick Duke, a cab driver and handyman. She is half Irish and one-eighth German.

Duke grew up in the Elmhurst neighborhood in Queens, where she and her siblings Raymond and Carol had a difficult childhood. Her father was an alcoholic, and her mother suffered from clinical depression and was violent.

Duke’s mother forced her father to leave home when she was six years old. 

Patty Duke  


After promoting Patty’s brother, talent managers John and Ethel Ross were looking for a girl to join their child actors when Duke was eight.

Patty was then introduced to acting by John and Ethel Ross and began appearing in commercials, which led to several notable stage, film and television roles. Her big break came in 1961 when she took on the role of Helen Keller in the Broadway version of “The Miracle Worker.”

In 1963, at age 16, she won the Academy Award for her portrayal of Keller in the feature film adaptation of “Miracle,” and became the youngest Oscar recipient at the time. As her success continued, she fell prey to substance abuse and depression, which she apparently inherited from her alcoholic father and bipolar mother.

With The Patty Duke Show she earned her first Emmy nomination and, in 1965, she headlined the heralded TV-movie Billie, which became the first small-screen film ever sold to a television network. From then on she was known as the “Queen of TV-Movies” (a crown later worn by fellow female icons Elizabeth Montgomery and Valerie Bertinelli, among others).

Duke went on to star in the cult classic Valley of The Dolls in 1967 and, in 1969, appeared in an independent film called Me, Natalie. Although the latter production was a box-office failure, it garnered Duke her second Golden Globe Award.

In 1976, she won her second Emmy for the highly successful miniseries Captains and the Kings, and continued working in TV-movies, such as the 1979 remake of The Miracle Worker in which she now portrayed Annie Sullivan, a role that won her a third Emmy.

In 1984, she was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild.

Although it was her classic TV sitcom that sealed her status as a female icon of television, working on the show was not always a pleasant experience for her, particularly because of the nature of playing two roles.

As she explained in her book Call Me Anna, her abusive managers, John and Ethel Ross, never allowed her to watch the show, sending her to her room whenever it aired. Into this mix, she felt uneasy about playing the teenage Patty, because Duke never went to a high school dance in real life or did anything that a regular teen girl would do, mostly because of the unpleasant demands placed upon her by the Rosses.

Duke was equally frustrated with playing Cathy, Patty’s foreign twin cousin on the show, especially because the character was not given a clear-cut heritage. “Cathy should be from someplace,” Duke wrote. “That’s one of the reasons I tend to think of my work [on The Patty Duke Show] the same way I do the split screens we used, as part of the trick as opposed to genuine performance.”

Duke made it clear that she enjoyed playing Cathy more than Patty because the former was “more sedate, seemed older and was less silly.” Cathy was somewhat boring, Duke said, “but at least she wasn’t called upon to do the things that I felt were demeaning and scatterbrained.”

The actress felt the same way about the wardrobe of both characters. She preferred Cathy’s clothes because they were more conservative in color and style. “Others might think they were boring,” she relayed, “but that was less offensive than skirts that were too short and too wide, things that were in general stiff and unreal.”

As far as Duke was concerned, “they were trick clothes,” an extension of the trick photography and her trick accent as Cathy.

Fortunately, the experience of The Patty Duke Show for the viewers at home was only a positive experience. As writer and Duke fan Dan Holm explains:

The Patty Duke Show ranks among my very first “must-see” series. It was appointment television in our house.

Her ability to pull off two contrasting roles consistently week after week is a testament to Patty Duke’s formidable talent. Patty was cute, fun, and ready to take on life. Cathy was studious, conservative, and wanted to understand life before approaching carefully.

She exemplified the yin and yang of growing up and the tumults of teenagerdom. Patty and Cathy were relatable and accessible.

In The Patty Duke Show, she captured that time of life when you can’t decide which side of the brain is in control. The great part about watching Patty and Cathy is that we didn’t have to. She/they proved both hemispheres can work it out, especially when you put them together.

Ironically, in her dual roles as Patty and Cathy, Patty Duke gave us a hint of the personal conflicts that would plague her for years to come.

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Patty Duke

Personal Life & Husband

Duke was married from 1965 to 1969 to director Harry Falk, who became her first husband. During those four years of marriage, she suffered from undiagnosed manic-depressive depression and also suffered from anorexia; she also drank heavily and was hospitalized several times for an overdose of pills.

In the early 1970s, at the age of 23, Duke had a fiery affair with 17-year-old Desi Arnaz Jr. This relationship made headlines, in part because of the age difference between the two (and because he was underage) and because Lucille Ball publicly spoke out against her son’s relationship with Duke.

A short time later Duke and Arnaz separated and she began a relationship with actor John Astin, but at the same time he was also having an intimate relationship with rock music promoter Michael Tell. In June 1970, in the middle of a manic-depressive phase, she discovered that she was pregnant.

Unsure of which of the three men was the father of her child, Duke married Tell at the end of the month, but 13 days later the union was dissolved. It is worth noting that at that time the media speculated that Arnaz was the father of the baby.

On February 25, 1971, Patty Duke became the mother of a son, who was christened Sean. In 1972, she married John Astin, who adopted Sean as his own son, and the couple had another son named Mackenzie, who was born in 1973. Duke and Astin worked together during their marriage, and for a time she added her married name to her stage name.

Although Duke claimed in her 1987 autobiography that John Astin was Sean’s biological father, she later stated that she was convinced that he was actually Desi Arnaz Jr. until finally a paternity test in 1994 revealed that Sean’s biological father was Duke’s second husband, Michael Tell, which refuted the statement quoted in his autobiography that his marriage to Tell was never consummated (which was the reason for their annulment).

However, the present actor Sean Astin has always stated that John Astin is his only true father for him.

In 1985 Duke and Astin divorced, and in 1986 she married Sergeant Michael Pearce, whom she had met on the set of the TV movie A Time of Triumph. The couple adopted another son, Kevin, in 1988, and the three moved to Idaho.

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Duke died March 29, 2016, at age 69, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, of sepsis caused by a ruptured intestine. Her ashes were interred in Forest Cemetery in Coeur d’Alene after she was cremated.

Patty Duke Quotes

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.

Patty Duke


It’s toughest to forgive ourselves. So it’s probably best to start with other people. It’s almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, forgiving others, you really do get to the point where you can forgive yourself.

Patty Duke


I’ve survived. I’ve beaten my own bad system, and on some days, on most days, that feels like a miracle.

Patty Duke


Bipolar indicates that you’re not – you don’t just experience depression, but the mood swing goes up, and it can go very up.

Patty Duke


When I’m 80 and sitting in a rocking chair listening to the Rolling Stones, there is absolutely no way I’m going to feel old or forget my younger days.

Patty Duke


No amount of therapy will take care of a chemical imbalance of the brain.

Patty Duke


One of the reasons I survived as well as I did was my genetics. My mother and father both had very tough lives, and boy, were they survivors.

Patty Duke


My recovery from manic depression has been an evolution, not a sudden miracle.

Patty Duke


As much as I loathe this aging thing, I’m beginning to recognize that I am now a healthier person in terms of self-worth and knowing who I am and where I fit in the world. That’s been a good trade-off for the wrinkles.

Patty Duke


Nobody gets through life on a pass.

Patty Duke

View our larger collection of the best Patty Duke quotes.

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