The untimely and unfortunate death of award-winning performer Patty Duke at the age of 69 will lead many baby boomers to remember her 1960’s TV series, “The Patty Duke Show”.
Or more exactly, it will lead many to remember the one of the most effectively earwormy theme songs ever to plague mid-century television. I don’t remember anything specific from the stories or the characters – just this opening ditty.
But Duke had intelligence and determination, and those qualities earned her a level of respect far beyond what one might gain from starring in a simple TV comedy. Only after reading her obituary did I get a sense for the many personal obstacles she faced, or glimpse what she did, as a teenager, with the Oscar-winning role of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker.
That’s an amazing performance, and an admirable life.
What milestone had you reached at age 16?