Oscar-winning actress Patty Duke dies, aged 69

Duke won her Oscar for playing Helen Keller in 1962's 'The Miracle Worker'

Oscar-winning actress Patty Duke has died at the age of 69.

Duke won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1962 for her performance as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, a role she had originated on Broadway three years earlier. At the time, 16-year-old Duke was the youngest person ever to win an Oscar in a competitive category.

She later starred in her own sitcom, The Patty Duke Show, which ran from 1963 to 1967, and won three Emmy awards for her TV work.

Duke received her third Emmy for her performance in a 1979 TV remake of The Miracle Worker, in which she played Helen Keller’s teacher Anne Sullivan, a role Anne Bancroft had played opposite Duke on Broadway and in the 1962 film.

Duke was also known for her film role in the 1967 camp classic Valley Of The Dolls and for speaking publicly about her battle with manic depression. In later life, she became a high-profile mental health lobbyist in the US. She was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004.

Her representative, Mitchell Stubbs, said in a statement that she died earlier today (March 29) of sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She is survived by her fourth husband, Michael Pearce, whom she married in 1986, and by her three children, one of whom is The Goonies and Lord Of The Rings actor Sean Astin.

Sean Astin has shared a post on behalf of Duke’s Family on Facebook, writing: “This morning, our beloved wife, mother, grandmother, matriarch and the exquisite artist, humanitarian, and champion for mental health, Anna PATTY DUKE Pearce, 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.”