Oscar-winning actress Patty Duke was hospitalized on Friday night after experiencing stomach pains while at a screening of her 1962 film The Miracle Worker, held at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha. The 67-year-old actress was released from the hospital on Sunday after being treated for irritable bowel syndrome.
Duke left the event early, although she did speak at the movie screening, and stayed to sign autographs for 90 minutes following the conclusion of the film. She played the role of Keller in the film, which tells the story of Helen Keller’s tutor Anne Sullivan, and for which she received an Oscar for best-supporting actress. Omaha event organizer Bruce Crawford told the Omaha World-Herald that her condition was not serious but that an Omaha physician who had already been treating the actress asked her to come in for more tests. Crawford said that according to her husband, Michael Pearce, the actress was feeling fine following her release.
Starring in the 1963-1967 television series The Patty Duke Show she played both main roles: Patty Lane, a troublesome American teenager and Cathy Lane, her well-behaved “identical cousin” from Scotland who lived with Patty’s family while completing high school. Duke was the youngest actor at that time to have a prime-time television series that bore her name. She has also performed on Broadway and in TV movies.
Since publicly announcing that she suffers from bipolar disorder the actress has been an outspoken advocate for mental health issues. She was diagnosed with the disaease in 1982 after suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, and substance abuse. She was finally diagnosed as manic-depressive at age 35 after years of erratic behavior that resulted in three divorces and almost cost her her acting career. Her book Call Me Anna revealed her struggle to survive. Her most recent book, A Brilliant Madness, sheds light on what it is like to live with bipolar disorder. Duke also suffered from anorexia, which caused a hospitalization and necessitated a year-long struggle with learning to eat properly. She does not know if the anorexia was the result of her bipolar issues, saying you can not blame everything on that.
In an interview with Lifescript Entertainment Reporter, Duke said her message when speaking about bipolar disorder is that without treatment it does not just go away. She decided to go public with her experience because she felt she knew something important and wanted to get that information out. She said getting an accurate diagnosis and treatment was an answer to her prayers, and she felt she had to share it.
Duke’s website reports that the “all-American girl” and husband Pearce have dual-citizenship with Ireland. Her father was Irish-American and the actress identified deeply with her Irish roots. She and her husband worked for years to achieve dual-nationality, which she announced on Twitter in March, 2013. She had never taken on any Irish-themed work until a special called When Irish Eyes Are Smiling – An Irish Parade of Stars, which aired on PBS in 2010.
The actress has dealt with stomach problems for some time according to Crawford, and has been undergoing tests. Despite the stomach pain that caused her Omaha hospitalization, Duke plans to continue her speaking tour.
By Beth A. Balen