Patty Duke to deliver lecture

Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Academy Award-winning actress and best selling author Patty Duke will deliver the 16th annual Helen Keller Lecture at Troy University on March 31.

The lecture will be at 10 a.m. in the Claudia Crosby Theater on the university campus.

There will be a screening of the Duke’s film and television career at 4 p.m. March 20 at the Trojan Center Theater.

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Both events are free and open to the public.

The annual Helen Keller Lecture is designed to promote awareness of people who excel in their chosen fields despite physical and/or mental limitations.

Duke was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982 and began treatment for the mental illness that had challenged her though much of her life.

Since the publication of her book autobiography, “Call Me Anna” and a second book, “A Brilliant Madness,” Duke speaks often on the topic of mental illness.

“We are thrilled to have Patty Duke as our speaker for this years Helen Keller Lecture, said Dr. Mary Anne Templeton, lecture committee chair. “Having faced the challenges posed by bipolar disorder, Ms. Duke speaks from her experiences in a manner that provides both compassion and hope. She also brings a unique connection to this event because she has portrayed both the roles of Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan on the big screen.”

Duke’s acting career was launched when, as a teenager, she portrayed Helen Keller in the 1959 Broadway production, “The Miracle Worker,” based on the Keller’s autobiography “The Story of My Life.”

She won Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the 1962 film adaptation of “The Miracle Worker,” which told the story of Anne Sullivan’s struggle to teach the blind and deaf Keller to communicate. In 1979, she portrayed Anne Sullivan in a made-for-television remake of the movie opposite Melissa Gilbert as Helen Keller.

Duke is known to many for her dual role in “The Patty Duke Show,” a sitcom that ran on ABC television from 1963 until 1966.

Duke played two-identical-looking cousins with different personalities who shared the same family, home and school.

Duke’s career also includes Broadway, feature films, cartoons and 70 made-for-television movies.

She has two Golden Globes, a People’s Choice Award, three Emmy Awards and six Emmy nominations in addition to the Academy Award.

The lecture is sponsored by Troy University, The Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education, the Alabama State Department of Mental Health, the Alabama State Department of Education, the Alabama State Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind.