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Patty Duke’s life was filled with more accomplishments than most realize

The world lost an American treasure on March 29, 2016 when Patty Duke passed away. The news of her death is, of course, trending all over the Internet today — but many millennials and those of a younger generation may not have any idea just how much Duke did with her life.

In celebration of Duke, here’s a sampling of her accomplishments.

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1. Academy Award winner

Still from
Image: Playfilm Productions

Duke took home a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Helen Keller in the 1962 film The Miracle Worker. At 16 years old, she was the youngest person to ever take home an Oscar at the time.

2. Exquisitely pulled off a double role

Still from The Patty Duke Show
Image: ABC

It’s never a small feat to pull off playing two different characters in a production, but back in the day when special effects weren’t as developed, it was even more difficult. Duke managed to go back and forth perfectly between Patty and Cathy on The Patty Duke Show, which is just one of the many reasons why the series is so iconic.

3. Breaking the mold

Still from Valley of the Dolls
Image: Red Lion

Just five years after The Miracle Worker and one year after the curtains closed on The Patty Duke Show, Duke flawlessly transitioned from child star to movie star when she played Neely O’Hara in Valley of the Dolls.

4. Prolific actress

Still from Glee
Image: Fox

Other than the amazing work above, it’s important to note the sheer number of films and shows that Duke starred in. Her career spanned 63 years and included appearances in 139 movies and TV series — and that doesn’t even include her work onstage.

5. Her sons

Patty Duke and sons
Image: WENN

Being a great parent is a huge accomplishment, and we would be remiss to not mention Duke’s three children. Two of her kids went on to achieve fame of their own: Son Mackenzie Astin is best known for his role on The Facts of Life and, more recently, appears as Dr. Max Cahn on Fox’s Rosewood. Her other son, Sean Astin, is a household name for roles in movies like Rudy, The Goonies and The Lord of the Rings franchise.

5. Her charity work

After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982, Duke took it upon herself to raise awareness for mental illness and was chairperson of The Patty Duke Mental Health Project.

Sean posted this touching Facebook message about his mother’s legacy on the morning of her death.

6. Twice-published author

In addition to being a spokesperson for mental health, Duke also wrote a book on the topic titled Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic-Depressive Illness. She also penned her autobiography, Call Me Anna.

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7. Mrs. President

Duke served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1985 to 1988. During her tenure, Duke worked toward equal rights in the industry.

During her presidency, the Guild devised a low-budget motion picture agreement giving advantages to productions that hire more women, minorities, seniors and disabled performers,” reads the SAG website.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

celebrity deaths 2016 slideshow

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