Meeting Patty Duke


You can most definitely make your dreams come true. And sometimes all it takes is a free evening and a train ticket.

On Monday, March 8, 2010, my family and I journeyed to New York to see a showing of the 1962 film The Miracle Worker at the Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center.

The movie was an amazing example of the “molecular connection” (Patty Duke’s words) between two actresses—Miss Duke and Anne Bancroft—that mirrored the connection between the two women they portrayed—Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan.

When the movie ended, Patty Duke herself came to the stage and told wonderful stories about the stage production and the film production of “The Miracle Worker,” her relationship with Anne Bancroft, her meeting with the real Helen Keller, and her own life.

Here are some things that made me love Patty Duke even more than I loved her before I heard her speak:

  1. She understands the value of work. She told us that she has never turned down a job in her life!
  2. She appreciates what is important. “I love people,” she said, “so I’m always happy.”
  3. She is a brave survivor of mental illness.
  4. She originated the role of Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker’ on Broadway at age twelve, inhabiting a role that lesser actresses could not fill at any age.
  5. She was my icon for wholesome teenhood in The Patty Duke Show, which I watch now and still sometimes forget that Patty Lane and Cathy Lane are not being played by two different actresses!hqdefault
  6. She has worked at her craft and excelled in her artistry for over 40 years.
  7. She tells a great story.
  8. She has an infectious, charming laugh.
  9. She says she wants to play every role there is and  that she can use her wrinkles now to help her act.
  10. She hugged me. Patty Duke hugged me.

So, by simply keeping track of what’s happening at a place I respect and enjoy, such as the Walter Reade Theater, I was able to have an evening I’ll never forget, and my husband and daughter were able to see a great actress in the flesh.

Thank you, Miss Duke. Thanks for everything. I feel that, in some small way, a molecular connection was made.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Shirley said,

    Awww, how wonderful!!

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