Actress, author Patty Duke to deliver Troy University’s Helen Keller Lecture

Posted: Monday, 14 March 2011

TROY, Ala.—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, which will be held at 10 a.m. in the Claudia Crosby Theater on the Troy Campus, is designed to promote awareness of people who excel in their chosen fields despite physical and/or mental limitations. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

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.

“We are thrilled to have Patty Duke as our speaker for this year’s 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 would later win the 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 would portray Anne Sullivan in a made-for-television remake of the movie opposite Melissa Gilbert as Helen Keller.

Following her initial big-screen success, Duke starred in the television series, “The Patty Duke Show,” which ran from 1963 to 1966 on ABC.

Her career has brought her to Broadway, feature films, television series and cartoons. She has appeared in more than 70 made-for-television movies.

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

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

Since the publication of her autobiography, “Call Me Anna” and her second book “A Brilliant Madness,” Duke spends a great deal of time and travel speaking on the topic of mental illness.

Prior to the lecture, students enrolled in TROY’s Interpreter Training Program will sign The National Anthem.

Sullivan Award