Remembering Patty Duke

We would like to take a moment to remember the life of a remarkable actress, Patty Duke. She became famous for her classic portrayal of Helen Keller in 1959. Of course, nowadays, it is preferable to have people with a disability portray a person with a disability, but 56 years ago, “The Miracle Worker” did much to advance disability awareness and champion a positive portrayal of a child with special needs, along with the importance of positive special education, a rarity in those days.

Patty Duke Helen Keller

Patty Duke earned acclaim for her portrayal of Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker” (1959). Her teacher, Annie Sullivan, played by Anne Bancroft, also had a disability; together, they succeeded.

Here is an obituary from the New York Times.

Helen Keller

With individualized special education instruction and sheer determination, Helen Keller became a famous author and spokesperson for persons with a disability.


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