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Actress Patty Duke looks at her past but enjoys her present

Actress Patty Duke has a supporting role in tonight's Lifetime movie “Unanswered Prayers,” based on Garth Brooks' 1990 song, and her six-decade career includes an Academy Award for “The Miracle Worker.”
BY LILLIE-BETH BRINKMAN Published: November 29, 2010

Duke said she has admired Brooks for years and that his visits to the set were memorable.

One of his songs — “The Dance” — was played at her stepdaughter's funeral about 13 years ago because she, too, was a fan until she died after a car accident at age 22.

“When I told him that, he was so real. The first thing he said, of course, was ‘Oh, my God,' and then he said, ‘It's not supposed to be that way. That's backwards. We're not supposed to bury our children,' which I thought was such a gracious way of saying he could relate,” Duke said. “That was one of the few moments he wasn't able to make me laugh hysterically.”

These days, while she will discuss her past when asked about it, she's more interested in talking about her present.

Even though her role in “Unanswered Prayers” is a supportive one, she enjoyed developing the character and working on the movie in general.

“The whole experience turned out to be one of the best I've ever had in the workplace,” Duke said.

“I think, from the top down ... (producers) set a tone of gentility. People were polite to each other, and it just made it a lovely experience,” she said.

In Idaho, she's getting ready to direct a community production of “The Miracle Worker” and she's happy to get the chance to work on projects such as “Unanswered Prayers.”


Watch the television movie “Unanswered Prayers,” executive produced by Garth Brooks and Lisa Sanderson and featuring Patty Duke, at 8 tonight on Lifetime.

Read a review of the movie at and a story by entertainment writer Brandy McDonnell about her visit with Brooks, which was published in The Oklahoman on Sunday and can be found at


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