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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

Actress Patty Duke's life in Couer d'Alene, Idaho, is filled with happy, everyday moments such as taking her granddaughters to dance and gymnastics lessons, cooking for Thanksgiving and enjoying time with her husband of almost 25 years.

As she hosted a conference call recently to promote her latest movie, “Unanswered Prayers,” which debuts at 8 tonight on Lifetime, she welcomed each person on the line individually, joked about the cold weather and spoke honestly about her journey that got her to this point in life.

“I've been very lucky,” she said. “I have a very full plate.”

Her contented life these days is far from the time she won an Oscar for “The Miracle Worker” in 1962, became famous as the child star of “The Patty Duke Show” which aired from 1963-66, and later became known for her hard life, marriages, substance abuse, mood swings and other off-screen antics before she finally was diagnosed and received treatment for bipolar disorder.

She has since written two best-selling books about her life, “Call Me Anna” and “A Brilliant Madness: Living With Manic Depression Illness.”

Duke, who is about to turn 64, thanks God that some of her own prayers went unanswered in her youth.

“I attempted suicide a number of times. I'm very glad that prayer wasn't answered. I obviously had more to do here. I thank God and the professionals in the medical world who made it possible.”

Lifetime's “Unanswered Prayers” is based on the 1990 hit song by Oklahoman Garth Brooks, the Grammy Award-winning country music artist who was an executive producer on the show along with Lisa Sanderson, producing partner and chief executive of Red Strokes Entertainment.

The television movie stars Eric Close as a happily married father who encounters his high school flame, played by Madchen Amick, and wonders what could have been ... with her. Duke stars as the man's mother-in-law. Samantha Mathis plays his wife.

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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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