Sparkle, Patty, Sparkle!
Sad to hear the news that Patty Duke has gone to that ole' Valley of the Dolls in the sky. R.I.P. Patty. Let's take a look at some of your finest moments.
I first became aware of Patty's greatness while binge-watching Lifetime movies as a girl. While not the greatest of her achievements, they were my first introduction because I was 8-years-old and still pretty cinematically uneducated.
Patty almost always played a concerned mother, a mother any of of us would love to have. The circumstances of her movie-daughters, however, were less enviable. Take, for example, her on-screen daughter Tiffany Amber Thiessen. Kelly Kapowski, to us, Tiffany Amber met her maker at the hands of three nasty bitches in the Lifetime classic 'A Killer Among Friends.' Tiffany's mean girl friends were mad jealous of her sweet mane, and slapped her around, cutting off pieces of her hair one day in the woods.
This resulted in Tiffany being killed and stashed under a log. Poor Patty fought the good fight to try and solve her daughters' disappearance. Years later she would find the truth...poor Patty.
Patty would reprise her role as a concerned mother willing to fight for justice in the aptly named 'A Matter of Justice." Other concerned mom-roles cementing her in my heart as the mother-I'd-love-to-have-should-I-ever-go-missing included her work in 'Race Against Time: The Search for Sarah," and of course "To Face her Past," which put Patty on the screen with everyone's favorite eating disordered child star (sorry Mary-Kate), Tracy Gold.
If only Patty had played the mom in 'For the Love of Nancy.' Perhaps her mom-home-cooking would have pulled Tracy out of her disrder. Or if Patty had played the mom in 'No One Would Tell.' Maybe Patty could have mom'd up and save poor Candace Cameron from the rage of the abusive kid from the Wonder Years?
Anyway. So Patty Duke basically starred in every Lifetime movie and after-school special I've watched. Whether she actually was cast in them or not. To me, she was every concerned mother with a daughter in trouble. And for that I love her. Patty was my T.V. mom. And I was a missing girl in a Lifetime presentation.
As I matured and got Netflix, I came to love Patty not as a protective mother character. Instead, I discovered her finest role, one in which she played the kind of daughter the Patty I knew previously would have wanted to protect. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Neely O'Hara!
And while things may have seemed promising for Miss O'Hara at the beginning of 'Valley of the Dolls,' we all know how things ended...The same way most of my mornings begin:
So here's to you, Patty Duke. You were much more than just an actress, and so yeah, you gotta drink. Yeah you gotta take pills. But you were up at 6 in the morning to sparkle, Neely, sparkle. Rest in peace, you fabulous thing!