Wednesday, March 30, 2016


A faux tweet noted actress Patty Duke's death at age 69. Her sometimes chaotic life seems almost like a Hollywood cliche. The troubled child star becomes a very troubled adult star.

An odd story is bouncing around the web today. "Patty Duke dead at 69: 7 things you didn't know about Anna Marie Pearce." One of the things you supposedly didn't know is that, as a twelve-year-old in 1959, Patty Duke was involved in the rigging scandals on $64,000 Challenge. But if you read this blog often, you're probably a game show fan and this "thing you didn't know" will likely not come as a surprise.

It's impossible to blame a twelve-year-old very much, if at all, for the mess. Especially when the adults in her life stood to make so much money. Patty Duke "won" $32,000 on the show, about a quarter-million in today's debased currency. With so much filthy lucre on the line, it's no wonder the poor kid was coaxed and/or pressured into going along with the cheating. In 1962 she testified to Congress about the rigged show.

It's more than a little ironic that Patty Duke later became a strong player on real game shows, including tough formats like Pyramid and Password. The rigging scandal fell into place as just one more incident in a roller-coaster life. The customary R.I.P. assumes more importance for someone who rarely seemed at peace.

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