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Patty Duke, here promoting a play she directed, died March 29 at the age of 69.
Associated Press File Photo, 2011
Ron Onesti: The Miracle of Patty Duke
Posted Apr 1, 2016 12:00 AM
Wow, Patty Duke! A huge smile automatically came to my face when my friend Rick Kautz brought an idea to me regarding the showbiz legend touring with a screening of her 1962 film “The Miracle Worker.”It was in recognition of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the film, and I said “Absolutely! Let’s do the screening, and let’s bring her in!” It was one of the most memorable presentations I had ever done at the Arcada Theatre, and now, after her recent passing, that night has become all the more special to me.When she arrived, I was as excited as I usually am with any rock star I meet at the theater. She was part of that black-and-white television generation I had grown up with, and just seeing her and that all-too-familiar smile was like a cup of hearty minestrone soup on a blistery fall day for me. She was as warm, and gave me a great hug upon our introduction.After going over the plan for the evening, she remained at the theater, approachable and humble, welcoming any opportunity to talk about her career with her adoring fans.After getting to know her, it was somewhat hard to believe and, frankly, quite a bit disheartening that this sweet, small-framed, yet big-smiled lady had a lifelong battle with mental-health issues, having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982. What was even more painful to hear was that it wasn’t until she was almost 36 years old when her condition came to light. This was a condition she battled with since she was a successful child actor, and her personal situation didn’t help.Her father was an alcoholic who, along with her clinically depressed mother, brought regular mistreatment and violence into their home. Her parents split up when she was just 6 years old, and at the tender age of 8, she was sent off to be cared for by “talent managers” John and Ethel Ross. They were already working with the family as they were trying to promote Patty’s brother, Raymond. Their methods were horrible, possibly indicative of the time, but still, unforgivable.Alcohol, prescription drugs, sexual advances and money pilfering was commonplace for the young actress, all at the behest of her “caretakers.” They lied about her age and even forced her to lie to a grand jury investigating rigged game shows on television. They even changed her birth name of Anna Marie to Patty in an effort to capture residual fame from the popular teen star of the time, Patty McCormack (who also played Helen Keller in the original 1957 stage play of The Miracle Worker).Duke appeared on Broadway in the stage adaptation of “The Miracle Worker.” She played Helen Keller in this compelling autobiographical story about a young deaf and blind girl and her frustrations with life. Her performance was so compelling, Duke was selected to reprise the role on screen opposite Anne Bancroft as her tutor.The young actress won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, catapulting Duke to national stardom. As a result, famed television producer Sidney Sheldon was assigned the task of giving the 16 year old her own TV show.“Sidney invited me to stay with him and his family for a week so he could get to know me better,” Patty told me. “He had no idea of what to make the show about. But he was such a genius. He noticed my two sides and came up with the idea for ‘The Patty Duke Show.’ ”The show was about two identical cousins, one mischievous and forthright, and the other prim and proper. The show ran for three seasons, until Duke turned 18 and started making her own decisions.“Didn’t it seem a bit ‘out there,’ ” I asked her. “I mean, identical cousins?”
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Pops of color help brighten an office.
Office style should make good impression on customers
Posted Mar 13, 2016 7:00 AM
First impressions are key when doing business. The areas that clients or customers see should be considered first when considering an office makeover. “When you decide to renovate your office, you can start small by choosing an important area like the reception space or conference room and putting your renovation budget there,” said Colleen Baader, creative director for Rieke Office Interiors of Elgin. “First impressions are very important, so companies need to look well-maintained and inviting, including everything from the landscaping around the front door, to the walkway signage, to the reception area. Curb appeal is just as important with a company as it is with a home,” she explained.If you don’t have much of a budget for improvements, consider replacing the carpet, repainting the walls and replacing the acoustic ceiling tiles and bad fluorescent lights, Baader suggests.“Believe it or not, you can make the biggest impact by replacing those 1980s ceiling tiles and the bad fluorescent lights. They can just kill a space,” she explained. “There are new direct/indirect LED ceiling lights which offer a clean light spread and are not expensive, so I would add those. I would also replace the old two-foot by four-foot acoustic ceiling tiles with more modern two-foot by two-foot Armstrong ‘Second Look’ tiles which can fit in an existing ceiling grid and give a totally modern look.”Once you have made these basic changes, Baader suggests that companies gradually make other improvements to bring their office up to date.Today’s updated offices feature gray and white for a sleek look. The warm tans which were popular in the past have all but disappeared.“It all began with Apple and their white and gray monitors. People liked those and keyed off them for their cars and in their homes and offices. In addition, these cooler tones reflect LED light better in large workspaces where there aren’t a lot of windows, whereas beige walls absorb the light,” Baader said.The grays are not the cold, sterile grays of hospitals, but rather happy, medium grays of the silvers seen on today’s automobiles and the brushed nickel which is popular for plumbing and lighting fixtures.“People spend a lot of time in their offices, so you want them to be comfortable. You don’t want them to have to work in a dark, dreary office. So we advise our clients to choose cool, comforting tones which relax people and foster collaboration,” she added.The furniture you choose when you replace your outdated furniture depends on the age of your workforce, Baader said. If you have a mixture of ages, you probably want to choose desks with dark walnut wood laminate on the sides and white laminate tops. If, on the other hand, you employ primarily millennials, workstations that are entirely made of sleek white or gray laminate are probably the correct choice.“Everyone is moving away from natural wood desks because of the cost and also the fact that they are not as durable as laminate. I am not talking about the cheesy laminate furniture that was sold in the 1980s. Today’s laminate is really great. The wood grain laminate even has a texture to it and really seems just like real wood and it is much less expensive,” she said.Once you have chosen the color scheme for your furniture, you need to add pops of color through accent walls and fabric tack boards. Often, according to Baader, these tie into the company logo color. Shades of bright blue, orange and lime green are especially popular.“These fabric boards are inexpensive and easily swappable. So if you want to change them out for a new look in five years, you can easily and inexpensively do that,” she stated.
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