Michael Pearce, Patty Duke’s Husband: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Actress Patty Duke and husband Michael Pearce attend the ceremony honoring her with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame August 17, 2004 in Hollywood, California. (Getty)

Oscar-winning actress Patty Duke died Tuesday at the age of 69 from an infection caused by a ruptured intestine, her family says.

The actress is survived by her longtime husband, Michael Pearce, 61. The couple celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary earlier this month.

Here’s what you need to know about him and their relationship:

1. He Was an Army Drill Sergeant Consulting on a Movie She Was Shooting When They Met

Patty Duke, who had recently divorced from her third husband, met Mike Pearce in 1985 while she was shooting a TV movie at Fort Benning in Georgia, according to a 1997 People Magazine article.

He was an Army drill sergeant hired as a consultant on the movie, A Time to Triumph. She was played a housewife who became an Army pilot in the CBS movie.

“Patty just did a film at Ft. Benning and he was doing some work on the film as a technical adviser,” her publicist, Mickey Freeman told the press in 1986. “They are going to get married April 26 in Los Angeles, but exact plans have not been set.”

After he divorced his wife, they were married in 1986. Pearce, then a Sergeant 1st Class, was 31, and Duke was 38. He was a drill instructor for infantry trainees in A company, 7th battalion, 1st infantry training brigade, nicknamed the “Pacesetters” at Fort Benning.

Earlier this month, on March 15, she tweeted about celebrating her wedding anniversary with Pearce.

She said they were “having a very happy and quiet day. Love and hugs to all.” It was her final tweet.

2. They Moved to Idaho, Where Pearce Worked as a Firefighter

Patty Duke and Michael Pearce settled in north Idaho, where Pearce worked as a firefighter. He is an Idaho native, according to a 1996 article in The Spokesman-Review.

They lived together in Coeur d’Alene. According to her website, they “bought an eighty acre ranch with lots of farm animals, and enjoy living there more than any other place they’ve ever lived.”

They owned a summer home, which burned down in 1996, according to The Spokesman-Review article. She was in California at the time filming a movie.

“We have this thing we do when she comes home,” Pearce told the newspaper. “We come out here and spend some time to get away from everything. We relax. There’s only one phone.”

3. He Had 2 Daughters From a Previously Relationship & They Adopted a Son in 1988

Patty Duke and Michael Pearce adopted their son, Kevin Pearce, in 1988. Pearce also had two children from a previous marriage, Raelene, then 10, and Charlene, 8, according to People.

His daughter, Raelene, drowned at the age of 22 when the car she was driving skidded into a river near the farm, People reports.

Patty Duke also has two sons from a previous marriage, actors Sean and Mackenzie Astin. Sean Astin has three daughters, Ali, Elizabeth and Isabella. Pearce’s daughter, Charlene, also has children that Duke counted as her grandchildren.

Asked by Grandparents.com what she would want to pass down to her grandchildren, she said, “Laughter. Sure there are many other things I would like to pass down … I have made so many mistakes. Unless I am willing to cop to those, the idea of laughter and goodness don’t ring true.”

4. Pearce Was Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer Last Year

Pearce was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2015, according to Hollywood.com.

She shared the news on Twitter, writing in June, “Mike has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, surgery June 30. I know he will be ok, but many unknown factors now.”

It was not immediately clear if he is still battling the disease.

5. She Was Married 3 Times Before Pearce

Actress Patty Duke and sons MacKenzie and Sean Astin. (Getty)

Actress Patty Duke and sons MacKenzie and Sean Astin. (Getty)

Patty Duke was married three times before Pearce, according to the biography on her website.

She married director Harry Falk in 1965. They divorced in 1970.

Duke then married rock promoter Michael Tell in 1970, but the marriage was annulled that same year. In 1972 she married actor John Astin. They divorced in 1985.