Exclusive interview with author Bill Jankowski, In The Presence of Greatness, My Sixty-Year Journey As An Actress (Film & TV Legend Patty Duke)!

Patty Duke is an Icon. Her fan base reaches around the world. During her 60-year career she won an Oscar®, 3 Emmy’s®, 2 Golden Globe’s®, and a People’s Choice Award®. At the time of death at age 69 in 2016, she had just completed the manuscript for her third book with co-author William (Bill) Jankowski.

In 2018 the book amply titled In The Presence of Greatness, My Sixty-Year Journey As An Actress was finally released and it confirms just how fabulous Patty Duke is.

In 1963 at age 16 Patty became a star and household name with her landmark series The Patty Duke Show and her Oscar® winning performance in The Miracle Worker.

Once I started it was nearly impossible to put down and I read the book over the course of an afternoon.

In The Presence of Greatness My Sixty-Year Journey As An Actress is not just the incredible iconic journey of one of America’s greatest actresses it is also a graduate class in film and television history. Transporting the reader in time and space to each story Patty is sharing.

If you are looking for a perfect holiday gift for anyone who loves film and television this book will be a welcome and appreciated gift.

This past week I had the opportunity to speak with and learn more about Duke’s co-author William (Bill) Jankowski who had the daunting task of editing the book and finding a publisher after Patty passed away in 2016. Bill does a tremendous job of writing in Patty’s voice and bringing her stories about the extraordinary film and television projects she worked on during her life.

How did you first meet Academy Award and Emmy winning actress Patty Duke (Anna)? When I was 17 in 1997, I sent her some copies on VHS of her early work and a letter. After receiving the package Patty and her husband sent me an email thanking me. this was the start of a wonderful 20-year friendship.

Do you remember the first movie you watched Patty in? When I was 8, Nick at Nite began showing reruns of The Patty Duke Show and the same year I did a book report on Helen Keller. While doing the report my parents rented The Miracle Worker (1962) for me to watch.

What are your personal favorite performances by Patty? The Miracle Worker (both 1962 and 1979), Me, Natalie (1969), Captains & The Kings (1977), My Sweet Charlie (1970), Before & After (1979), Always Remember I Love You (1990), A Matter of Justice (1993), and A Christmas Memory (1997).

What is your favorite word? Perseverance.

What is your favorite color? All shades of blue.

What is your favorite city? New York.

What is your favorite season? Spring, because it is warm, not overly warm.

What is your astrological sign? Taurus.

Who has been the most positive influence on your life? Anna (Patty Duke) and my mom.

What trait do you find most attractive in other people? Laughter.

What is something most people don’t know about you (Hobby, Favorite TV Series you never miss or Film you have seen many times or Secret Talent)? Love fairy tales, and Faerie Tale Theatre. Faerie Tale Theatre is the ground breaking 1980’s television series created actress and producer Shelley Duvall, that featured a luminous cast of actors in live action episodes of classic fairy tales.

What inspires you creatively? When I see other people very passionate about something that inspires me. Passion in others.

What is your favorite film of all time? All About Eve (1950).

What is your favorite food? Macaroni and Cheese.

What is your favorite beverage? Although I have mostly cut soda out of my diet, I love Root Beer.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this holiday season? On Thanksgiving, the ET reunion video.

You can now brighten your holiday season and the holiday season for others by purchasing copies of In The Presence of Greatness, My Sixty-Year Journey As An Actress at:



Pictures Courtesy of William “Bill” Jankowski

Investigator and Interviewer, Graduate of New England College of Business.