Patty Duke: A TV Icon Gives a Nod to Up-and-Coming Star Brooke Elliott

Patty Duke has been a pop culture icon since she was 16 years old and won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker." That same year she got her own self-titled sitcom playing a teenager with an identical twin cousin. Now she's appearing on "Drop Dead Diva."

Patty Duke has been a pop culture icon since she was 16 years old and won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker." That same year she got her own self-titled sitcom playing a teenager with an identical twin cousin. And she's shared her personal trials and tribulations in the autobiography "Call Me Anna."

Patty Duke Will Guest Star on 'Drop Dead Diva.'

These days Duke can be seen frequently making appearances on a wide range of television shows like "The Protector" and "Hawaii Five-O," and in TV movies like "Unanswered Prayers." And on Sunday, June 17, she'll stop by "Drop Dead Diva" playing the latest of Jane's clients, Rita O'Reily.

Duke portrays a woman who gets fired from her job as a big box store greeter when she tries to stop a robbery. But Jane really connects to her when she starts to believe that she and Rita might have something in common -- they each might have another person's soul inhabiting their body.

Patty Duke Raves About 'Drop Dead Diva' Star Brooke Elliot.

In a recent conference call interview, Duke explained that she was offered the part of "Diva" without an audition, which she noted was a rarity despite her 55 years of acting experience. She also raved about the show's star -- Brooke Elliott.

Even though she had admired Elliott before signing on for the role, she admitted that she was blown away by the young actress in person. Duke gushed, "The first day, it was all I could do to concentrate on my part because she was so fascinating."

Patty Duke Felt Transported by 'Drop Dead Diva' Star Brooke Elliot's Performance.

An Emmy-winner herself, Duke marveled at Elliott's ability to push through 15 or 16 pages of dialogue during a courtroom scene. The seasoned pro revealed, "I felt that I was being transported by this creature, who could not only remember all the words in a row but deliver them with such energy and intelligence. I fell in love with her off the bat."

If anyone knows how to dig deep into a character's soul, it's Patty Duke. Anyone who has seen her performance as the deaf-mute Helen Keller and her later turn as Keller's teacher Anne Sullivan has seen her brilliance in action.

So her assessment of Elliott's skills seems to resonate more loudly as a result. She raved about the "Diva" star, saying, "She is a force. She invites you into the most private part of her psyche, and you feel safe there. She is so extraordinary."

Patty Duke Complimented 'Drop Dead Diva' Star Brooke Elliot Off-Camera, Too.

Duke also had the nicest of compliments about Elliott's behavior off-screen. She commented on the great atmosphere, graciousness, and humor on-set saying that it was all led by Elliott.

Watch Patty Duke on "Drop Dead Diva" on Sunday, June 17 at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST on Lifetime.

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