Patty Duke’s ex-husband Michael Tell: Son, Net Worth, Divorce

March 22, 2024
4 mins read

Who is Michael Tell?

Besides her talent, the Oscar-awarded actress and singer, Patty Duke, was known for her controversial love life, and one of her many lovers was Michael Tell. Years later, Patty’s son Sean Astin, discovered the truth about his biological father, and since he’s also a famous actor, people were interested in this part of his life.

To learn more about Patty’s ex-husband and Sean’s father, keep on scrolling through this article.

Image source

Early life, family, and education

Michael Tell rose to prominence thanks only to his marriage to one of the most popular early ’60s actresses, thus there isn’t much information regarding his personal life. It’s known that he was born in 1946, in the USA, thus he holds American nationality, and so is aged 76 as of November 2022. There’s nothing known about his parents and any siblings.

It is assumed that he attended a local high school in his hometown. He matriculated in 1964, but information about his college education hasn’t been revealed.



According to sources, Michael Tell was a rock promoter, and reportedly also a writer, however, Michael didn’t gain fame because of his work.

He was a big fan of rock music, and thanks to his job as a promoter, he traveled all around the US, and also visited several Europe countries. Michael retired in 2010.

Marriage with Patty Duke

Michael Tell met his future wife Patty Duke in a restaurant; they began dating, but it was an on-and-off relationship. Patty said in one of her interviews that at that time, she also dated Desi Arnaz Junior, and John Astin, both actors.

Patty conceived, and some reports say that Michael Tell proposed to her, although he didn’t know if the child was his. The two married on 26 June 1970, but this marriage lasted 13 days. Patty stated that she married Michael during a manic phase (she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder) and that the only reason for that marriage was to ‘give the child a name’.

Sean Austin was born on 25 February 1971, and Patty claimed that his father is John Astin, whom she later married in 1972. John Astin adopted Sean, however, when Sean was a teenager, she told him that his biological father is Desi Arnaz Jr.

In 1994, Sean met a relative of Michael Tell, who told him that they’re related; Sean underwent a genetic test which showed that Michael Tell is his biological father. An interesting fact is that Sean developed a great relationship with all three men, and after his mother divorced John Astin, and married Mike Pearce, an American drill sergeant, Sean also became close with him. Sean said that all four men are his dads.

As mentioned, Sean is also an actor, and is probably still known best for his portrayal of Samwise Gamgee in “The Lord of the Rings” franchise.


How rich is Michael Tell?

Michael withdrew from public life after his divorce from Patty Duke, and despite his name making headlines, he failed to achieve fame in the years that followed, except as her ex-husband and biological father of a celebrity.

As of late 2022, his net worth has been estimated at $1 million, while his ex-wife, at the time of her death in 2016, had a net worth estimated at over $10 million.

Briefly about Patty Duke

Born Anna Marie Duke under the zodiac sign of Sagittarius on 14 November 1946, in New York City USA, Patty was raised by her parents, Frances and John Patrick Duke in the neighborhood of Queens, alongside her two elder siblings, Carol and Raymond. Her mother was a cashier and her father worked as a cab driver.

Patty’s childhood was hard, with an alcoholic father, and a clinically depressed mother. It seemed that she would have a better life with the talent agents Ethel and John Ross, who took Patty into their care, however, it turned out differently.

They changed her name saying to her that ‘Anna Marie is dead’, and named her Patty, hoping that she would achieve the success that Patty McCormack had. The Rosses were unscrupulous, giving Patty alcohol and prescription drugs, and even made sexual advances on her.

Patty made numerous commercial appearances before she made her acting debut as Gina in the series “Armstrong Circle Theatre” in 1956. She followed with her role as a Young Cathy Earnshaw in the series “The DuPont Show of the Month” in 1957, and in the following year, she was seen making her big-screen debut in the movie “The Goddess”.


Patty had 140 acting credits to her name, and certainly her most notable role was her portrayal of Helen Keller in the 1962 biographical drama “The Miracle Worker” based on the novel “The Story of My Life” by Helen Keller. It was the story of Annie Sullivan and her struggle to teach Hellen how to communicate, since she was deaf and also blind. Patty’s performance in the movie brought her the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female.

Since the list of Patty’s roles is too long to enumerate, we will mention some of her most notable. Her portrayal of Marlene Chambers in the TV movie “My Sweet Charlie” brought her a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

Patty won another Primetime Emmy Award (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series) for her role as Bernadette Hennessey in the 1976 TV mini-series “Captains and the Kings”. Her third Primetime Emmy Award came in 1980, when she won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Special, for her performance in the TV movie “The Miracle Worker”, and this time she portrayed Annie Sullivan.

The ’90s and early 2000s saw Patty in numerous series and TV movies, and on 17 August 2004, Patty Duke received her Star on the Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard. Before her death in 2016, Patty was seen as Grandma Janice in an episode of the 2015 series “Liv and Maddie”.


Speaking of her personal life, before her marriage to Michael Tell, Patty was married to Harry Falk from 1965 until divorcing in 1969. As mentioned, she married and divorced Michael in 1970, and then married John Austin in 1972. They had a son together, Mackenzie Astin, who is also an actor.

Patty and John divorced in 1985, and in the following year, Patty married Michael ‘Mike’ Pearce, with whom she adopted a son, Kevin (born in 1988). Patty’s marriage with Mike lasted until her death on 29 March 2016, of sepsis from a ruptured intestine, aged 69.

Patty Duke was cremated, and her ashes interred at Forest Cemetery, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho USA.

Martha Clifford

As an Author at Net Worth Post, I guide a dedicated team in the art of revealing the stories behind the world's most influential personalities. Fueled by a relentless curiosity and a knack for uncovering hidden stories, I immerse myself in the intricacies of our subjects' lives, weaving together accurate data and compelling narratives. My involvement spans the entire editorial process, from the seed of research to the final flourish of publication, ensuring that every article not only educates but also captivates and motivates our audience.

At Net Worth Post, we are committed to providing thorough investigations into the net worth and life achievements of innovators across diverse sectors such as technology, culture, and social entrepreneurship. My method merges meticulous research with eloquent storytelling, designed to bridge the gap between our readers and the remarkable individuals who redefine our tomorrow. Through spotlighting their journeys to success, the hurdles they've surmounted, and their contributions to society, we aim to give our readers a deep and inspiring insight into the luminaries who are paving the way for progress and ingenuity in the modern era.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Don't Miss