Michael Tell is an American rock promoter who is best known for his brief marriage to late actress Patty Duke in 1970. Their union lasted only 13 days and was annulled a year later, but it resulted in the birth of a son, Sean Astin, who would grow up to become a successful actor himself.
For years, there was speculation about who Sean’s biological father was, as Patty had relationships with three different men around the time of his conception: Michael Tell, actor John Astin, and writer Desi Arnaz Jr. In this article, we will explore how Michael Tell was eventually confirmed as Sean’s father and how their relationship evolved over time.
Patty Duke’s turbulent love life
Patty Duke was a child star who rose to fame for her Oscar-winning performance as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (1962). She also had her own sitcom, The Patty Duke Show (1963-1966), where she played identical cousins with different personalities.
However, behind her success, she struggled with bipolar disorder, which affected her personal and professional life. She later became an advocate for mental health awareness and wrote a memoir about her experiences.
Patty married four times in her life. Her first husband was director Harry Falk, who was 13 years older than her. They married in 1965 and divorced in 1969. Her second husband was Michael Tell, whom she married impulsively in June 1970, while she was in a manic state.
She had just found out that she was pregnant with Sean and wanted to give him a name. She barely knew Michael, who was subletting her apartment at the time. They separated after 13 days and annulled their marriage in 1971.
Her third husband was actor John Astin, whom she married in 1972. He adopted Sean as his son and gave him his surname. They also had another son together, Mackenzie Astin, who is also an actor.
They divorced in 1985. Her fourth and final husband was drill sergeant Michael Pearce, whom she married in 1986. They adopted a son, Kevin Pearce, who was born in 1988. They remained married until Patty’s death in 2016.
Sean Astin’s quest for his father
Sean Astin grew up believing that John Astin was his biological father, as he had raised him since he was a toddler. However, he also knew that Patty had dated Desi Arnaz Jr., the son of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, before she married Michael Tell.
Desi was initially thought to be Sean’s father, but he denied it. Patty later told Sean that Desi was indeed his father when he was 14, but he still felt a connection to John.
Sean decided to take a DNA test when he was 26 to find out the truth. He contacted Desi and asked for his cooperation. Desi agreed and sent him a swab of his cheek cells.
Sean also asked John for his DNA sample, but he refused, saying that he didn’t need a test to prove that he was his father. Sean respected his decision and proceeded with the test.
The result came back negative for Desi Arnaz Jr., meaning that he was not Sean’s father. Sean was shocked and confused by the outcome. He wondered if Patty had lied to him or if she had forgotten who she had slept with. He then remembered that there was another man in the picture: Michael Tell.
Michael Tell’s confirmation and reconciliation
Sean tracked down Michael Tell through the internet and contacted him by phone. He asked him if he would be willing to take a DNA test to see if he was his father. Michael agreed and sent him his sample. The result came back positive: Michael Tell was Sean’s biological father.
Sean was surprised but also relieved to finally know the truth. He felt a sense of closure and curiosity about his father. He invited Michael to meet him and his family in Los Angeles. Michael accepted and flew from New York to see his son for the first time in 26 years.
The meeting was emotional and awkward at first, but they soon bonded over their shared interests and hobbies. They discovered that they had a lot in common, such as their love for music, sports, and politics. They also looked alike, especially their eyes and smile.
Sean introduced Michael to his wife Christine and their three daughters: Alexandra, Elizabeth, and Isabella. He also introduced him to Patty, who apologized for keeping him away from his son for so long.
She explained that she had been confused and scared at the time of their marriage and pregnancy, and that she had wanted to protect Sean from the media scrutiny. She also thanked him for giving her a wonderful son. Michael forgave her and expressed his gratitude for her raising Sean well.
Michael and Sean kept in touch after their reunion and developed a close and loving relationship. They visited each other regularly and celebrated holidays and birthdays together.
They also supported each other’s careers and causes. Sean, who is best known for his roles in The Goonies (1985), The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003), and Stranger Things (2017), often invited Michael to his movie premieres and events. Michael, who is a rock promoter and journalist, often wrote about Sean’s projects and achievements.
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Michael also reconnected with his other son, David Tell, whom he had with his second wife. David is a musician and composer who lives in New York. He welcomed his half-brother Sean into his life and they became friends.
How long was Michael Tell married to Patty Duke?
Michael Tell was married to Patty Duke for 13 days, from June 26, 1970, to July 9, 1970. Their marriage was annulled in 1971.
Who is the father of Patty Duke’s son Sean?
The father of Patty Duke’s son Sean is Michael Tell, as confirmed by a DNA test in 1994.
Who did Patty Duke marry?
Patty Duke married four times: Harry Falk (1965-1969), Michael Tell (1970-1971), John Astin (1972-1985), and Michael Pearce (1986-2016).
Is Patty Duke still living?
No, Patty Duke died on March 29, 2016, at the age of 69, from sepsis caused by a ruptured intestine.
Is Michael Tell still alive?
Yes, Michael Tell is still alive as of September 2022. He is 75 years old.
What is the age of Michael Tell?
Michael Tell was born on November 11, 1946. He is 75 years old as of September 2022.
What is the net worth of Michael Tell?
The net worth of Michael Tell is not publicly known, but it is estimated to be in the range of $1 million to $5 million, according to some sources.