Duke as Patty Lane on The Patty Duke Show, 1965
Duke as Patty Lane on The Patty Duke Show, 1965

A touching floral tribute to an Oscar-winning actress came to a sad end Wednesday with news that a memorial wreath of flowers placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame star of Patty Duke was destroyed overnight by unknown vandals.

“It’s disrespectful,” Ana Martinez of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce told City News Service. “I don’t know why they did that.”

The flowers were placed on Duke’s star in front of the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel at noon Tuesday after news of the actress’ death broke. The floral wreaths honoring Walk of Fame honorees who have died are placed by the chamber on behalf of the Hollywood Historic Trust.

Martinez said she received an email around midnight from someone at the hotel informing her that someone had “trashed” the flowers, and the petals were strewn “all over the place.” She said she isn’t sure, but someone from the hotel may have eventually picked up the destroyed wreath and disposed of it.

Martinez said the memorial wreaths usually last a couple days, and while people sometimes pick individual flowers, the display generally remains intact.

But sometimes people will go to far. She said flowers that were placed on David Bowie’s star following his death disappeared entirely. Chamber officials have also started removing banners that are placed on the wreaths bearing the name of the deceased star, along with a signed card that accompanies the flowers, to prevent them from disappearing.

“We have to take those because they’ve been stealing those too,” Martinez said.

Some fans returned to Duke’s star Wednesday and adorned it with more flowers, along with a framed picture of the actress.

Martinez said there are no plans to discontinue to the tradition of placing flowers, despite the disappointment over Duke’s display.

“It’s something for the fans, too,” Martinez said. “They like taking pictures.”

She noted that a group of fans from France sends a floral arrangement every year to be placed on the star of Patrick Swayze, who died in 2009.

—City News Service

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