Before They Were Stars: 10-Year Old Sean Astin in “Please Don’t Hit Me, Mom”

Sadly, legendary Academy Award-winning actress Patty Duke passed away yesterday at the age of 69, so I thought it might be an appropriate time to showcase her acting alongside her equally famous son, Sean Astin, in his screen debut. In 1981, 10-year old Sean and his mother starred in a made-for-TV movie called Please Don’t Hit Me, Mom. As you probably guessed, Patty plays a mother who is physically abusive towards her son and I can’t imagine how strange that must have been for Sean to play a fictional character who’s abused by another fictional character played by his real-life mother. The role seems particularly poignant since Patty was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder only one year after this movie came out, but she certainly was a courageous woman who was not afraid to be open about her mental illness.

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