Donna Mills

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Donna Mills
Donna Mills 1990.jpg
Mills at the Los Angeles premiere of Air America on August 9, 1990
BornDonna Jean Miller
(1940-12-11) December 11, 1940 (age 73)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
EducationTaft High School
Alma materUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Years active1966–present
Home townChicago, Illinois
ChildrenChloe Mills (adopted)
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Donna Mills
Donna Mills 1990.jpg
Mills at the Los Angeles premiere of Air America on August 9, 1990
BornDonna Jean Miller
(1940-12-11) December 11, 1940 (age 73)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
EducationTaft High School
Alma materUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Years active1966–present
Home townChicago, Illinois
ChildrenChloe Mills (adopted)

Donna Mills (born December 11, 1940)[1] is an American actress and producer. She is best known for her nine-year tenure as Abby Cunningham on the primetime soap opera Knots Landing, and for her role as Clint Eastwood's girlfriend "Tobie" in the cult film Play Misty for Me.

Early life[edit]

Born as Donna Jean Miller in 1940 in Chicago, Illinois,[2] where she attended Garvey Elementary School and Taft High school. After being double-promoted at Garvey, she graduated from Taft at an early age. From there Mills attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she was a member of Delta Gamma sorority. She completed one year of course work, then left to pursue a dancing career, gaining some early stage experience in the late 1950s when she danced in summer stock productions. Her first professional acting role was in a production of Come Blow Your Horn at the Drury Lane Theater in Chicago. She later was cast in a touring production of My Fair Lady, which brought her to New York City.[3]


Mills in 1975

Mills began her acting career on television with a six-month stint on the CBS daytime soap opera The Secret Storm in 1966, playing the character of "Rocket." Following this, she made her film debut in The Incident (1967), co-starring alongside Martin Sheen, Beau Bridges, Ed McMahon, and Thelma Ritter. She appeared on Broadway in Woody Allen's comedy, Don't Drink the Water, as the Sultan of Bashir's wife.

In the fall of 1967, she gained a regular role as ex-nun Laura Donnelly on the soap Love is a Many Splendored Thing. She was a cast member for three years, until she left the series in 1970 and moved to California. In 1971, Mills co-starred in Play Misty for Me as Tobie, the girlfriend of David (played by Clint Eastwood), who is terrorized by a jilted psychotic with whom he had a one-night stand (played by Jessica Walter). An outdoor love scene with Eastwood, which ran for more than five minutes, contained the only on-screen nudity of Mills' career.[citation needed]

During 1971-72, she starred in the short-lived sitcom The Good Life with Larry Hagman who later guest-starred on Knots Landing as J. R. Ewing from the show's sister series Dallas.[3] Prior to signing up a contract for Universal Studios in 1972, she spent much of the 1970s appearing as a guest on top-rated television shows such as The Six Million Dollar Man, Hawaii Five-O, The Love Boat, CHiPs, The F.B.I., Quincy, M.E., the UK's Thriller series, Police Woman and Fantasy Island, as well as many made-for-TV movies.

In 1980 Mills landed her most prominent role — that of scheming, manipulative vixen Abby Cunningham on the long-running primetime soap opera Knots Landing, a role she played until 1989.[3] For this role, she won the Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Villainess on three occasions, in 1986, 1988 and 1989.[4] After leaving the series, Mills concentrated on television movies, four of which she co-produced: The World's Oldest Living Bridesmaid (1990), Runaway Father (1991), In My Daughter's Name (1992) and My Name Is Kate (1994).[3] She returned to Knots Landing for its final episode in 1993, and again for the reunion miniseries Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac in 1997. In between she had a brief recurring guest role as Jane Mancini (played by Josie Bissett)'s mother on Melrose Place.[3]

She continued to appear on television in TV movies and guest roles. In 2005 she reunited with the Knots Landing cast for the non-fiction special, Knots Landing Reunion: Together Again, in which the stars reminisced about the show. In more recent years, Mills has appeared in various television movies such as Love Is A Four Letter Word in 2007, and Ladies of the House in 2008, as well as guest appearances in series such as Cold Case (as a woman who seduces her grandson) and Nip/Tuck (guest-starring with fellow Knots Landing star Joan Van Ark). In 2012, she made a guest appearance on GCB as Bitsy Lourd[5][6] and also appeared as a guest judge on the reality series RuPaul's Drag U.

Donna Mills with her daughter Chloe in 2009

Outside of acting Mills released The Eyes Have It in 1986, an instructional video for achieving several different make-up looks. She went on to release her own line of cosmetics of the same name.[7]

Mills appeared in cover-featured (non nude) pictorials for the October 1987[8] and November 1989 editions of Playboy.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Mills has never married, but has one daughter, Chloe, whom she adopted in late 1994 when Chloe was four days old.


Film and Television
1966The Secret StormRocket
1967The IncidentAlice Keenan
1967-1970Love Is a Many Splendored ThingLaura Donnelly ElliottSeries regular
1970Love, American StyleEllie1 episode
1971Play Misty for MeTobie
1971-1972The Good LifeJane MillerSeries regular, 15 episodes
1972Haunts of the Very RichLaurie
Rolling ManBebe Lotter
Night of TerrorLinda Daniel
1973GunsmokeCora Sanderson2 episodes
1973The BaitTracy Fleming
1974Live Again, Die AgainCaroline Carmichael
Marcus Welby, M.D.Bea Averton1 episode
McMillan & WifeLaura Rainey1 episode
1975The Six Million Dollar ManLiza Leitman1 episode
Who Is the Black Dahlia?Susan Winters
Murph the SurfGinny Eaton
Hawaii Five-OMarcia Bissell1 episode
Beyond the Bermuda TriangleClaudia
1976Police WomanTamee Swanson1 episode
Quincy, M.E.Roberta Rhodes1 episode
Look What's Happened to Rosemary's BabyEllen
Smash-Up on Interstate 5Laureen
Fire!Harriett Malone
Curse of the Black WidowLeigh Lockwood
The Hunted LadySusan Reilly
1978SuperdomeLainie Wiley
Doctors' Private LivesDr. Beth Demery
The Love BoatJeannie Carter3 episodes
1979Hanging by a ThreadEllen Craig
Fantasy IslandCindy Carter1 episode
Young MaverickLila Gates2 episodes
1980WaikikiCassie Howard
1982Bare EssenceBarbara Fisher
1984He's Not Your SonKathy Saunders
1985Alice in WonderlandThe Rose
1986Intimate EncountersJulie Atkins
1988Outback BoundSamantha 'Sam' Hollings
1989The Lady ForgetsRebecca Simms/Julie Black
1990The World's Oldest Living BridesmaidBrenda Morgan
1991Runaway FatherPat Bennett
False ArrestJoyce Lukezic
1992In My Daughter's NameLaura Elias
The President's ChildElizabeth Hemming
1980-1989, 1993Knots LandingAbby Fairgate Cunningham Ewing SumnerSeries regular, 236 episodes
1993RememberNicky Wells
1994My Name Is KateKate
1995Dangerous IntentionsBeth Williamson
An Element of TruthVanessa Graves
1996The Stepford HusbandsJodi Davison
1996-1997Melrose PlaceSherry Doucette4 episodes
1997Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-SacAbby Fairgate Cunningham Ewing SumnerTV miniseries
1998Moonlight Becomes YouMaggie Holloway
2004A Very Cool ChristmasMrs. Claus
2006Jane Doe: Yes, I Remember It WellPolly Jameson
2007Cold CaseLauren Williams1 episode
Love Is a Four Letter WordMargot Harper
2008Ladies of the HouseElizabeth
2009Dirty Sexy Moneycameo1 episode
2008-2010Nip/TuckLulu Grandiron2 episodes
2012GCBBitsy Lourd1 episode
2014Deadly RevengeEvelyn
2014When Life Keeps Getting In The WayDr. Goldstein


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