Mills at the Los Angeles premiere of Air America on August 9, 1990
|Born||Donna Jean Miller
December 11, 1940
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Residence||Los Angeles, California|
|Education||Taft High School|
|Alma mater||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|Home town||Chicago, Illinois|
|Children||Chloe Mills (adopted)|
Donna Mills (born December 11, 1940) 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.
Born as Donna Jean Miller in 1940 in Chicago, Illinois, 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.
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.
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. 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. For this role, she won the Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Villainess on three occasions, in 1986, 1988 and 1989. 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). 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.
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 and also appeared as a guest judge on the reality series RuPaul's Drag U.
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.
Mills has never married, but has one daughter, Chloe, whom she adopted in late 1994 when Chloe was four days old.
|1966||The Secret Storm||Rocket|
|1967||The Incident||Alice Keenan|
|1967-1970||Love Is a Many Splendored Thing||Laura Donnelly Elliott||Series regular|
|1970||Love, American Style||Ellie||1 episode|
|1971||Play Misty for Me||Tobie|
|1971-1972||The Good Life||Jane Miller||Series regular, 15 episodes|
|1972||Haunts of the Very Rich||Laurie|
|Rolling Man||Bebe Lotter|
|Night of Terror||Linda Daniel|
|1973||Gunsmoke||Cora Sanderson||2 episodes|
|1973||The Bait||Tracy Fleming|
|1974||Live Again, Die Again||Caroline Carmichael|
|Marcus Welby, M.D.||Bea Averton||1 episode|
|McMillan & Wife||Laura Rainey||1 episode|
|1975||The Six Million Dollar Man||Liza Leitman||1 episode|
|Who Is the Black Dahlia?||Susan Winters|
|Murph the Surf||Ginny Eaton|
|Hawaii Five-O||Marcia Bissell||1 episode|
|Beyond the Bermuda Triangle||Claudia|
|1976||Police Woman||Tamee Swanson||1 episode|
|Quincy, M.E.||Roberta Rhodes||1 episode|
|Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby||Ellen|
|Smash-Up on Interstate 5||Laureen|
|Curse of the Black Widow||Leigh Lockwood|
|The Hunted Lady||Susan Reilly|
|Doctors' Private Lives||Dr. Beth Demery|
|The Love Boat||Jeannie Carter||3 episodes|
|1979||Hanging by a Thread||Ellen Craig|
|Fantasy Island||Cindy Carter||1 episode|
|Young Maverick||Lila Gates||2 episodes|
|1982||Bare Essence||Barbara Fisher|
|1984||He's Not Your Son||Kathy Saunders|
|1985||Alice in Wonderland||The Rose|
|1986||Intimate Encounters||Julie Atkins|
|1988||Outback Bound||Samantha 'Sam' Hollings|
|1989||The Lady Forgets||Rebecca Simms/Julie Black|
|1990||The World's Oldest Living Bridesmaid||Brenda Morgan|
|1991||Runaway Father||Pat Bennett|
|False Arrest||Joyce Lukezic|
|1992||In My Daughter's Name||Laura Elias|
|The President's Child||Elizabeth Hemming|
|1980-1989, 1993||Knots Landing||Abby Fairgate Cunningham Ewing Sumner||Series regular, 236 episodes|
|1994||My Name Is Kate||Kate|
|1995||Dangerous Intentions||Beth Williamson|
|An Element of Truth||Vanessa Graves|
|1996||The Stepford Husbands||Jodi Davison|
|1996-1997||Melrose Place||Sherry Doucette||4 episodes|
|1997||Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac||Abby Fairgate Cunningham Ewing Sumner||TV miniseries|
|1998||Moonlight Becomes You||Maggie Holloway|
|2004||A Very Cool Christmas||Mrs. Claus|
|2006||Jane Doe: Yes, I Remember It Well||Polly Jameson|
|2007||Cold Case||Lauren Williams||1 episode|
|Love Is a Four Letter Word||Margot Harper|
|2008||Ladies of the House||Elizabeth|
|2009||Dirty Sexy Money||cameo||1 episode|
|2008-2010||Nip/Tuck||Lulu Grandiron||2 episodes|
|2012||GCB||Bitsy Lourd||1 episode|
|2014||When Life Keeps Getting In The Way||Dr. Goldstein|
- Varying sources have cited 1942 or 1943 as her year of birth, however The Huffington Post and her entry on Intelius (under her real name, Donna Jean Miller) establish the year as 1940
- "Donna Mills profile at FilmReference.com". Retrieved 2011-12-13.
- Donna Mills biography at movies.yahoo.com
- Outstanding Villainess awards
- GCB Review: Stand Your Ground
- "Donna Mills, Former 'Knots Landing' Star, Looks Amazing At 71" (PHOTOS)
- Celebrity Net Worth.com
- "Playboy, October 1987 vol.34, no.10". Vintage Playboy Mags.
- "Playboy Cover November 1989 (United States)". Playboy Cover Archive. 2010-01-05.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Donna Mills.|
- Donna Mills at the Internet Movie Database
- Donna Mills at AllRovi
- Donna Mills at the Internet Broadway Database