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Donna Mills

Donna Mills

actress, producer

Born 11 December 1940 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Blonde, buoyant Donna Mills began acting in local amateur and professional productions in her home town of Chicago. Donna made her Broadway bow as a harem girl in Woody Allen's play "Don't Drink the Water," then played recurring roles on the Manhattan-based TV soap operas The Secret Storm (1954) and Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (1967). Her first film was The Incident (1967), a hard-hitting drama which co-starred fellow up-and-comers Martin Sheen and Beau Bridges. After playing Clint Eastwood's imperiled girlfriend in the cult thriller Play Misty for Me (1971), Mills guest-starred on numerous top-rated series and carved a niche for herself in made-for-TV movies, usually typecast as a damsel in distress. Donna forever altered her on-screen image from trembling helplessness to calculating truculence in the role of Abby Cunningham Ewing, second wife of Dallas (1978) "black sheep" Gary Ewing (Ted Shackelford), in the nighttime serial Knots Landing (1979); coincidentally, Mills had co-starred with J. R. Ewing himself (aka Larry Hagman) on the short-lived sitcom The Good Life (1971). She won the Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Villainess in 1986, '88 and '89. After nine years as Abby, Mills decided to leave the long-running hit in pursuit of other opportunities. She continued to headline a range of television films, several of which she produced, often highlighting important social issues. These including Outback Bound (1988), The World's Oldest Living Bridesmaid (1990), Runaway Father (1991), In My Daughter's Name (1992) and My Name Is Kate (1994). Mills returned to Knots Landing for its final episode in 1993, and again for the reunion miniseries Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac (1997). In between she had a brief recurring guest role as Jane Mancini (Josie Bissett)'s mother on Melrose Place (1992). In 2014, Donna joined ABC's General Hospital (1963) as yet another wealthy troublemaker, Madeline Reeves. For this role, she won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series. Donna has since appeared in the feature film Joy (2015) and starred in the reality show Queens of Drama (2015). Donna has long been a supporter of various political and human rights causes, including Easter Seals, Women in Film, and ECO (Earth Communications Office). Unmarried, she adopted a daughter, Chloe, in 1994. She lives in Beverly Hills with her longtime boyfriend, Larry Gilman. She was previously in a long-term relationship with Richard Holland.

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Filmography

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