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Donna Mills
Donna-Mills-01
Series Knots Landing
Character Abby Cunningham
Full Name Donna Jean Miller
Date of Birth December 11, 1940
Birthplace Los Angeles, California
First
appearance
Last
appearance
Donna Mills 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 lifeEdit

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 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.

CareerEdit

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 starred in the hit thriller, Play Misty for Me as Tobie, the girlfriend of David (Clint Eastwood), who is terrorized by a jilted psychotic with whom he had a one-night stand (Jessica Walter). An outdoor love scene with Eastwood running over 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 (much like her future Knots Landing co-stars Joan Van Ark and Kevin Dobson did at the same time), Mills 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. 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 Josie Bissett's mother on Melrose Place. Mills 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 (in a provocative role as an attractive older woman who seduces her grandson) and Nip/Tuck (in which she guest-starred with fellow Knots Landing star Joan Van Ark). In 2012 she made a guest appearance on the comedy-drama series 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 appeared in cover-featured (non nude) pictorials for the October 1987 and November 1989 editions of Playboy.

Personal lifeEdit

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

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