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Donna Mills

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Basic Information

Donna Mills

Date of Birth: 11 December 1940
Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birth Name: Donna Jean Miller
Height: 5' 4" (1.63 m)


Donna Mills (born December 11, 1940) is an American actress, most well known for her role as Abby Cunningham on the primetime soap opera Knots Landing.

Early years

Born as Donna Jean Miller in Chicago, Illinois, 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 and left to pursue an acting career. She gained some early stage experience in the late 1950s.


Mills began her acting career on television with a guest role on the CBS daytime soap opera The Secret Storm in 1966. Following this she gained a regular role as ex-nun Laura Donnelly on the soap Love is a Many Splendored Thing, which she played from 1967 to 1970. Mills appeared on Broadway in Woody Allen's comedy, Don't Drink the Water, as the Sultan of Bashir's wife.

In 1971, Mills co-starred with Clint Eastwood in the thriller Play Misty For Me, which has remained her most prominent movie role to date. 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 television shows such as The Six Million Dollar Man, Hawaii Five-O, The Love Boat, CHiPs, The Oregon Trail, Quincy, M.E., Thriller, Police Woman, and Fantasy Island, as well as several made-for-TV movies.

In 1980, she landed her most prominent role — that of scheming, manipulative Abby Cunningham on the long-running primetime soap opera Knots Landing, a role she played until 1989. After leaving the series, Mills concentrated on TV movies, several of which she co-produced. She returned to Knots Landing for its final episode in 1993, and again for the reunion mini-series 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 the popular 1990s soap opera Melrose Place. In more recent years, Mills has continued to make TV movies as well as guest appearances in series such as Cold Case and Nip/Tuck (in which she guest-starred with fellow Knots Landing star Joan Van Ark).

In 2005, she reunited with the Knots Landing cast for the reunion, Knots Landing: Together Again, in which the stars reminisced about the show.

Outside of acting, in 1986 Mills released "The Eyes Have It", 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 a cover-featured (non-nude) pictorial for the November 1989 edition of Playboy Magazine.

Personal life

Mills has never married. She has one adopted daughter, Chloe (born 1995). She currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Partial filmography

  • Play Misty For Me (1971)
  • Haunts of the Very Rich (1972)
  • The Bait (1973)
  • Live Again, Die Again (1974)
  • Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby (1976)
  • Curse of the Black Widow (1977)
  • Bare Essence (1982)
  • Alice in Wonderland (1985)
  • In My Daughter's Name (1992)
  • The Stepford Husbands (1996)
  • An Element of Truth (1997)
  • Ladies of the House (2008)


  • Adopted daughter Chloe [1995]
  • In a long-time relationship with Richard Holland.
  • Devoted member of Eco, an environmental group
  • Diagnosed with Arthritis. Spokeswoman for B.E.A.T., an arthritis awareness group [2000]
  • Measurements: 33-23-34 (filming "Knots Landing" (1979)), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)