Signed on as a Warner Brothers starlet, bouncy, blonde-coiffed Diane McBain would develop a burgeoning career as lively 60s “bad girl” and “spoiled rich girl” types on film and TV. Born in Cleveland, Ohio on May 18, 1941, the family moved to California while still young and she started things off as a “sweet 16” model in print and commercial ads. Eventually TV got more than just a glimpse of this diverting beauty after a WB talent agent spotted her in a Los Angeles play and signed her on during her senior year at Glendale High School.
After busily apprenticing on various TV projects, Diane made her first big splash in 1960 (age 19) with a prominent role in Ice Palace (1960) co-starring Richard Burton, Carolyn Jones and Martha Hyer. Brimming with style and confidence, Diane was quickly ushered into other films as Warner’s answer to Carroll Baker, winning parts in two consecutive soapers. The first was Parrish (1961) with beef-cake film star Troy Donahue and screen legend Claudette Colbert; the other was the title role in Claudelle Inglish (1961) opposite up-and-comers Chad Everett and Robert Logan. Neither the tawdry scripts nor the box office receipts were anything to write home about unfortunately, and her leading lady career in films started to flounder with such fodder as The Caretakers (1963) with Joan Crawford, A Distant Trumpet (1964), yet again with Donahue, and Spinout (1966). The last was one of Elvis Presley’ later vehicles that signified an inevitable fadeout was on the horizon. Significantly better was her dizzy good time girl and socialite “Daphne Dutton” on the hip Warner Bros. series Surfside 6 (1960) alongside Van Williams (later TV’s “Green Hornet”) and Donohue. The show ran for two seasons.
Diane proved popular with the teen set with her devilish débutantes and snobby sophisticates, even accompanying Bob Hope on one of his USO tours of South Vietnam in 1966/67. On the cult series Batman (1966), she played “Pinky Pinkston” (with pink hair, pink outfits and a pink dog). By the late 1960s, however, her career began drifting into exploitation with terrible titles like I Sailed to Tahiti with an All Girl Crew (1968), Maryjane (1968) and The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968) (miscast as a biker chick) representative of what she was being handed.
Diane instead laid low and focused on her child, Evan, more or less splitting from the Hollywood scene. A few plays (Amanda in “The Glass Menagerie”) and lowbudget films came her way, and in the 80s she was seen a bit more on daytime soaps. The still young-looking and ever-elegant Diane was out and about in the 90s as well, playing good-looking grandmas on such shows as Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996). The victim of a rape attack in 1982, Diane chose to rise above her traumatic circumstances and help others as a rape counselor.
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