Donna Mills was born and raised in Chicago. Her father was an oil executive and her mother was a dance instructor. Donna studied ballet throughout her teens. After spending a year studying drama at the University of Illinois, she made her way to New York, where she landed an understudy role in Woody Allen’s play, “Don’t Drink the Water”. Her first television role was on the daytime soap opera The Secret Storm (1954) in 1966. The next year, she made her film debut in the hard-hitting drama The Incident (1967). In 1971, she co-starred in the popular thriller Play Misty for Me (1971). Donna made guest appearances on top-rated series throughout the seventies and carved a niche for herself in made-for-TV movies. In 1980, she joined the cast of the primetime soap Knots Landing (1979) as wicked Abby Fairgate Cunningham Ewing Sumner. After a successful nine-year tenure, Donna left the show to pursue other projects. 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). More recently, she’s had a recurring role on General Hospital (1963) and appeared in the feature film Joy (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). Never married, she adopted a daughter, Chloe, in 1995. She lives in Beverly Hills with her longtime boyfriend, Larry Gilman.
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