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Hayley Mills (born 18 April 1946) is an English actress. The daughter of John Mills and Mary Hayley Bell, and sister of actress Juliet Mills, Mills began her acting career as a child and was hailed as a promising newcomer, winning the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer for Tiger Bay (1959), the Academy Juvenile Award for Pollyanna (1960) and Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress in 1961. During her early career, she appeared in several films for Walt Disney.

During the late 1960s she began performing in theatrical plays, and played in more mature roles. Although she was not able to duplicate the success she achieved as a juvenile performer, Mills has continued to act sporadically.

Early life and career

Mills was born "Hayley Catherine Rose Vivian Mary Mills" in Londonmarker, Englandmarker, the younger daughter of actor Sir John Mills and playwright Mary Hayley Bell. She is also the younger sister of actress Juliet Mills and the cousin of Susie Blake, who played Bev Unwin in the long running ITV soap Coronation Streetmarker.

Mills was 12 when she was discovered by J. Lee Thompson, who was initially looking for a boy to play the lead role in Tiger Bay. Walt Disney's wife, Lillian Disney, saw her performance and suggested that Mills be given the lead role in Pollyanna. The role of the "glad girl" who moves in with her aunt catapulted Mills to super-stardom in the United Statesmarker and earned her a special Academy Award.

Disney subsequently cast Mills as twins Sharon and Susan who reunite their divorced parents in The Parent Trap. In the film, Mills sings the hit song "Let's Get Together." She made four additional films for Disney in a four-year span, including In Search of the Castaways, and Summer Magic. The advent of the British Invasion in popular music in 1964, courtesy of The Beatles, allowed the maturing Mills to maintain her popularity. Her final two Disney films, The Moon-Spinners and That Darn Cat!, did very well at the box office, aided by a well-publicized meeting between Mills and Beatle George Harrison in March 1964.

During her six-year run at Disney, Mills was arguably the most popular child actress of the era. Critics noted that America's favourite child star was, in fact, quite British and very lady-like. The success of "Let's Get Together" (which hit No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart) also led to the release of a record album on Disney's Buena Vista label, Let's Get Together with Hayley Mills, which also included her only other hit song, "Johnny Jingo" (Billboard No. 21, 1962).

In addition to her Disney movies, Mills took the lead in several other films, notably Whistle Down the Wind (based on the book of the same title written by her mother, Mary Hayley Bell), The Truth About Spring (with her real father, John Mills, cast as her father and James MacArthur as the love interest), and The Chalk Garden.

Mills was considered for the role of Lolita Haze in Stanley Kubrick's 1962 film version of Lolita. However, Walt Disney discouraged the casting, feeling the role was not up to Disney's wholesome standard, and the part eventually went to Sue Lyon.

Post-Disney film career

After her contract with Disney expired in 1965, Mills starred in the enduring comedy The Trouble with Angels, opposite screen veteran Rosalind Russell. Looking to break from her girl-next-door image, Mills went home to England to appear as a mentally challenged teenager in the film Sky West and Crooked, which was directed by her father and written by her mother. Shortly thereafter, Mills was persuaded by her father and director Roy Boulting to star in The Family Way, a comedy about a couple having difficulty consummating their marriage, featuring a score by Paul McCartney.After her appearance in The Kingfisher Caper in 1975, Mills dropped out of the film industry for several years.

Television resurgence and reception

In 1981, Mills returned to acting with a starring role in the UK television mini-series The Flame Trees of Thika, based on Elspeth Huxley's memoir of her childhood in East Africa. The series was well received, prompting Mills to accept more acting roles. She then returned to America, and made several appearances on the The Love Boat.

Always welcomed at Disney, Mills narrated an episode of The Wonderful World of Disney, sparking renewed interest in her Disney work. In 1986, she reprised her roles as twins Sharon and Susan for a trio of Parent Trap television movies: The Parent Trap II, The Parent Trap III, and The Parent Trap IV: Hawaiian Honeymoon. Mills also starred as the title character in the Disney Channel-produced television series Good Morning, Miss Bliss in 1987. The show was cancelled after 13 episodes, and the rights were acquired by NBC, who reformatted Good Morning, Miss Bliss into Saved by the Bell. In recognition for her work with The Walt Disney Company, Mills was awarded the prestigious Disney Legends award in 1998.

In 2007, Mills began appearing (alongside her sister Juliet) as Caroline in the ITV1 African vet drama, Wild at Heart. Critics have noted that though "Mills has continued to work in film, television, and on stage, her grown-up performances, while competent, lack the spunk and sparkle she exhibited as a young woman".

Stage career

Mills made her stage debut in a 1966 West End revival of Peter Pan. In 2000, she made her Off Broadway debut in Sir Noel Coward's Suite in Two Keys, opposite American actress Judith Ivey, for which she won a Theatre World Award. In 1991 she then appeared as Anna Leonowens in the Australian production of The King and I.

Personal life

While filming The Family Way, a 20-year-old Mills met 53-year-old director Roy Boulting. The two married in 1971, and owned an apartment in London's Kensingtonmarker. They then went on to purchase Cobstone Windmillmarker in Ibstonemarker, Buckinghamshire. The couple divorced in 1977. They had one child, Crispian Mills, who became famous in the 1990s as the lead singer and guitarist for the psychedelic rock band Kula Shaker.

Mills later had a second son, Jason Lawson, during a relationship with British actor Leigh Lawson.

Mills has had involvement with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (the "Hare Krishna" movement). She composed the preface to the book The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking, published in 1984.

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1947 So Well Remembered Infant Uncredited
1959 Tiger Bay Gillie
1960 Pollyanna Pollyanna Whittier Academy Juvenile Award
1961 The Parent Trap Sharon McKendrick/Susan Evers
Whistle Down the Wind Kathy Bostock
1962 In Search of the Castaways Mary Grant
1963 Summer Magic Nancy Carey nominated a Golden Globe
1964 The Truth About Spring Spring Tyler
The Chalk Garden Laurel
The Moon-Spinners Nikky Ferris
1965 That Darn Cat! Patricia "Patti" Randall
1966 Sky West and Crooked Brydie White U.S. title: Gypsy Girl
The Trouble with Angels Mary Clancy
The Daydreamer The Little Mermaid Voice
The Family Way Jenny Fitton
1967 Africa - Texas Style! Blonde girl at airport Uncredited
Pretty Polly Polly Barlow U.S. title: A Matter of Innocence
1968 Twisted Nerve Susan Harper
1970 Take a Girl Like You Jenny Bunn
1971 Mr. Forbush and the Penguins Tara St. John Luke U.S. title: Cry of the Penguins
1972 Endless Night Fenella "Ellie" Thomsen
1974 What Changed Charley Farthing Jenny U.S. title: The Bananas Boat
Deadly Strangers Belle Adams
1975 The Kingfisher Caper Tracy
1979 The Love Boat (TV series) Lila Stanhope
1981 The Flame Trees of Thika (TV mini-series) Tilly Grant
1986 The Parent Trap II (TV movie) Sharon Ferris/Susan Corey
1987 Good Morning, Miss Bliss (TV series) Miss Carrie Bliss Series reformatted into Saved by the Bell.
1988 Appointment with Death Miss Quinton
1989 The Parent Trap III (TV movie) Susan/Sharon Grand
The Parent Trap: Hawaiian Honeymoon (TV movie) Susan Wyatt/Sharon Evers
1990 After Midnight Sally Ryan
1994 A Troll in Central Park Hilary Voice
2004 2BPerfectlyHonest Terri
2005 Stricken Hildy
2007 Wild at Heart (TV series) Caroline


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