Donna Mills Leads The 'Queens Of Drama'

Donna Mills leads a group of soap actresses in the new reality show, ‘Queens Of Drama.' on this week's show, Donna introduces the group to a long-time friend who's also a soap legend.

Fun facts about Donna Mills (Source: Wikipedia)

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 co-starred in the popular thriller Play Misty for Me, with Clint Eastwood and Jessica Walter.

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, she 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. Mills portrayed Abby from 1980–1989. Prior to being cast in Knots Landing, Mills was primarily known for playing the "damsel in distress" archetype in both film and television media. The actress became somewhat famous for playing these roles, often leading to unwanted typecasting. In an interview with Jerry Buck for the Toledo Blade, Mills said: "I got tired of playing the victim. It's a more active role. Abby keeps things stirred up, and I like that." According to Jacobs, Abby was not planned when the show began. He knew that he wanted a female J.R. Ewing-esque character. However, he had a different sense of the character and who would wind up in the role. With Mills' reputation of playing the victim, he initially didn't choose her for the part.

Josh Mapes of The Biography Channel listed her in the category "10 Primetime Stars We Love to Hate". He said, "Any great soap opera needs a great villain. While viewers may identify more with the protagonist, the villains in a serial drama always spice things up, cause trouble, and make it more fun to watch. From tongue lashings to catfights, underhanded tricks to boldface lies, the characters we love to hate have each brought a fair share of great moments to primetime soaps. While Larry Hagman played the bad guy on Dallas, Donna Mills played bad girl on its spin-off, Knots Landing. Unapologetically going after what she wanted, Mills' character engaged in affairs with two of the husbands on the Knots Landing cul-de-sac. But, like most vixens on primetime soaps, she was only out for money, not love."

In 1989, Mills announced her intention to leave the long-running nighttime soap after nine years as Abby. According to Mills, she wanted to take a break from acting for a while, and from Abby as well.

In an interview with The Cedartown Standard, Mills explained: "I'm tired of the show. It's been too long. I'm not particularly happy with the way they've been writing Abby lately. She's too soft. I'd like Abby to get back to her old self." For this role, she won the Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Villainess on three occasions, in 1986, 1988 and 1989.

1990-present[edit]After Knots Landing, 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 Jane Mancini (played by 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 a woman who seduces her grandson) and Nip/Tuck (guest-starring with fellow Knots Landing starJoan Van Ark). In 2012, she made a guest appearance on GCB as Bitsy Lourd and appeared as a guest judge on the reality series RuPaul's Drag U.

In 2014, Mills made her return to daytime soap operas, for the first time since 1970. She was cast in a major recurring guest starring role in the ABC soap opera General Hospital. She debuted in mid March and recurred to May. Later in that year, she returned for another multiple episodes-arc. At the 42nd Daytime Emmy Awards, Mills won Outstanding Special Guest Performer in a Drama Series for her performance in General Hospital, in a three-way tie with Fred Willard and Ray Wise.

On October 7, 2014, it was announced that Mills will star in the POP reality series Queens of Drama about a group of former stars who now produce a new primetime serial drama to star in. The ladies will be required to work together in front of and behind the cameras as they develop, pitch, and produce their steamy series with the hopes of landing a pilot deal by the end of the season.

In April, 2015, Mills revealed that she was cast in the David O. Russell film Joy, due for release in December 2015.

‘Queens Of Drama' airs Wednesday night at 8:00pm on ‘Pop' which is the new name of the old TV Guide Network.

Follow Donna Mills on Twitter: @TheDonnaMills

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