Monday, November 22, 2010

Donna Mills who played Abby Cunningham in the TV show Knots Landing

She was born in 1940 as Donna Miller in Chicago.  Her most famous role is that of Abby Cunningham in the TV nighttime soap "Knots Landing" which was a spin-off of the night time drama "Dallas" the drama surrounding a Texas oil family.


Donna Mills as Abby Cunningham in "Knots Landing"
Donna Mills as Abby Cunningham in "Knots Landing"




Donna Mills (Abby Cunningham) and Ted Shackleford (Gary Ewing) of "Knots Landing" a spin-off of "Dallas"

In 1966, Mills appeared on Broadway in Woody Allen's play, "Don't Drink the Water".  That same year she appear in the show "The Secret Storm".  She continued with a few guest appearances such as "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" (1967), "Lancer" (1970), and in 1971 she played the role of Tobie in the film "Play Misty for Me" with Clint Eastwood.




Donna Mills then

It was then in 1971 that she began playing the role of "Jane Miller" in "The Good Life" for 15 episodes until 1972.  She also had a couple of appearances on "The F.B.I." during that same period.  For the remainder of the 70s she played many minor roles in TV shows and movies such as "Night of Terror" (1972), "Banyon" (1973), "Gunsmoke" (2 episodes, 1973), "Live Again, Die Again" (1974), "Marcus Welby, M.D." (1974), "McMillan & Wife" (1974), "The Six Million Dollar Man" starring Lee Majors (1975), "Thriller" (3 episodes, 1973-75), "The Rookies" (1975), "Medical Center" (1975), "Police Story" (2 episodes, 1974-75), "Hawaii Five-O" (1975), "Cannon" (1975), "Barnaby Jones" (1975), "S.W.A.T." (3 episodes, 1975-76), "Police Woman" with Angie Dickinson (1976), "Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby" (1976), and "Quincy M.E." (1976).

In 1977 Donna appeared the TV movie "Fire!" starring Ernest Borgnine, followed by "Curse of the Black Widow", "The Hunted Lady", and "The Oregon Trail".  She rounded out the 70s with appearances in "Superdome" (1978), "The Love Boat"
starring Gavin MacLeod, Lauren Tewes, Bernie Kopell, Fred Grandy, Jill Whelan, and Ted Lange (3 episodes, 1977-78), "Fantasy Island" with Ricardo Montalban, Hervé Villechaize (1979), and "Young Maverick" (2 episodes, 1979-80).


A popular poster of Donna Mills

Donna Mills then

It was in 1980 that Donna Mills began appearing on "Knots Landing" for over 230 episodes as Abby Ewing at first, then Abby Cunningham.  She co-starred with Ted Shackleford, Joan Van Ark, Michele Lee, Kevin Dobson, William Devane, Nicollete Sheridan, and Julie HarrisShackleford and Van Ark also appeared in "Dallas" occasionally while visiting family back at the Southfork Ranch in Texas.

During "Knots Landing", Donna also appeared in other TV movies and shows such as "Waikiki" (1980), "Bare Essence" (1980), "Alice In Wonderland"
co-starring Natalie Gregory, Sheila Allen, Red Buttons, Sharee Gregory, Donald O'Connor, Scott Baio, Sherman Hemsley, Shelley Winters, Ernie F. Orsatti, Sammy Davis Jr., Charles Dougherty, Donald O'Connor, Robert Axelrod, Martha Raye, Telly Savalas, Roddy McDowall, Arte Johnson, Jayne Meadows, Sid Caesar, Ringo Starr, Steve Allen, Beau Bridges, Lloyd Bridges, Patrick Duffy, Ann Jillian, Harvey Korman, Steve Lawrence, Karl Malden, Ernest Borgnine, John Stamos, Sally Struthers, Jack Warden, and Jonathan Winters (1985), "Intimate Encounters" (1986), "Outback Bound" (1988), "Runaway Father" (1991), and "In My Daughter's Name" (1992).


Donna Mills in 2004

After "Knots Landing", Donna appeared in "My Name is Kate" (1994), "The John Larroquette Show" (2 episodes, 1993-94), "Dangerous Intentions" (1995), "High Society" (1995), and "The Stepford Husbands" (1996).  In 1997 she starred in the renuion mini-series "Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac" and she appeared in 4 episodes of "Melrose Place"
starring Thomas Calabro, Heather Locklear, Andrew Shue, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Jack Wagner, Josie Bissett, Doug Savant, and Laura Leighton.



She continued into the new millennium with "Rude Awakening" (2000), "A Very Cool Christmas" (2004), "Jane Doe: Yes, I Remember It Well" (2006), "Cold Case" (2007), "Ladies of the House" (2008), "Dirty Sexy Money" (2009), and in 2008 she reunited with "Knots Landing" co-star Joan Van Ark in an episode of "Nip/Tuck" and she appeared again in another episode in 2010.


Donna Mills in 2010




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