Who is Hayley Mills?
Hayley Mills is an award winning English actress best known for her role in Disney's ‘Pollyanna.’ Born in Marylebone, London, she is the daughter of the well-known English actor Sir John Mills and his wife Mary Hayley Bell, an actress and writer. She made her film debut at the age of thirteen in the British crime drama 'Tiger Bay' which starred her father in a lead role. Her performance was quite appreciated and it earned her the leading role in the Walt Disney film 'Polyanna'. Her role in the film won her the Academy Juvenile Award. Over the years, she also earned appreciation for her brilliant performances in theatrical plays and became known for her movies, such as 'The Parent Trap', 'Endless Night' and 'Appointment with Death'. Despite being born a Christian, Mills is involved with 'International Society for Krishna Consciousness' (ISKCON), a popular Hindu religious organization that is known worldwide for their spreading of bhakti yoga. Though she is a pescaterian, she promotes vegetarianism and wrote the preface for the book 'The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking'. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 62. She managed to beat it, for which she credits the alternative treatments that she had tried.
Childhood & Early Life
Hayley Catherine Rose Vivien Mills was born on 18th April 1946 in Marylebone, London, UK. Her parents were Sir John Mills and Mary Hayley Bell, both renowned British actors. She has two siblings, a sister Juliet Mills who went on to become a successful actress, and a brother Jonathan Mills who became a film director.
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Hayley Mills was only twelve when she was discovered by the British film director J. Lee Thompson. She was then cast in the 1959 British crime drama 'Tiger Bay' which also starred her father playing the lead role.
Her performance was loved by Bill Anderson, who was one of Walt Disney's producers. He helped her gain the lead role in the 1960 Walt Disney film 'Polyanna'. Her extraordinary performance in the film not only made her a star within a short time, but also won her the Juvenile Oscar.
She next appeared in the 1961 Walt Disney film 'The Parent Trap'. She portrayed two twins trying to reunite their divorced parents. Over the years she did four more films for Disney: 'In Search of the Castaways', 'Summer Magic', 'The Moon-Spinners', and 'That Darn Cat!'
Her work with Disney made her the most popular child actress of that time. Her song 'Let's Get Together' which she sang for the film 'The Parent Trap' also did well. It peaked at eighth position on the Billboard Hot 100.
Other than the Disney films, she also appeared in 'Whistle Down the Wind' (1961) and 'The Truth About Spring' (1965). In 1966, she played a main role in the comedy film ‘The Trouble with Angels’. She also earned acclaim for her role in the comedy film ‘The Family Way’, in which he starred along with her father.
The following year, she appeared in the film ‘Pretty Polly’, where she starred opposite famous Indian actor Shashi Kapoor. She next appeared in the psychological thriller ‘Twisted Nerve’ playing the lead role.
After her appearance in the 1975 film ‘The Kingfisher Caper’, in which she played the lead role, she took a break from her film career for a while.
In 1981, she started appearing in the TV series ‘The Flame Trees of Thika’, playing the lead role. Over the years, she appeared in several TV programs and shows. She played a supporting role in the 1988 British film ‘Appointment with Death’.
Though she made very few onscreen appearances over the next two decades, she played a supporting role in the 2011 British comedy film ‘Foster’. She was also seen in the TV series ‘Wild at Heart’, in which he played a supporting role. The show aired from 2007 to 2012. Her latest television appearance was in an episode of the British TV series ‘Moving On’.
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’Polyanna’, a Walt Disney film which was released in 1960, starred Hayley Mills in one of the lead roles. The film was directed by David Swift. Other actors in the film included Jane Wyman, Karl Malden, Richard Egan and Adolphe Menjou. Mills’ role of an orphan girl received a lot of appreciation and won her the Juvenile Oscar.
Mills played dual roles in the 1961 film ‘The Parent Trap’. Directed by David Swift, the film also included actors Brian Keith, Maureen O’Hara and Joanna Barnes and Charlie Ruggles. The story focused on twins who were trying to get their parents back together again. The film was nominated for two Oscars.
She played the lead role in the 1961 film ‘Whistle Down the Wind’, which can be regarded as another one of her important works. Directed by Bryan Forbes, the film is based on a novel of the same name which was written by Mills’ mother Mary Hayley Bell. The film received positive reviews from critics.
Awards & Achievements
Hayley Mills won two awards for her role in ‘Tiger Bay’: a Berlin International Film Festival Award and a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Film in 1959.
For her role in the film ‘Polyanna’, she won the Juvenile Oscar as well as a Golden Globe Award and a Laurel Award.
Personal Life & Legacy
Hayley Mills married director Roy Boulting in 1971. Their son Crispian Mills is a renowned singer. The couple divorced after six years.
Later, she was in a relationship with British actor Leigh Lawson. She had her second son Jason Lawson with him.
Since 1997, she has been in a relationship with Firdous Bamji, who is an actor and writer.
Though she was born a Christian, she has been involved with ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) from the past several years. Also known as “The Hare Krisha Movement,” it is a very popular Hindu religious organization. Though she doesn’t consider herself a part of the organization, she said that she has received a lot of spiritual guidance from it.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 which she survived with the help of alternative treatments.