Donna Mills Dishes

8.20.2009

By Noah Michelson

Photo: Getty Images

Donna Mills is ageless. Actually, according to IMDB, she’s 69. But she’s had such good, tasteful surgery that she looks as young as when she first joined a struggling Knots Landing in its second season to stir up trouble on the famed cul-de-sac way back in 1980. (She also looks remarkably similar to Cheryl Ladd when she smiles -- though Cheryl wasn’t quite so canny with the surgery…)

When Mills showed up to a SAG Foundation Q&A in L.A. Tuesday looking stunning in a white summer dress and a fuchsia bolero jacket, she dished on shooting the classic thriller Play Misty For Me with Clint Eastwood, her recent Nip/Tuck role, and of course, her days as scheming Abby Cunningham on Knots.

Among the choice tidbits: she didn’t have to audition for Misty because Burt Reynolds suggested her personally to director Eastwood; she left Knots because she wanted to produce TV movies, didn’t have faith there was much steam left in the series, and thought the writers had run out of ideas for Abby; her character on Nip/Tuck, who had reconstructive surgery to look like a cat, was based on New York socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein.

The most interesting story had nothing to do with Hollywood, though. In the ’80s she was a big supporter of presidential hopeful Gary Hart, and when news broke that he was bedding beauty queen Donna Rice, the media heard whispers there was another woman in Hart’s life. And they liked the idea of there being two Donnas. So one day Mills found a strange man standing in her living room -- a reporter from the National Enquirer. Turns out her relationship with Hart was platonic. Leave it to the Enquirer to get its facts straight! These days, Mills is taking time to raise her 13-year-old daughter and work for environmental causes, partly because she says the only roles she’s offered are those of cougars, not well-rounded women with full lives. Looks like she played the cat woman on Nip/Tuck a little too well!

-- HARKER JONES

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