Hayley Mills

Last updated on the 1 June 2024 by Maeve

Hayley Mills headshot

Mini Biography

Born: 18 April 1946, Marylebone, London, England. 

Hayley Mills, born Hayley Catherine Rose Vivien Mills was practically destined for the stage. The daughter of renowned British actor Sir John Mills and actress Mary Hayley Bell, Mills was surrounded by the world of performance from a young age. While a brief appearance as a baby in the 1947 film “So Well Remembered” hints at her early exposure to cinema, Hayley’s formal acting debut wouldn’t come until 1959.

Hayley Mills’ childhood wasn’t solely defined by her famous parents. Though outgoing and funny, a stint at boarding school left her shy around her peers. Theatre productions at the school, however, proved a solace, nurturing a love for acting that would soon blossom.

Hayley Mills in Tiger Bay

Her big break arrived at the age of 12 when director J. Lee Thompson cast her, initially intended for a male role, in the British crime drama “Tiger Bay” (1959). The film, co-starring her father, was a box office success and earned Mills the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer.

This success caught the attention of Walt Disney Studios, launching Hayley into international stardom. Her portrayal of the eternally optimistic Pollyanna in the 1960 film “Pollyanna” resonated with audiences worldwide. The role earned her a special Academy Juvenile Award, solidifying her status as a rising Disney star. Hayley continued to captivate audiences in a string of Disney films throughout the 1960s, including “The Parent Trap” (1961), where she played twins Annie and Hallie, and “That Darn Cat!” (1965).

Back in Britain she performed in more adult themed films, such as The Family Way (1966) and Twisted Nerve (1968).

Hayley Mills’ story is one of child stardom, facing the pressures of fame and ultimately finding artistic fulfillment on her own terms. From her early Disney days to her success on the stage, Hayley Mills’ career is a testament to her enduring talent and love for the performing arts.


BAFTA award


WINNER | Film: Most Promising Newcomer To Film for Tiger Bay (1960)



Suggested viewing


Tiger Bay (1959)

Tiger Bay poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.5

A curious young girl witnesses a sailor kill his lover in a fit of rage. Torn between fear and a strange connection with the fugitive, she becomes entangled in a police investigation, forced to choose between loyalty and the truth as the net closes in on the desperate killer.

Top cast: Hayley Mills, Horst Buchholz, John Mills, Yvonne Mitchell, Megs Jenkins, Anthony Dawson, George Selway, Shari.


Whistle Down the Wind (1961)

Whistle Down the Wind poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.6

On a remote farm, a teenage girl mistakes an escaped convict for Jesus Christ, sparking a frenzy of faith among local children. As excitement builds, the adults struggle to maintain order, caught between the innocent belief of their children and the dangerous reality hidden in their barn.

Top cast: Hayley Mills, Alan Bates, Bernard Lee, Norman Bird, Diane Clare, John Arnatt, Patricia Heneghan, Elsie Wagstaff.


Sky West and Crooked (1966)

Sky West and Crooked poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.8

Haunted by a childhood tragedy, a teenage girl with emotional struggles finds solace in unusual rituals. Labeled as odd by her small village, she forms a complex bond with a charming but misunderstood outsider, forcing her to confront her past and embrace an uncertain future.

Top cast: Hayley Mills, Ian McShane, Annette Crosbie, Laurence Naismith, Geoffrey Bayldon, Pauline Jameson, Norman Bird, June Ellis, George Selway.


The Family Way (1966)

The Family Way poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.3

A young couple’s honeymoon is postponed forcing them to live married life under the watchful eyes of the husband’s boisterous family. Their cramped living quarters and clashing personalities lead to frustration and comical situations as they yearn for privacy and grapple with the unexpected consequences of their intimacy.

Top cast: Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, Barry Foster, Avril Angers, John Comer, Wilfred Pickles, John Mills, Marjorie Rhodes, Murray Head, Liz Fraser, Thorley Walters.


Twisted Nerve (1968)

Twisted Nerve poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.0

A disturbed young man creates a childlike persona to win over a girl, but his facade crumbles when she pulls away. Consumed by obsession, he eliminates anyone who gets in his way, leaving the girl in a desperate fight for survival against a killer lurking behind a mask of innocence.

Top cast: Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, Billie Whitelaw, Phyllis Calvert, Barry Foster, Frank Finlay, Salmaan Peerzada, Christian Roberts, Gretchen Franklin, Thorley Walters.


Hayley Mills full filmography @ Wikipedia
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