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Hayley Mills

Filmography | Awards | Lyrics | Downloads | Links | Image Credits

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Hayley and Deborah Kerr in THE CHALK GARDEN

Hayley returned to England in 1964 to appear with her father and Deborah Kerr (with Hayley at left) in Universal's adaptation of THE CHALK GARDEN, from a play by Enid Bagnold about a troubled child obsessed with murder and fire and the governess (Kerr) with problems of her own who tries to help her.  Though a box office disappointment compared to her Disney triumphs, THE CHALK GARDEN gave Hayley an advantageous opportunity to set aside her sunny, sweet screen persona and play a holy terror for a change -- and very convincingly too.


In another classic later remade by the studio, Hayley fulfilled her five-year contractual obligation to Disney with the moderately successful suspense comedy THAT DARN CAT! (1965) co-starring Dean Jones, Dorothy Provine and a title song sung by Bobby Darin.  Based on a book called Undercover Cat, the film gave Hayley her first "young adult" role and also featured memorable supporting performances from Roddy McDowall, Elsa Lanchester, Ed Wynn and William Demarest.


In her first post-Disney film, Hayley kept to her Disney-established light comedy genre, appearing opposite Rosalind Russell in Ida Lupino's THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS (1966), as a rebellious convent school student.  Although it too was a modest hit, Hayley next chose to focus on more serious films, and neither she nor June Harding (center) appeared in the sequel, WHERE ANGELS GO, TROUBLE FOLLOWS (1968).

More Memorable Quotations:

  • "I never shake hands.  It's so animal." --as Laurel in THE CHALK GARDEN.
  • "I set fire to things.  I intend to burn the house down one day -- perhaps today. Could you prevent me?" --as Laurel in THE CHALK GARDEN.
  • "I told a former governess of mine there were sharks.  She said I made them up.  One day she was eaten by one.  Poor shark." --as Laurel in THE CHALK GARDEN.
  • "My case is Freudian." --as Laurel in THE CHALK GARDEN.
  • "What is a good morning to someone else is rarely a good morning to me." --as Laurel in THE CHALK GARDEN.
  • "I'm the only perfectly frank person I've ever known." --as Laurel in THE CHALK GARDEN.
  • "I know all there is to know about the criminal mind." --as Laurel in THE CHALK GARDEN.
  • "I hope I die young and very wealthy." --as Mary in THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS.
  • "Listen! I have the most scathingly brilliant idea!" --as Mary in THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS.

Sharon in "Parent Trap II"   Susan in "Parent Trap II"

Hayley as grown-up Sharon and Susan in Disney's "Parent Trap II" (1986 TV).

In 1966, Hayley tried to escape her enduring POLLYANNA image by playing a brief nude scene in the British comedy-drama THE FAMILY WAY (1966) about the marital troubles of a newly-wed couple.  The film was rated unfit for children however, and Hayley's box-office charm came to an abrupt halt.  Throughout the late 1960s and '70s, her performances were few and relegated to minor British films.  In the mid-1980s however, Hayley re-established herself in a series of made-for-TV PARENT TRAP sequels for Disney, including "Parent Trap II" (1986 TV), "Parent Trap III" (1989 TV) and "Parent Trap Hawaiian Honeymoon" (1989 TV).  Her work since has been primarily in live theatre, and in 1998 Hayley was honored as a "Disney Legend."

Further Reading:

  • "Hayley Mills." Current Biography (1963).
  • Great Child Stars by James Robert Parish (New York: Ace Books, 1976).
  • Hollywood Kids: Child Stars of the Silver Screen from 1903 to the Present by Thomas E. Aylesworth (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1987).
  • The Great Movie Stars 2: The International Years by David Shipman (New York: Little, Brown & Co., 1995).

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Last updated: March 10, 2011.
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