Chicago native Donna Mills is probably best known for her role as Abby Cunningham on the primetime soap opera Knots Landing (a spinoff of Dallas) that aired from 1979 until 1993 on CBS. She won the Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Villainess three times during her stint on the show that lasted for nine years (1980-1989).
Other television appearances include The Secret Storm, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, Gunsmoke, Police Woman, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Melrose Place, Cold Case, Dirty Sexy Money, Bare Essence, Nip/Tuck, GCBand many others. Films, including made-for-TV movies, are The Incident, Play Misty for Me, The Bait, Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby, Alice in Wonderland, just to name a few.
“I’d never worked with Joan, but we knew each other because back in the 1980s when we were both doing our shows, we were at many functions together, and we were friendly. She would come to my parties, and I’d go to her parties, and we always talked a lot about our characters. Those kinds of characters we were playing were similar in many ways. Joan and I always got on really great. She’s really a fun person.”
Mills can currently be seen in a recurring role as Madeline Reeves on the ABC daytime drama General Hospitaland in Pop TV’s reality series Queens of Drama which features an all-female cast working in front of and behind the cameras as they develop, pitch and produce a new steamy series with the goal of landing a pilot deal by the end of the season. In addition to Mills, the cast of soap veterans who also star are Lindsay Hartley, Crystal Hunt, Vanessa Marcil, Chrystee Pharris and Hunter Tylo. The Queens of Drama hour-long, explosive season finale airs June 10, 2015, at eight p.m. eastern on Pop TV.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Donna, let’s talk first about Queens of Drama. How did you become involved with the show?
Donna Mills: An old friend, Leslie Greif, who’s the president of Thinkfactory Media, actually called me and said, “I have this reality show.” I went, “No, Leslie. I don’t want to do a reality show. No. No. No.” He said, “Listen to the concepts first.” I did, and Leslie told me that it was a show about these women who were trying to create anew show. I thought it was interesting because it’s a reality show, but it’s about something and has a goal. So I said, “Okay. I’ll do that.” It proceeded from there, and they put the whole thing together. They put everybody together, and it has been a fun experience.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Were you told to swoop in amongst these women and take charge of the project?
Donna Mills: We talked about what my role would be because I only wanted to do it if I could be a certain way in it. I said I wanted to be the leader of the group. That was the only way I could do it. I had produced a lot of things, so I thought that was a good starting point for me to have the power to do what I wanted to do.
We talked about it, and it evolved over time to discussions and talking with the producers. That’s how it evolved. The funny thing about this being a reality show … as everybody knows, everything is not absolutely real. They just don’t set a camera down and let you get on with your life (laughs). But as far as how this show evolved, it really did evolve pretty much through us women.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Had you worked with Joan Collins before she guest starred on the show?
Donna Mills: I’d never worked with Joan, but we knew each other because back in the 1980s when we were both doing our shows, we were at many functions together, and we were friendly. She would come to my parties, and I’d go to her parties, and we always talked a lot about our characters. Those kinds of characters we were playing were similar in many ways. Joan and I always got on really great. She’s really a fun person.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have you heard from Hunter (Tylo), or will she be in the last episode?
Donna Mills: No, she won’t. She’s not in any more of the shows. Hunter’s very much on our minds all the time, and her presence will be felt in those last two shows, but she doesn’t actually appear. She’s a very private person, so we’re allowing her to have her privacy and not try to get in touch with her.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What can you say about the season finale?
Donna Mills: I think it’s surprising. I think how the whole thing ends really is surprising. Of course, I can’t give it away, but I think it’s surprising because we’ve been going in one direction for the whole ten episodes, and it takes a bit of a twist. Hopefully people will like that, and we’ll be able to go on to next season.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Has there been confirmation of a second season?
Donna Mills: Not as far as I know right now. But I know Thinkfactory wants it to be another season. We all had a great time doing it, so I think all of the women would like to do it. They take their time, particularly in reality television, to pick things up. If it were an episodic series, they’d have to do it sooner because that takes longer to do.
Read the rest of the interview at: http://smashinginterviews.com/interviews/actors/donna-mills-interview-queens-of-drama-matriarch-on-her-amazing-year