Dark Shadows Character:
Appeared in: 62 episodes
First episode: #123, December 14, 1966
Last episode: #760, May 23, 1969
Born: Rye, New York
Vampire Barnabas Collins gets most of the credit for transforming Dark Shadows from a daytime dud to a blockbuster -- but he wasn't the first monster to goose the show's ratings. That honor goes to Laura Collins, the flame-fueled creature who wasn't exactly campaigning for Mother of the Year: She was trying to lure her son David into a firey death. For this important role, Dan Curtis needed a strong actress, so he turned to Diana Millay, a TV veteran with experience well beyond her years.
Diana's career began at age 7, when she tap-danced her way to a standing ovation in her second-grade class play in her native Rye, New York. A few years later, modeled sun suits for the Sears Catalog which opened the door to television.
Throughout the 1950s and early '60s, she appeared in dozens of episodes of classic shows including Father Knows Best, Bonanza, Perry Mason, Route 66, Dobie Gillis, and many others.
She made a few movies (including 1959's Street of Sinners) and acted extensively on stage.
She toured the U.S. and Canada in the National Company of The Seven Year Itch with Eddie Bracken.
Diana's Broadway appearances have included Boeing Boeing and Drink to Me Only.
And several television specials including a musical, Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway, directed by Gower Champion. Her motion pictures include Paramount's Tarzan and the Great River in which she played a modern, intellectual "Jane."
On the stage and the screen, Diana has been directed by such film and theater legends as George Abbott, Moss Hart, Sam Peckinpah, Blake Edwards and Robert Altman.
DAYTIME TV: Secret Storm (Kitty Styles, 1970-71), The Robert Q. Lewis Show.
PRIMETIME TV: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1964), Route 66 (1961), Rawhide (1962), My Three Sons, Rifleman (1961), The Virginian (1964), Wagon Train (1962), 1977 Sunset Strip (1964), Wyatt Earp (1960), Stagecoast West (1960), Dobie Gillis (2 episodes), Father Knows Best (2 episodes), Perry Mason (3 episodes), Bonanza (1961), Laramie (1962), Travels of Jamie McPheeters (1963), Maverick (1960), Arrest and Trial (1964), Lock Up, Las Vegas Beat (pilot), Boston Terrier (pilot, 1962), Gunsmoke (1961), Redigo (1963), Tales of Wells Fargo (1962), Boris Karloff's Thriller (1961), The Westerner (1960), Tab Hunter Show (2), The New Breed (1961), King of Diamonds (2 episodes, 1962), Target: The Corruptors (1962), Whispering Smith (1961), Dick Powell Show (1962), Temple Houston (1963), Aquanauts (1960), Dante (1961), The Americans (1961), Michael Shayne Private Detective (1960), The Eleventh Hour (1964), Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway (1959), Ed Sullivan Show, Robert Montgomery Presents, Playhouse 1990, Studio One, U.S. Steel Hour (3 episodes; 1959, 1960, 1963), Omnibus (1959), Masquerade Party, Philco Televison Playhouse, Kraft Telelvision Theatre, Ford Startime, Ponds Theatre, Star Tonight (1955), The Investigator (1958), Steve Allen Show, Max Liebman Presents: Marco Polo (1956), Slezak and Son (pilot), I Spy (1950s series).
TV COMMERCIALS: Tide, Crisco.
SCREEN: Night of Dark Shadows (Laura Collins, 1971), Tarzan and the Great River (Dr. Ann Phillips, 1967), Street of Sinners (Joan, 1958).
STAGE: Ladies In Retirement (Louisa), The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, The Girl on the Via Flaminia, Come Back Little Sheba, Bell Book and Candle, Time Out for Ginger, Beyond the Horizon, The Seven Year Itch, Dear Ruth, Picnic, Little Foxes, Tobacco Road, Time of the Cuckoo, Dear Charles, Life with Father.
BROADWAY: Fair Game (Janet, 1957), Roger the Sixth (1957), Drink to Me Only (Sandy Wendell, 1958), The Glass Rooster (1964), Boeing-Boeing (Janet, 1965).
MISC.Wrote the cookbook, I'd Rather Eat Than Act, and a history of Halloween, The Power of Halloween.