Donna Mills was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Her father was an oil executive and her mother was a dance instructor, and Mills studied ballet throughout her teens. After spending a year studying drama at the University of Illinois, she made her way to New York, where she landed an understudy role in Woody Allen’s first play, “Don't Drink the Water.”
Mills’ first television roles were on the daytime soap operas “The Secret Storm” and “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.” She made her film debut in 1967 in the hard-hitting drama, “The Incident.” In 1971, she co-starred with Clint Eastwood in the popular thriller “Play Misty for Me.” Throughout the seventies, Mills made frequent guest appearances on top-rated series and carved out a niche working on television movies.
In 1980, Donna joined the cast of the hit primetime soap “Knots Landing.” With her portrayal of the conniving Abby Cunningham, she made the show her own and became one of TV's biggest stars. After a successful nine-year tenure, Mills left the cast to pursue other projects but returned for the series finale in 1993. She continued to headline an array television films, several of which she produced, often highlighting important social issues.
Mills has long been a supporter of various political and human rights causes, including Easter Seals, Women in Film, and ECO (Earth Communications Office). She has never been married, but has one daughter, Chloe, whom she adopted in 1995. These days she divides her time between work and motherhood.