Millie Perkins


Actor

About

Birth Place
Passaic, New Jersey, USA
Born
May 12, 1938

Biography

She won one of the most coveted roles in Hollywood history--Anne Frank, the Jewish teen who still affirms the human spirit while hiding from the Nazis--in George Stevens' "The Diary of Anne Frank" (1959). Yet the almost fragile, seemingly eternal dark-haired ingenue Millie Perkins failed to ignite with the audience to become a big movie star, partly because she projected an ordinary qual...

Family & Companions

Dean Stockwell
Husband
Actor.
Dean Stockwell
Husband
Actor. Married 1960; divorced 1962.
Robert Thom
Husband
Survived him.
Robert Thom
Husband
Screenwriter; director. Wrote "Wild in the Streets" (1968).

Notes

Perkins on appearing as Elvis Presley's leading lady in "Wild in the Country": "I was very shy then. I was a newcomer. Elvis was so polite and gracious to me. Elvis understood people." --quoted in PR material for the ABC TV series "Elvis"

Biography

She won one of the most coveted roles in Hollywood history--Anne Frank, the Jewish teen who still affirms the human spirit while hiding from the Nazis--in George Stevens' "The Diary of Anne Frank" (1959). Yet the almost fragile, seemingly eternal dark-haired ingenue Millie Perkins failed to ignite with the audience to become a big movie star, partly because she projected an ordinary quality. There was so sense of urgency or recognition of the inherent dangers. After finding steady work in the 1960s, she seemed to disappear in the 70s, only to renew her career as a strong supporting player in the 80s and 90s.

Born in Passaic, New Jersey, the daughter of a sea captain, Perkins was a junior model and cover girl before winning the Anne Frank role. Her second film was "Wild in the Country" (1961) opposite Elvis Presley; it was de rigueur for every ingenue at the time to play opposite Elvis. (In a twist of fate, Perkins would later portray Gladys Presley, Elvis' mother, in the short-lived 1990 ABC TV series, "Elvis"). She continued her leading lady career in such efforts as "Ensign Pulver" (1964) and even was alongside Jack Nicholson during the Roger Corman period in "Ride in the Whirlwind" (1965), which Nicholson also wrote and co-produced. But by "Wild in the Streets" (1968), it was apparent Perkins' screen career was faltering. After her marriage to writer-director Robert Thom, Perkins seemingly retired, appearing only sporadically in film and on TV. It was not she was cast as Jon Voight's ex-wife in "Table For Five" (1983), that Perkins re-emerged. She had retained her delicate, porcelain features--her face had hardly--but her body was sturdier, and she now projected far more personal power and strength. Now relegated to supporting parts, she played Sean Penn's mother in "At Close Range" (1986), Charlie Sheen's mom in "Wall Street" (1987) and the parent of murder victims in "The Chamber" (1996).

On the small screen, Perkins first appeared on TV in 1960 on a Bob Hope special, and made her episodic debut on an episode of "Wagon Train" the following year. When she resumed her career in the 80s, she worked with some regularity in character roles. Perkins played a rape victim in "A Gun in the House" (CBS, 1981) and went on to a number of portrayals as wives, married to drunk driver Don Murray in "License of Kill" (1984, CBS) and Ed Asner's ailing Norman Cousins in "Anatomy of an Illness" (1984, CBS). Even in her first regular series role, she was typecast, playing the estranged spouse of William Devane on the CBS primetime soap "Knots Landing" during the 1983-84 season. Moving into maternal roles, she was cast as the penultimate mother, the Virgin Mary, in the NBC miniseries "A.D." (1985) and was the parent of the young Patty Duke in 1990 biopic "Call Me Anna" (ABC). Six years later, she appeared alongside Duke as an Amish woman in "Harvest of Fire" (1996, CBS).

Life Events

1959

Made feature film debut in title role of "The Diary of Anne Frank"

1960

Made first TV appearance on Bob Hope variety special

1961

Appeared in first TV episodic, "Wagon Train" (NBC)

1961

Starred opposite Elvis Presley in "Wild in the Country"

1968

Last feature appearance for six years in "WIld in the Streets"

1974

Returned to features in Monte Hellman's "Cockfight"

1976

Last feature for seven years, "The Witch Who Came in From the Sea"

1981

Made TV-movie debut, "A Gun in the House" (CBS)

1983

Returned to features as Jon Voight's ex-wife in "Table of Five"

1983

Appeared as regular on one season of "Knots Landing" as Jane Sumner

1985

Played the Virgin Mary in the NBC miniseries "A.D."

1986

Cast as mother to Sean Penn in "At Close Range"

1990

Co-starred in the short-lived ABC series "Elvis" as Presley's mother Gladys

1990

Played mother of Patty Duke in the TV-movie biopic "Call Me Anna" (CBS)

1996

Featured in the CBS TV-movie "Harvest of Shame", co-starring Patty Duke

1996

Appeared as the mother of murder victims in "The Chamber"

Videos

Movie Clip

Diary Of Anne Frank, The (1959) - Have You Seen My Shoes? Life in the attic apartment, Anne (Millie Perkins) first writing and narrating, then taunting Peter (Richard Beymer), his mother (Shelley Winters) and her father (Joseph Schildkraut) supporting, in George Stevens' The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959.
Diary Of Anne Frank, The (1959) - I'm Living A Great Adventure In Amsterdam just after the war, Joseph Schildkraut as Otto Frank has just been identified, greeted by Miep (Dody Heath) and Kraler (Douglas Spencer), whom we surmise helped him and his family hide from the Nazis, leading to the introduction of the diary and the title character (Millie Perkins), early in George Stevens' The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959.
Diary Of Anne Frank, The (1959) - Bring Only What You Can Carry Delivered by the hosts (Douglas Spencer, Dody Heath) and introduced to the hidden family (including Joseph Schildkraut, Shelley Winters, Millie Perkins as the title character and Lou Jacobi as Van Daan), dentist Dussell (Ed Wynn) brings harrowing news of Amsterdam, in George Stevens’ The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959.
Diary Of Anne Frank, The (1959) - Was It A Very Bad Dream? A dream sequence from screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, from their play and directed by George Stevens, Millie Perkins as the title character, in Amsterdam ca. 1944, imagining scenes of German concentration camps that have been described only by hearsay, Gusti Huber as her mother, in The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959.
Shooting, The (1967) - I Don't Give A Curly Hair Gashade (Warren Oates) and sidekick Coley (Will Hutchins) are working as trackers for Millie Perkins, who still hasn’t revealed her name or her business, but they were joined the evening before by the taciturn Billy Spear (Jack Nicholson), evidently a hired gun, in Monte Hellman’s The Shooting, 1967.
Shooting, The (1967) - Straight Ahead A Bit To The Right Director Monte Hellman starts taking liberties with the narrative, as Gashade (Warren Oates) has confiscated the gun of goofy Coley (Will Hutchins), who’s friend was murdered by parties unknown, as they are approached by a stranger who turns out to be Millie Perkins, in The Shooting, 1967.
Wild In The Streets (1968) - 14 Or Fight! Mega-rich pop star Max (Christopher Jones, with his band, Richard Pryor on drums!) has just barely agreed to appear in support of congressman Fergus (Hal Holbrook), who’s running for senator, because he supports lowering the voting age, and a new idea comes up, in WIld In The Streets, 1968.

Trailer

Companions

Dean Stockwell
Husband
Actor.
Dean Stockwell
Husband
Actor. Married 1960; divorced 1962.
Robert Thom
Husband
Survived him.
Robert Thom
Husband
Screenwriter; director. Wrote "Wild in the Streets" (1968).

Bibliography

Notes

Perkins on appearing as Elvis Presley's leading lady in "Wild in the Country": "I was very shy then. I was a newcomer. Elvis was so polite and gracious to me. Elvis understood people." --quoted in PR material for the ABC TV series "Elvis"