After graduating from high school in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where she'd been involved in summer stock theater, Diana Hyland moved to New York City to take her chances there. She got a job as a telephone operator, and began to get small acting roles. Soon she got into television, starting with an appearance on the drama "Robert Montgomery Presents" in 1955. In 1959, she appeared alongside Paul Newman and Geraldine Page in the Tennessee Williams drama "Sweet Bird of Youth," a major hit that ran for 375 performances and was nominated for four Tony Awards. At the same time, Hyland was making regular appearances as Gig Houseman Malone, the wife of the younger Dr. Malone on the soap-opera "Young Doctor Malone." Soon after that character was killed off, she decided to try her luck in Hollywood. It didn't take long for her to find success there, landing a role alongside Robert Redford in the Fred Astaire-hosted program "Alcoa Premiere," which featured a new story each week and was known for using big-name actors and writers. In 1976, she appeared as the title character's mother in the made-for-TV movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble," which starred John Travolta. (She would posthumously be awarded an Emmy for this role). The following year, she was seen as the matriarch, Joan Bradford, in four episodes of the family comedy-drama "Eight is Enough," before she was written out of the series because of her failing health.