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Overview for Millie Perkins
Millie Perkins

Millie Perkins

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: May 12, 1938 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Passaic, New Jersey, USA Profession: Cast ... actor model
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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).

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