Hayley Catherine Rose Vivien Mills was born on 18 April 1946. She was 12 when she was discovered to play the lead role in Tiger Bay - although the producers had initially been looking for a boy! The role won her a BAFTA Award as Most Promising Newcomer. Walt Disney's wife, Lillian Disney saw her performance and suggested that Hayley be given the lead role in Pollyanna. This role of the 'glad girl' who moves in with her aunt catapulted her to super-stardom in the United States and earned her a special Oscar in 1960.
Disney subsequently cast Hayley as twins Sharon and Susan who reunite their divorced parents in The Parent Trap. During her six-year run at Disney, she was arguably the most popular child actress of the era. Critics noted that America's favorite child star was, in fact, quite British and very lady-like. In 1998, she was awarded the prestigious Disney Legend award by The Walt Disney Company.
In addition to her Disney movies, Hayley took the lead in several other films, notably Whistle Down the Wind (based on the book of the same title written by her mother Mary Hayley Bell), The Truth About Spring (with her real father, John Mills, cast as her father and James MacArthur as the love interest), and The Chalk Garden.
In 1981 she starred in the television mini-series The Flame Trees of Thika based on Elspeth Huxley's memoir of her childhood in East Africa. She made her Off-Broadway debut in Sir Noel Coward's Suite in Two Keys in 2000 opposite American actress Judith Ivey.
Still enjoying an active screen career, she will be starring in the ITV1 Sunday-night drama Wild at Heart.