cover image Forever Young: A Memoir

Forever Young: A Memoir

Hayley Mills. Grand Central, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-5387-0419-6

Golden Globe Award-winning actor Mills debuts with a mesmerizing look at her “golden years” as a child star in the 1960s. The middle child of British actor Sir John Mills and playwright Mary Hayley Bell, Mills enjoyed an ordinary childhood until she was chosen at age 12 to star in family friend and director J. Lee Thompson’s 1959 thriller Tiger Bay. That same year, Hayley signed a seven-picture deal with Walt Disney. Shuttling back and forth between boarding school and film sets—and playing the leads in, among other movies, Pollyanna (1960) and The Parent Trap (1961)—Mills rose to international fame by age 16, receiving an Honorary Oscar in 1961. “For better or for worse,” she writes, “I’d literally grown up in Disneyland.” With a novelistic eye for detail and a disarming sense of humor, Mills illuminates her extraordinary past while evoking the lost empire of mid-20th-century Hollywood. Along the way, she underscores how there was a price to be paid in family tensions; public growing pains; missed opportunities—including the title role in Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita (“to be a Disney Star meant being family friendly”)—and fraught relationships, such as her romance with the much older producer-director Roy Boulting. The result is a luminous work commensurate with the unforgettable movies that made Mills an icon. (Sept.)