Forever Young

Grand Central. Sept. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9781538704196. $30. MEMOIR
Child star Mills’s charming and eloquent walk down memory lane is a fascinating study of moviemaking in 1960s Britain and the United States. Born in London to legendary actor Sir John Mills and actress/writer Mary Hayley Bell, she was cast in Tiger Bay at 12 and became a star for Disney, with hits including Pollyanna and The Parent Trap. Plagued by self-doubt and a fear of upstaging her beloved father and her twin sister Juliet (who costarred with her in The Parent Trap), as she received accolades for her work (including an Oscar before her father), Mills grappled with depression, suicidal thoughts, and bulimia. Leaving home, she embarked on a love affair with director Roy Boulting, who was 32 years her senior; took on adult roles that proved disastrous; and tried her hand at theater. Mills conveys the excitement of being a young starlet—dating Frank Sinatra Jr. and George Harrison and touring Disneyland with Disney himself—but also addresses the darker side of fame: She was the victim of death threats and had conflicted feelings about her alcohol-addicted mother and her father, who downplayed her success and eventually lost all of her money.
VERDICT Movie buffs will be riveted by Mills’s behind-the-scenes tales.
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