forever-young-53From Goodreads: Iconic actress Hayley Mills shares personal memories from her storied childhood, growing up in a famous acting family and becoming a Disney child star, trying to grow up in a world that wanted her to stay forever young.
The daughter of acclaimed British actor Sir John Mills was still a pre-teen when she began her acting career and was quickly thrust into the spotlight. Under the wing of Walt Disney himself, Hayley Mills was transformed into one of the biggest child starlets of the 1960s through her iconic roles in Pollyanna, The Parent Trap, and many more. She became one of only twelve actors in history to be bestowed with the Academy Juvenile Award, presented at the Oscars by its first recipient, Shirley Temple, and went on to win a number of awards including a Golden Globe, multiple BAFTAs, and a Disney Legacy Award.
Now, in her charming and forthright memoir, she provides a unique window into when Hollywood was still ‘Tinseltown’ and the great Walt Disney was at his zenith, ruling over what was (at least in his own head) still a family business. This behind-the-scenes look at the drama of having a sky-rocketing career as a young teen in an esteemed acting family will offer both her childhood impressions of the wild and glamorous world she was swept into, and the wisdom and broader knowledge that time has given her. Hayley will delve intimately into her relationship with Walt Disney, as well as the emotional challenges of being bound to a wholesome, youthful public image as she grew into her later teen years, and how that impacted her and her choices–including marrying a producer over 30 years her senior when she was 20! With her regrets, her joys, her difficulties, and her triumphs, this is a compelling read for any fan of classic Disney films and an inside look at a piece of real Hollywood history.

My Review

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As you’ve probably realised I do love a good memoir, and this was a really lovely book. It’s not a kiss and tell sort of book, not that I read those, but rather a gentle look back at Hayley Mills time as one of Disney’s biggest child stars.

I didn’t know much about Hayley Mills apart from a few films she’d been in, and of course that her father Sir John Mills was a massive British film star in his own right. In fact that was how Hayley came to be in films at all, because a director was visiting the family discussing Tiger Bay, a film that her father was in, and when he spotted her playing in the garden, and decided she’d be perfect for a part in it. And so began her life in films.

This was a very easy to read memoir, it felt like Hayley Mills was there chatting with me over a cup of tea, like we were old friends. She spoke about how her parents oversaw all her contracts with Walt Disney, which was fine in the beginning when she was barely a teenager, but as she got older she wanted more say and things became tense between. She clearly loved her parents though, which was really lovely to read about. I felt quite sorry for her as remembered going through all that teenage angst but not really having any close friends to confide in or encourage her. 

As well as her recollections about the films she worked, on there are lots of lovely stories about the different famous people she met whilst in Hollywood and back in London. There was the evening spent with George Harrison that her mother had instigated and when she almost met Elvis!

Highly recommended if you enjoy memoirs.