Alley Mills was born on May 9, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois. A graduate of Yale in 1973, she studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Her big break came with a lead role in the 1960s period family dramedy, The Wonder Years. After the show ended, she became a recurring character on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Mills is married to actor Orson Bean and lives in Venice, California.
Actress Alley Mills was born on May 9, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois. While she has worked in television for close to four decades, Alley Mills is best remembered as Norma Arnold, the nurturing mother, on the dramatic comedy The Wonder Years. A graduate of Yale University in 1973, she went on to study acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Early Acting Career
While still in college, Alley Mills scored a small role in the film Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970). She got her first role on a television series—a short-lived sitcom about young lawyers entitled The Associates—in 1979. Mills played Leslie Dunn, a recent law school graduate who wanted to help those in need.
'The Wonder Years'
After another failed sitcom in 1982, she finally caught a big break with a lead role in the 1960s family dramedy The Wonder Years. Set in the late 1960s, the series tapped into the baby boomers' nostalgia for their youth while younger audience members connected with its humorous, but realistic depiction of growing up.
Mills played Norma Arnold, the suburban homemaker and mother of three, who worked to keep her family together while facing the usual domestic crises as social upheaval of the times. Olivia d'Abo played Karen, her oldest child, who embraced the hippie counterculture, but the heart and focus of the show was her youngest child, Kevin, played by Fred Savage.
The sitcom was viewed largely from his perspective with actor Daniel Stern providing the voice over as an older Kevin looking back. Dan Lauria played the largely disgruntled dad and Jason Harvey played Wayne, the couple's middle child. The critically acclaimed program won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1988 for its first season on the air and continued to enjoy strong fan support for several seasons.
Continued TV Career
After the show ended in 1993, Alley Mills continued work in television, landing a recurring role on the western drama Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, starring Jane Seymour. She also made numerous guest appearances on television dramas and comedies, such as NYPD Blue; Sabrina, the Teenage Witch; Strong Medicine; and Yes, Dear. She made the leap to daytime television with a role on the CBS soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful in 2006.
Alley Mills is married to actor Orson Bean and lives in Venice, California.
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