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Exclusive Interview

Donna Mills sensational at 76

Age is just a number!

As cool, conniving vixen Abby Cunningham on the ’80s CBS prime-time soap opera Knots Landing, Donna Mills was so convincing that she says people were wary of meeting her in person. Clearly, where the lovely and bubbly blonde is concerned, they had nothing to worry about! “Abby has long been my favorite role,” Donna reveals in an exclusive Star interview at her home in the swanky L.A. suburb of Brentwood. “When you have nine years to perfect such a great character, it’s a wonderful luxury. I feel very lucky.”

We should all be so lucky as to look as stunning as Donna at age 76. What’s her secret? “The most important thing to staying young is your attitude,” she says. “If you say, ‘I’m older now, and can’t do much,’ then you’re going to decline. I don’t look at it that way. I say, ‘I’m older now, but so what. I still have a ton of things I want to do.'”

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That can-do attitude includes her daily exercise routine. “I have a little gym in my house — I don’t like going out to a gym — and I work out at least an hour every day,” she says. “I start by working up a sweat on the stationary bike, then I do lots of stretching at the ballet bar. Staying limber is ­essential. I do weights for my legs and arms, and I do sit-ups, even though I hate them.” She does, however, love playing tennis, and adds: “I have a court in my house, and I play with friends. We even do tennis parties. It’s a real passion of mine.”

Donna has also been watching her diet for decades. “When I was doing Knots, I stayed 104 pounds by never eating bread, pasta or desserts — I think sugar is poison. My only vice is chips; I’m a chip-aholic! I really have to struggle to not eat them.”

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When it comes to her beauty regimen, Donna keeps it simple. “I wash my face with a mild, French milled soap and water. I can’t just use cream to take off makeup. And I use an antiaging moisturizer, which is something everyone can use.” She also has strong views about going under the knife, which she thinks there’s too much of in Hollywood. “It’s fine as long as you don’t try to make yourself look like when you were 20,” says Donna, who once played a woman obsessed with plastic surgery on Nip/Tuck. “It just doesn’t work. But I think at certain times, it’s good in moderation.”

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Donna’s first showbiz role of note was in the 1967 film The Incident, in which she played a passenger terrorized by thugs on an NYC subway car. And after winning a 2015 Daytime Emmy Award as a “special guest performer” on General Hospital, she’s ready to sink her teeth into another juicy acting gig. “I’d like to get a series again and am looking for roles, but there aren’t that many,” says Donna, who stepped out of the spotlight after adopting her daughter, Chloe Mills, in 1995. Meanwhile, she’s spending quality time at home with her longtime companion, former actor and life coach Larry Gilman, who built a vineyard in the backyard in 2014. “We now have our first vintage in the barrel,” says Donna. “It’s a lot of work — but it’s a lot of fun!”

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