Have you seen the film Play Misty For Me? This is a great thriller film starring Clint Eastwood and was also his directorial debut. Released in 1971, the film followed a radio DJ who is being stalked by a crazy woman who constantly asks him to play the ‘Misty’ song.
Jessica Walter plays Evelyn Draper, the woman who stalks Dave Garber played by Clint Eastwood. Donna Mills played Tobie Williams and though this wasn’t her first role it was perhaps the first role that brought her to bigger attention.
She and Clint Eastwood got along well on set and this started rumors about the two of them having an affair. For decades, she kept quiet about these supposed rumors and we’ve been kept in suspense.
Now — She Finally Addresses Rumors of an Affair with Clint Eastwood. Join FactsVerse to learn more about the whole story behind the rumors…
Clint Eastwood began his acting career in the 1950s and it was toward the end of the decade that he got his big break with the show Rawhide. This made him one of the quintessential actors of the Western genre and he continued to pursue such roles throughout the 1960s – most notable the “Dollars” trilogy which is what made him a star.
As the 1970s approached, he wanted to continue acting in Westerns but also wanted to branch out and experiment with different types of roles. He was also interesting in trying his talents behind the camera and was looking for opportunities to direct films.
Then, a screenplay came his way. It had an unusual title and was written by Jo Heims and Dean Riesner – who would collaborate with Clint Eastwood many times, most notably for his Dirty Harry films.
The screenplay was ‘Play Misty For Me’ and it had an exciting premise. The main character was Dave Gruber, a radio DJ who gets stalked by a woman named Evelyn Draper who insists that he continuously plays a jazz song called ‘Misty.’ He tries to evade her as she becomes more and more intrusive.
Clint Eastwood was sold and he became the star of Play Misty For Me and also directed the film – which became his directorial debut. The film’s success showed that he wasn’t a one-trick pony and that he could even act well in thrillers – which may have helped in him appearing in the Dirty Harry films in the coming years.
When Play Misty For Me was released, Clint Eastwood was arguably one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. As a result, all eyes were on him and his career. But of course, when an actor becomes a star – its not just their career that the media is focused on.
Many fans and tabloids alike were curious about his personal life. He was married to Maggie Johnson and though he was a family man, he was irresistible to so many women. As a result, the media was always eager to pair Clint Eastwood with another woman – preferably an actress. These stories, whether true or false, is what sold newspapers.
As he often had to romance beautiful women on screen, there was always a temptation to allege that Clint Eastwood was having an affair with them. When Play Misty For Me was released, this presented the perfect opportunity to tie Clint Eastwood with one of the actresses. This was the perfect time to start a rumor of an affair.
Donna Mills was born on December 11, 1940, in Chicago. While not from a show business background, she developed an interest in dancing and acting in her teens. An interesting side note is that she went to high school with Jim Jacobs who created the musical “Grease” and based the character of Sandy on Donna Mills!
She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then dropped out after 1 year to pursue a career as a dancer. She eventually found her way appearing in musicals on stage and appeared in productions of Come Blow Your Horn and My Fair Lady.
She began her screen acting career on a soap opera called The Secret Storm. She made her film debut in 1967 in The Incident.
But it wasn’t until she was cast in Play Misty For Me that her acting career really took off. In this film, she played Tobie Williams – who is Dave Gruber’s ex-girlfriend and with whom he rekindles his romance with. Their on-screen chemistry was excellent and is considered to be one of the many reasons why Play Misty For Me became such a huge hit.
She continued to have a successful career since then and she’s had a rather prolific career with at least three of her films being released in 2023! Yet among her many great roles, it’s her role in Play Misty For Me – which is over 50 years old that still stands out for many fans.
Donna Mills worked with many great leading men in her films but her work with Clint Eastwood in Play Misty For Me is often considered seminal. Their chemistry is admired by aspiring actors and actresses, film critics, and film fans alike.
But there’s also another group of people who enjoyed watching Clint Eastwood and Donna Mills together. The media wondered if their relationship continued off-screen and whether the then-married Clint Eastwood was having an affair with her. These rumors have persisted throughout the years and Donna Mills and Clint Eastwood both refused to say a word about it.
PLAY MISTY FOR ME
Before we get any further into the rumors between Clint Eastwood and Donna Mills, let’s look a bit more into how they came to meet – and how Play Misty For Me came to be.
Clint Eastwood had been looking to get into directing for some time. Following The Dollars Trilogy – and especially the success of The Good The Bad and The Ugly, he was now one of the biggest stars in the game and could have more control over the projects he wanted.
He received a “treatment” story from a legal secretary whom he knew named Jo Heims. She had written a rather interesting story which was then expanded into a detailed screenplay by Dean Riesner.
Clint Eastwood was fascinated by this story and bought the rights for it. He decided he’d star in it and that this would be the story that became his directorial debut.
Clint Eastwood also had a lot of creative control for this film. For example, the studio wanted to hire actress Lee Remick to play Evelyn Draper – who would stalk and harass Dave Gruber.
However, Clint Eastwood was impressed by Jessica Walter’s work in the film The Group – directed by Sidney Lumet. It was on the basis of this performance that he decided to give her the role of Evelyn – which went onto becoming one of her best-known roles. It was also her first major role in a film.
Clint Eastwood also decided to shoot the film in the town of Carmel-By-The-Sea rather than Los Angeles where it was originally set. This also became the town where Clint Eastwood would eventually move to and become the mayor of.
It should also be noted that the idea to create the character of Tobie Williams – to create a love triangle for the film wasn’t originally in the script. It was an idea of Sonia Chernus who was a writer and had written for an episode of Rawhide. Later, she would co-write the screenplay for The Outlaw Josey Wales which starred and was directed by Clint Eastwood. One wonders that if it wasn’t for Sonia’s simple suggestion, Clint Eastwood and Donna Mills would have never met – and these rumors would never come about. And now, after keeping us in suspense for over 50 years, Donna Mills’ lips are no longer sealed.
SHE FINALLY ADDRESSES RUMORS OF AN AFFAIR WITH CLIENT EASTWOOD
Donna Mills has confirmed that there was no affair with Clint Eastwood on the set of Play Misty For Me – or any time after. But, she did enjoy his company and this translated to the excellent on-screen chemistry that they had.
In an interview published on December 26, 2022, on Fox News she stated that she would give Clint Eastwood a ‘Triple A’ for his kissing abilities!
When the character of Tobie Williams was created, there was a bit of difficulty in trying to find the perfect actress. Donna Mills had worked on a soap opera called ‘Dan August’ with Burt Reynolds. He enjoyed working with her so much that he recommended her for the role in Play Misty For Me.
She stated that while there was no affair, she felt that Clint Eastwood was such a sweet man and that he made her feel comfortable during the kissing scenes. He discussed the scenes with her beforehand and he stated he was even willing to remove an entire love scene from the film if she wasn’t comfortable with it.
This affection and care that he showed her off-screen must have made their on-screen relationship look great. It’s why these rumors persisted all these years.
But now, Donna Mills has finally addressed these rumors and we hope they’ll be put to rest for good!
So, now let’s hear from you:
Are you a fan of the film Play Misty For Me? Did you know these details about the relationship between Clint Eastwood and Donna Mills?
These rumors have persisted for decades and now she finally addresses rumors of an affair with Clint Eastwood – which will hopefully put them to rest!
And now, here’s what we want to know:
Do you think that this type of publicity can help an actor or actresses’ career?
Or is there such a thing as bad publicity that can cause career suicide?