Knots Landing was a long-running spin-off of the soap opera Dallas that premiered on the CBS network in 1979. The show really took off during it’s second season. And which is when actress Donna Mills premiered on the series as the character of Abby Fairgate. Abby would go on to become one of the show’s standout character over the course of it’s early run. It is before the actress who played her abruptly left the series during it’s tenth season. Join Facts Verse as we explore why Donna Mills abruptly left Hollywood during Knots Landing.
After Being Introduced in Season Two, Abby Fairgate Became One of Knots Landing’s Most Popular Characters
In 1979, the show Knots Landing came on the air. It touted as a spin-off of CBS’ successful soap opera Dallas. Knots Landing went on to last for just as many seasons as Dallas did. With both shows yielding a staggering 14 seasons by the time that they came to an end. This made Knots Landing a pretty successful spin-off. And a big part of that success came from the character of Abby Fairgate.
Abby Fairgate – nee Cunningham – introduced on Knots Landing during it’s second season, and she played by actress Donna Mills. From the second season of the show until it’s tenth, Donna gradually became more and more popular until she was one of the show’s standout characters. Despite this, the actress who played her ended up having a change of heart about performing her role on the series after maintaining her tenure for around a decade. And ended up quitting the show.
Donna Mills made the decision to quit Knots Landing during it’s tenth season. And she explained to fans that the reason that she was doing so was because she had grown bored with her role on the program. Donna felt that she no longer being challenged enough in the role of Abby Fairgate. She intended to go out into the entertainment industry and find more challenging jobs to further her career. The character of Abby was always a huge troublemaker on the series. With her last season showcasing her doing such things as committing real-estate fraud and framing her son-in-law with a bag of cocaine.
The tenth season had started out with a multi-episode arc in which the character of Abby had pretended that she had a change of heart in order to pull a massive con on other characters on the show. Donna apparently enjoyed the chance to switch things up at first. But then ended up growing just as bored of playing the nice Abby Fairgate as she had of playing the mean one.
The Stars of Knots Landing Allowed to Give a Good Deal of Creative Input in Regards to Their Characters
For much of her time on the series, Donna Mills allowed to give a fair amount of creative input in regards to how her character should be written for the series. When Donna grew bored of playing the fake nice Abby Fairgate that introduced towards the beginning of the show’s tenth season. The writers ended that arc and brought back the mean Abby. Previously, Donna’s creative input had helped make the character of Abby Fairgate into the icon that she ended up becoming. And also helped shape Knots Landing.
In addition to exercising her influence over the way that Abby Fairgate written, Donna Mills also exercised her influence a great deal when it came to the way that her character dressed. One notable incident of Donna’s influence in these regards was when she demanded that her character wear a stain-resistant outfit. It is when burying a corpse during a 1987 episode. The decision ended up being a good one. And as the character of Abby was able to bury the body while still looking proper and prim!
Donna Mills claims that, during much of her time on Knots Landing, there would be script read-throughs with the main cast where the cast members would all be encouraged to give their input regarding the script’s dialogue. These read-throughs would often result in slightly altered dialogue that more in-line with each given character. Sadly, Donna says that this process had ceased by the time that she exited from the series during it’s tenth season. The actress may have inferred from this that the show’s creative staff was no longer quite as interested in delivering a great product as they had been previously. And this may have been another reason why she chose to exit the series.
Donna Initially Quit Knots Landing to Tackle New and More Challenging Roles Elsewhere but Had a Change of Heart
She initially claimed that she had exited from Knots Landing with the intention of finding more challenging roles than Abby Fairgate elsewhere in the entertainment industry. Then the actress ended up realizing that it was something else entirely that was inspiring her feelings of ennui. Instead of finding other roles, Donna ended up leaving the entertainment industry for a period of almost two decades. The reason that she did this was to take care of her newly adopted daughter! If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Donna Mills Became a Parent After Quitting Knots Landing
Donna Mills chose to stop playing Abby Fairgate on Knots Landing. It is because she felt that her continued time performing on the series was leaving a big hole in her heart. At first, Donna had assumed that this hole in her heart could filled by her taking on more challenging roles elsewhere in the entertainment industry. However, this didn’t end up being the case! Instead, Donna realized shortly after her exit from the series that what she really wanted was to be a parent.
Donna had worked incredibly hard during her years on Knots Landing. And there hadn’t been much time during those years for her to devote much energy to her personal life. The actress has recalled how she often forced to work so much during her days on the show. And ended up that she would end up missing out on big events that she had planning for weeks. Donna took this in stride. Believing that the work that she was doing on the series was going to pay off in spades later in her career. She perhaps right, though it’s understandable why she later decided to give it all up and take some time to focus on herself and start a family.
Soon after departing from Knots Landing, Donna Mills went on to adopt a daughter named Chloe. Donna was in her 50s at the time, and she adopted Chloe when the baby was only four days old. For the first several years of Chloe’s life, Donna continued working fairly consistently in the entertainment industry. She was able to do this by bringing along her daughter with her to all of her jobs. However, by the time that Chloe was ready to start school, Donna decided that she needed to take a step back from her career . It is because she could be there for her daughter all the time. She felt that there was no point in her having adopted the girl if she was just going to end up handing all of her parental duties over to a nanny. And ended up in a decision to subsequently quit acting!
Donna Quit Acting to Be There for Her Daughter
She quit acting so that she could be there more for her adopted daughter. And she didn’t end up returning to acting for 18 years! Now that Chloe is an adult herself, Donna has finally stepped back into the acting game. The actress also claims that she isn’t above reprising the role of Abby Fairgate should Knots Landing ever end up rebooted like Dallas recently was. Donna has actually returned to reprise the character of Abby Fairgate twice since her initial exit from the series. She was gracious enough to offer her returning presence to Knots Landing‘s two-part finale, which aired in 1993. The actress had started playing the character of Abby in 1980. A year into the show’s run, and had made her exit from the series in 1989.
Donna returning to Knots Landing to reprise the role of Abby Fairgate for the show’s two-part 1993 finale. She also returned to reprise the character in the 1997 miniseries Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac. Donna’s willingness to step back into the shoes of Abby Fairgate suggests that she retroactively views her time on Knots Landing fairly positively. It is despite the fact that she ended up leaving the series before it’s end. However, Donna has no regrets about the choice she ended up making to quit.
Given that Donna was in her 50s at the time that she adopted her daughter. She claims that many people felt that she was too old to be a mother. However, Donna proved them all wrong by being the best mother that she could possibly be! Donna claims that she felt that she had just as much energy as mothers half her age. And this is evidenced by the fact that the actress able to continue working in the entertainment industry. Also, while caring for her new baby for several years before taking a break when Chloe got older.
Other Facts About Donna Mills and Knots Landing
Nearly a decade prior to receiving the role of Abby Fairgate on Knots Landing, Donna Mills’ breakout role had been in Clint Eastwood’s 1971 directorial debut. And which named Play Misty for Me. Besides the role of Abby Fairgate, Donna’s role in Play Misty for Me arguably stands as her second-most iconic. The series Knots Landing was technically a spin-off of Dallas. And the shows’ creator had actually come up with the idea for Knots Landing first.
The network rejected the idea, so he pitched Dallas instead. When Dallas became a huge hit, the creator started planting the seeds of Knots Landing into the series. It is for the hopes that he would eventually be able to turn it into a spin-off. Knots Landing would come to be known for it’s extravagant serialized arcs that gave it’s parent program a run for their money. The show started out with fairly self-contained stories that were typically concluded by the end of each episode.
Although actress Donna Mills initially claimed that she was quitting the popular series Knots Landing in order to find more challenging work elsewhere. And she ended up quitting Hollywood in order to start a family. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that the stars of the hit 1979 soap opera Knots Landing allowed to have a good deal of creative input in regards to how their characters on the series were written. And that Donna Mills helped dictate how the character of Abby Fairgate dressed on the show? As always, like this video to show your support. And subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!