On June 9th, the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles will be screening the classic Academy Award winning drama, The Diary of Anne Frank. Director George Stevens’ son will host the event and special guests are two of the film’s costars, Millie Perkins who starred as Anne and Diane what’s-her-name who played her sister Margot.
Millie won the Photoplay Gold Medal Award for Favorite Female Newcomer of 1959, but 20th Century-Fox, who she was contracted to, just didn’t know what to do with her. For some inexplicable reason, they found starring roles for Diane but all they could muster for Perkins was the 3rd female lead in Wild in the Country (1961) opposite Elvis Presley.
After leaving Fox, sweet Millie co-starred with Robert Walker in the non-hit comedy Ensign Pulver, did two cult but barely released 1965 westerns for director Monte Hellman, Ride in the Whirlwind and The Shooting, and played Senator Hal Holbrook’s wife and mother of 2 teenage sons (unheard of for a 60s starlet to play much older at that time) in one of the coolest films of the decade, Wild in the Streets (1968). When the voting age is lowered to 14 (“14 or Fight!”), pop star Christopher Jones becomes president and sends all the over 30s to live in “retirement homes” where they are forced fed LSD. Poor Millie is one of the “oldsters” carted off.
Perkins then acted on and off in the 70s only to return full force in the 80s graduating to mother roles beginning with At Close Range (1986) playing Sean Penn’s mama. She has worked steadily ever since including a stint as Elvis Presley’s mother in the short-lived but critically acclaimed TV series, Elvis in 1990.