Exclusive interview with Juliet Mills

She’s the daughter of screen legend Sir John Mills and sister to actress Hayley, who starred in the 1961 box office smash, Parent Trap. But Juliet Mills, 73, a revered screen and stage actress in her own right, insists she had a very typical upbringing.

“We were just a normal family, it was just that our father was a very famous actor…Hayley and I went to boarding school and we lived in the country–it was a very normal upbringing, which I think has helped us in our adult life, especially in this business,” said Juliet, who starred in the popular 1970s sitcom, Nanny and The Professor, and received an Emmy Award for her performance in the mini-series, QB VII.

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Juliet in The Nanny and the Professor - Image source: Daily Motion

The talented sisters are currently in Sydney rehearsing for their latest roles as feisty movie stars in James Kirkwood’s hilarious and touching comedy Legends!

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Juliet’s husband of 35 years, Maxwell Caulfield, who is best known for his roles in Grease 2, Dynasty and The Colbys, is also co-starring in the play.

Juliet says this is the first time the trio has co-starred in the same play, making this Australian tour even more special.

“This is a treat to be over here, on this tour, with all three of us together,” she said.

Couples who work together, stay together
While few of us would relish the opportunity to work with our significant other, for Juliet and Maxwell, who met and fell in love during Broadway rehearsals in 1980, working together may just be the secret to their long-lasting romance.

“We were both doing a play called the Elephant Man…we were rehearsing in New York, and that’s where we met many, many moons ago now. And we went on tour with it in the US and that was it actually. It was a very romantic, wonderful experience and here we still are. Working together again now here. We feel very, very fortunate I must say,” she said.

Juliet admits working together has strengthened their relationship. “To work with somebody you know so well and that you love and trust and respect, it brings the very best out of you and the best out of your work as well,” she said.

The British screen and stage stars, who now call Southern California home, are among other celebrity couples who have withstood the test of time after meeting on set.

Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been together since 1983 after working together on the set of Swing Shift. Spanish actors, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, started dating in 2007, 16 years after co-starring in Jamon Jamon. And then there’s ‘Branjelina’ who met during the filming of Mr and Mrs Smith in 2005.

“I think trust and having a great sense of humour and having fun together is a big part of it too,” Juliet added. “When you’d really rather be with that one person than anyone else, that’s a pretty good example of true love.”

On health and staying fit
With a demanding tour schedule ahead of her, Juliet says she’s getting in tip top shape through regular exercise and healthy eating.

“I try to walk everyday, two or three miles…my husband and I both used to run. But as you get older, I just think you don’t want to pound the pavement, and the whole gravity situation, you know. So I took to walking and I really enjoy it. And if you can’t get out and walk in the park or somewhere there’s always the gym and the treadmill. But one way or another, usually I walk outside if I can. We’re rehearsing here in Chatswood and Maxwell found me a little cricket pitch, an oval, so I like to walk around there, looking at my lines,” she jokingly said.

Juliet credits her famous father for her healthy eating habits.
“Both my parents lived into their 90s; my father was 97 when he passed away. He always believed in ‘you are what you eat’ and all that. The more live, fresh, organic fruit and vegetables you can eat the better. And I’m sure that’s true. I try to keep away from sweets and sugars…but I have a sweet tooth, so that sometimes is a struggle.”

On her two other loves: gardening and travelling
Juliet and Maxwell have been living in Ojai—a tiny, secluded town in Southern California—for 30 years. They grow their own vegetables and have also planted orange, lemon, apricot, apple and plum trees.

“I’m a very domestic creature, I love to cook and garden,” Juliet said.

Her husband’s also a green thumb, having recently planted a cactus garden on their property.

“We have a drought situation in California right now so we have to be careful with what we grow. I love to grow roses in my garden, but they need a lot of water so we’re having to go towards the lavender and rose geraniums…you have to adapt a little bit,” she said.

When she’s not gardening or performing, Juliet says she loves to travel.

“We love to go to Hawaii. We try and go every year…my husband’s a swimmer and he swims in ocean races, and there’s a big race every year in Oahu called the Rough Water Swim. It gives us an excuse to go there every year.”

Juliet’s beauty secrets
She may be used to wearing heavy make during performances, but Juliet’s beauty routine is a far cry from that of her on-stage persona. The British stunner says her philosophy for everyday beauty is ‘less is more’.

“When you’re playing to a big house and people are far away you have to really accentuate the eyes, and all the features, so that they can be seen. So close up stage make up can be quite ‘oh god, that’s awful’ but actually on stage under the light it enhances, and pops the eyes out, and people can see you from far away…I don’t wear heavy make up in the daytime myself, and at home I don’t wear any foundation or anything during the day,” she said.

And her advice for healthy, youthful skin?
“Clean your face every night and moisturise, and that’s it. I’ve used Ponds gold cream forever, you can lather it all over you, and all over your eyes. It never gets in your eyes or anything. And I never go to bed in make up however tired and exhausted I am.”

Legends!
Hayley and Juliet Mills, who are sisters and screen royalty, star in this uproarious new production as two feuding movie stars who are threatened with fading into obscurity. A shady conman, played by Maxwell Caulfield, offers the stars a fresh start on Broadway. What ensues is a riotous journey filled with backstabbing, witty banter and even a sexy male stripper named “Boom Boom”. Written by Pulitzer Prize winner James Kirkwood and produced by John Frost, this Australian Premiere will be a sensation not to be missed!

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Tour Dates: 28 May to 20 September 2015

Locations: Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne

Tickets: $80 to $140

Invite: Your partner (or a hot date!)

More information: Legends Tour