Hayley was only 12 when she was discovered by J. Lee Thompson, and cast to play the lead role in the film Tiger Bay along side her father. Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian Disney, saw her performance and suggested that she be given the lead role in Pollyanna. The role of the orphaned “glad girl” who moves in with her aunt catapulted Hayley to super-stardom in the United States and earned her a special Academy Award at just 13. Disney subsequently cast Hayley as twins Sharon and Susan who reunite their divorced parents in The Parent Trap. In the film, Hayley sings the hit song “Let’s Get Together.” She made four additional films for Disney in a four-year span, including In Search of the Castaways and Summer Magic. Her final two Disney films, The Moon-Spinners and That Darn Cat! both did very well at the box office.
After her contract with Disney expired in 1965, Hayley starred in the enduring comedy The Trouble with Angels, opposite screen veteran Rosalind Russell. Hayley later returned to England and appeared as a mentally challenged teenager in the film Sky West and Crooked, which was directed by her father and written by her mother. 2BPerfectlyHonest,Stricken,Mandie and the Cherokee Treasure and Foster are the latest films in which star Mills.
After a run in hit films Hayley then went on to make her stage debut in a 1966 West End revival of Peter Pan. In 2000 she made her Off Broadway debut in Sir Noël Coward’s Suite in Two Keys, opposite American actress Judith Ivey, for which she won a Theatre World Award.
In 1991 she appeared as Anna Leonowens in the Australian production of The King and I.
In December, 2007, for their annual birthday celebration to “The Master”, The Noël Coward Society invited Hayley as the guest celebrity to lay flowers in front of Coward’s statue at New York’s Gershwin Theatre, thereby commemorating the 108th birthday of Sir Noel.
Hayley has stared in many hit theatre shows all over the world, She is Currently Starring as Ursula Widdington in the Royal & Derngate co-production of Ladies in Lavender at the Royal Theatre Northampton before embarking on a National UK tour until the start of July 2012.
In 1981 Hayley returned to the world of acting with a starring role in the UK television mini-series The Flame Trees of Thika, based on Elspeth Huxley’s memoir of her childhood in East Africa. The series was well-received, prompting Mills to accept more acting roles. She then returned to America, and made two appearances on The Love Boat.
In 1987 Hayley went back to her Disney roots where she played Teacher Carrie Bliss in the school based series Good Morning Miss Bliss, Hayley starred in 14 Episode before the titled of the show changed and her character was written out in 1989.
Hayley is now a main character in ITV hit drama Wild at Heart,Where she has played the role of Caroline DuPlessis since 2007 Filmed in South Africa Hayley has spent 4-6 months of each year in the African bush joining the cast for the filming of series 2 back in 2006.