Alley Mills

Alley Mills (cut from wymain)

In "The Wonder Years": 
Norma Arnold (Kevin's mother)

Episodes with focus on her: 12, 27, 63, 102, 112

  • Norma Arnold is the daughter of Jane Gustavson (Jean Speegle Howard) and her husband Karl (Macon McCalman) 113.
  • "Alley Mills brings to the role of Norma warmth, humanity and a maternal instinct that makes you want to pick up the phone and give mom a call." (Quote from Edward Gross: "Growing Up in the Sixties: The Wonder Years", p. 39)
In real life:
Alley Mills
Birthday:  May 9th, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois 
Family: Alley's mother was an art editor for the American Heritage magazine and then founded a publishing company for rare books with Alley's stepfather. Alley's parents have been divorced in 1959. Her father, Don Mills, was remarried to French singing star Genevieve. He was a television producer, writer and director. Later, he became an executive at NBC network. Youngest of three children. 
(Different sources gives different first names for Alley's father: Ted or Don, the latter more reliable one by Daily News of June 17-June 23, 1990).

Alley Mills

  • grew up in  in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. 
  • started acting on stage as the lion in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in fifth grade at Miss Spence's School for Girls in Manhattan
  • at age 8 TV debut on "The Patti Page Show" and professional stage debut at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts, with Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Reeve, and Peter Evans
  • attended a series of exclusive boarding schools in France and the United States during her teen-age years 
  • admitted to Yale as one of the first female undergraduates 
  • graduated magna cum laude in 1973 with a BA in drama and art history
  • went to England and received an MA degree from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts
  • returned to New York and acted in theatre pieces  like Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and "A Collier's Friday Night"
  • then took a cross-country camping trip to L.A. where she settled after receiving offers, including a part on the TV series "The Associates," with actor Martin Short
  • married to 64-year-old actor Orson Bean (1997). Orson, who met her on a blind date, didn't even want to go to their initial date because he was old enough to be her father. See interview with Alley Mills. She appeared in three episodes of the TV series "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman", see below, at the side of him who is a regular in this series (Loren Bray).
  • Her agent's address is: Stone Manners Agency, 8436 W 3rd Street, Suite 740, Los Angeles, CA 90048.

Title Character she played Year Type
Boys Town Video Series - Helping Your Child Succeed host ? Educational Video
Jane White Is Sick & Twisted  Mom 2001 Movie
The Beach Boys: An American Family Audree Wilson 2000 TV movie
Tricks Ruth 2000 Movie
Deadline for Murder: From the Files of Edna Buchanan Julie Scarfa 1995 TV movie
Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare Portia 1995 TV movie
Moment of Truth: Caught in the Crossfire
aka Caught in the Crossfire
Royce Payne 1994 TV movie
Tainted Blood Mrs. Patterson 1993 TV movie
Jonathan: The Boy Nobody Wanted Carol 1992 TV movie
I Love You Perfect unknown 1989 TV movie
To Heal a Nation unknown 1988 TV movie
The Wonder Years Norma Arnold 1987-1993 TV series
The Atlanta Child Murders Amy Kennear 1985 TV movie
Going Berserk Nancy Reese 1983 Movie
The Other Woman Amy Vitelli 1983 TV movie
"Making the Grade" Sara Conover 1982 TV series
Prototype Dr. Rebecca Bishop 1982 TV movie
A Matter of Life and Death Allison Cross 1981 TV movie
Rape and Marriage: The Rideout Case unknown 1980 TV movie
"The Associates" Leslie Dunn 1979-1980 TV series
She was a co-host of the daytime "The Home Show" on ABC.
She hosted the video "Boys Town Video Series - Helping Your Child Succeed". 

Guest Star in:

TV Series  as in Episode Date
"Yes, Dear" Jenny Ludke A Complicated Plot (2.11) 12/17/01
"NYPD Blue" Sonya Morrow This Old Spouse (7.20) 05/16/00
"Popular" Robin John Wild, Wild Mess (1.9) 12/02/99
"Profiler" Amber Wiley Inheritance (3.12) 02/06/99
"Touched by an Angel" Liz Last Dance (4.25) 05/10/98
"Roseanne" TV Mom #4 last episode "All about Rosey" (7.19) 03/01/95
"Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" in (1.11) as Saloon Woman, then Marjorie Quinn Happy Birthday (1.11)
Where the Heart Is (Parts 1 & 2) (2.6-7)
Ready or Not (3.27)
For Better or Worse (Parts 1 & 2) (3.28-29) 
When a Child is Born(1) (4.27)
When a Child is Born(2) (4.28)
Starting Over (5.23)
Lead Me Not (6.7)
A Time to Heal (Part 1) (6.8)
A Time to Heal (Part 2) (6.9)
"Moonlighting" ? The Man who Cried Wife (3.2) 09/30/86
"Punky Brewster" Mrs. Deaton Open Door Broken Heart (Part 2) (3.8) 12/09/87
"Hill Street Blues" Tracy Renko Zen and the Art of Law Enforcement (2.13)
Personal Foul (2.16)
Shooter (2.17)
Invasion of the Third World Body Snatchers (2.18)
"Lou Grant" Lisa Search (4.12) 02/09/81
"Kaz" ? They've Taken Our Daughter (1.19) 03/25/79
"The Waltons" Nancy The Obsession (7.4) 10/19/78

(Movie Database checked October 2002, check again)

How Alley Mills met her husband Orson Bean

From an interview in 1991

REGIS: Orson Bean is your guy...

ALLEY: He's my guy. (Smiles.) And we're actually -

REGIS: You're actually blushing!

(Alley turns away and laughs.)

REGIS: You're actually engaged.

ALLEY: I promised myself this wouldn't happen.

(Regin looks at the big ring on her finger.)

ALLEY: That's my engagement ring. (Audience applause.) Thank you.

REGIS: This is your very first engagement?

ALLEY: This is my, my very first engagement, my very first marriage, uh...

KATHIE LEE: You've been pretty kind of a matrimonial hold out, then.

ALLEY: I have. I think I'm typical of my generation. Most of my friends, still aren't married. It's sort of a strange...I went to college in '69, and everybody was...sort of that hippie era...(gestures)...where everybody "lived together"...and had "relationships" and all this kind of stuff, and I just...I sort of wanted to wait for the perfect situation - the perfect person...and I...

REGIS: You've been very patient.

(Alley turns away and laughs.)

ALLEY: My mother doesn't consider it patient - she goes (gestures) "How'd you let that one...?" - "What about that one?"

(Regis and Kathie Lee laugh.)

ALLEY: Ya know, "That one was great!", "That one's a doctor!"

(All laugh.)

KATHIE LEE: But you waited for the perfect person, and you have found him.

ALLEY: Right.

REGIS: How did you meet him?

ALLEY: I - my mother was visiting of all strange things. She was visiting me in L.A., I just moved into a big new house, she came out from Connecticut, she came out and we went to a reading of a play - the guy that plays my husband, Dan Lauria, produces these play readings - and Orson was in the reading. And my mother says "why don't we all...invite the whole company out for drinks?" So she's walking, quietly, with Orson, on the sidewalk...he then sits himself down next to me...and I'm walking home with mom, and she said "I think he likes you!". I said "Mother, I'm sure he's married - he was talking about his kids...I mean he was a wonderful, funny, I had a great night". And she goes - "By the way, he's not married. I asked him - he's divorced!"

(Alley laughs.)

REGIS: Oh! Wow!

ALLEY: And then, he called the next morning - he'd given me his card, he was very gentlemanly - he had given me his card and said "do you like to go the theater?", and I still thought, well maybe, he's married...(shrugs)...he's just being like a theater friend - because he was so not flirtatious.

REGIS: You just wouldn't believe it, would you?

ALLEY: No...and my mother hears the phone ringing at nine in the morning - she heard it was Orson, and she goes (makes fist) "hotdog!" I guess she really -

REGIS: Mother was getting very anxious! Mother very happy about this!

ALLEY: Well, that's one way to look at this - she also actually really liked him, so...

REGIS: That's nice. So, is there a date set here?

ALLEY: There's a date. April - (chokes, then laughs) eight-eight-eight-eighteenth. (Laughs.)

REGIS: I think you're a little frightened, here. Are you?

ALLEY: I am. It's just so many years know...

KATHIE LEE: Waiting...

ALLEY: Waiting...It's just...

KATHIE LEE: An Orson, I understand, hasn't dated in...a long time...

ALLEY: Ten...years!

REGIS: Holy cow!

ALLEY: So he says. You know -

REGIS: You guys were meant for each other. You got a picture?

ALLEY: I do, I do.

REGIS: Quickly - let me see it!

(Alley pulls a 3x5 picture out.)

REGIS: Ah, there they are!

(Regis holds it up. Audience applauds.)

ALLEY: I brought it cuz he couldn't come.

(End of tape :-)

Thanks to Kyle Gittins for providing the transcript.


Copyright © 1996-2000 of Peter Reynders.