Diane McBain had career turns playing spoiled rich girls as yacht owner Daphne Dutton on the ABC crime show Surfside 6 and as a writer chasing Elvis Presley on Spinout. She was 81. McBain died Wednesday morning at Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills after a battle with liver cancer, her friend and writing partner Michael Greg Michaud told The Hollywood Reporter.
McBain guest-starred in four episodes of ABC’s Batman, first in 1966 as a hat shop assistant affiliated with David Wayne’s Mad Hatter, and then as stamp company proprietor Pinky Pinkston – memorably in pink and with a pink dog. The 1967 installment featured The Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (Bruce Lee).
In her film debut, McBain starred opposite Richard Burton in Vincent Sherman’s Ice Storm (1960), then opposite Troy Donahue and Claudette Colbert in Delmer Dave’s Campy Parish (1961), playing the title role of a farm girl who meets a tragic end. , Claudelle in English (1961). A contract player at Warner Bros.
Straight out of high school, McBain broke out as loopy Daphne on the 1960-62 Miami Beach-set crime show Surfside 6. Her character has a yacht, the Daffy II, docked alongside it. The houseboat served as a home base for the private detectives portrayed by Williams, Donahue, and Lee Patterson. She played Diana St. Clair, author of books to help women get their men, in Spinout (1966), which Elvis found to be the perfect subject for Mike McCoy for his next project, The Perfect American Male.
In Tom Lisanti’s 2001 book, Fantasy Women of the Sixties, McBain said she regretted being typecast as a bad girl. “I like to play smart,” she said. Because when you go out into society, people see you as they see you on screen. It’s horrible to feel like this messy, horrible person when you’re not there!” Born in Cleveland on May 18, 1941, McBain moved with her family to Glendale in 1944.
She modeled for TV commercials and magazine ads as a teenager, and when she appeared in a play at Glendale High School, she was spotted by a talent scout. And Warners signed her to a seven-year contract on her 18th birthday. The granddaughter of Ice Palace’s Richard Burton,” she told Lisanti. “And believe it or not, I don’t even know who Richard Burton is! … He’s an English actor.
And I’m a teenybopper.” She made her screen debut in a 1959 episode of ABC’s Maverick, and in addition to Surfside 6, she appeared in several other Warner Bros. TV shows, including The Alaskans, Sugarfoot, Lawman, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaii Eye, and Bourbon. Street beat. McBain beat out Shirley Knight for the lead role in Claudel English, then played a farm owner in Black Gold (1962), a nurse opposite Joan Crawford in The Caretakers (1963), and a health nut in Mary Mary (1963), starring Debbie. Reynolds. .
She reunited with Donahue for the final film, A Distant Trumpet (1964), directed by Raoul Walsh. She left Warner Bros. after turning down a small role in Sex and the Single Girl (1964). “I was doing leads and thought it wasn’t a good idea,” she said. McBain competed with Shelley Fabres and Deborah Whalley for Elvis’ affections in the spinout, but she ended up marrying an older man portrayed by Diana Carl Betz.
McBain appeared in the low-budget AIP films Thunder Alley (1967), directed by Richard Rush; Maryjane (1968); and, as the ruthless leader of a motorcycle gang in The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968). Her resume includes Five the Hard Way (1969), I Sailed to Tahiti with an All Girl Crew (1969), The Broken Hearts Club (2000) and Besotted (2001), and episodes of Burke’s Law, The Wild Wild West, and Police.
The story, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Charlie’s Angels, Hawaii Five-O, Eight is Enough, Dallas, Days of Our Lives, and Knight Rider. She spent the 60s abroad in the U.S. In 1982 she entertained the forces after becoming a victim and counseled rape survivors. McBain published her autobiography, Famous Enough, a Hollywood memoir co-authored by Michaud in 2014, and later wrote two novels, The Laughing, 2020’s Bear, and The Color of 2021 Hope.
“She lived life to the fullest and enjoyed every opportunity that was presented. She was very kind, thoughtful, loyal and generous, and she had a wicked sense of humor,” Michaud, her friend of 35 years, wrote on social media. “Despite her incredible professional achievements, she is the most influential person I know.