‘60s star Diane McBain reflects on befriending Elvis Presley, turning down Aaron Spelling’s marriage proposal


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Diane McBain befriended The King and labored alongside Batman — however as of late, the actress has taken on a totally totally different position.

The ‘60s screen siren has led a quiet life in Woodland Hills, California, where she’s been retaining busy as a author. So far, the star has written three books, together with her 2014 memoir “Famous Enough.” In late 2021, she wrote a novel titled “The Color of Hope,” which she described as crucial work of her profession.

Because the 80-year-old focuses on her second act, her late co-star Elvis Presley has been making headlines. A brand new biopic on the singer by Baz Luhrmann will hit theaters on June 24. It stars Austin Butler as Presley and Tom Hanks as his supervisor Colonel Tom Parker. Presley handed away in 1977 at age 42.

McBain spoke to Each day Submit Digital about what it was like befriending Presley on set, why she did not marry Aaron Spelling, in addition to what her life is absolutely like at present.


American actress Diane McBain, seen here in 1962, is enjoying her second act as a writer.

American actress Diane McBain, seen right here in 1962, is having fun with her second act as a author.
(Photograph by Henry Gris/FPG/Getty Pictures)

Each day Submit: You’re the creator of three books now. However trying again, what initially impressed you to put in writing “Famous Enough?”
Diane McBain: Sure, I’ve two novels and a memoir now. However trying again, so many individuals would ask me to put in writing the story of my life. I didn’t suppose it was all that fascinating. However lastly, I believed it was time. And it took me a very long time. And I completed it with my writing accomplice, Michael Gregg Michaud, who wrote a e-book about Sal Mineo.

I used to be caught in my writing course of. He took me out of that, and it labored out superbly. It’s been fairly the expertise trying again on my life. And you realize, I’ve at all times needed to be a author. It was a secret need of mine for a few years.

I attempted to do it for therefore lengthy, however I didn’t really feel like I used to be doing something publishable. Once I completed the memoir, I used to be dwelling within the mountains north of LA. And from there, the concepts simply poured. I started writing my first novel, “The Laughing Bear.” And I’ve been cooking the final one for some time too, “The Color of Hope.” I really feel it’s the perfect factor I’ve ever written. It’s been an thrilling journey.

Diane McBain was a model before she was discovered by Hollywood.

Diane McBain was a mannequin earlier than she was found by Hollywood.
(Getty Pictures)

Each day Submit: You began as a mannequin. How had been you found as an actress?
McBain: I lived in Glendale, California, and we had somewhat theater right here. I used to be doing a play, and the expertise man at Warner Bros. got here to see it. He noticed me and thought I might be the proper match for a movie known as “Ice Palace,” which starred Richard Burton. It was in regards to the statehood of Alaska. I bear in mind there have been fairly a number of great actors concerned with the mission. The truth that they signed me to this contract at Warner Bros. to do that movie was fairly astonishing. I performed the granddaughter in that film.

Each day Submit: You famously labored with Elvis Presley in 1966’s “Spinout.” What was your preliminary impression of The King?
McBain: I liked Elvis. He was great. He was in fine condition at the moment. I bear in mind him being tall, slender and so stunning. I imply, what a stupendous man *laughs*. And he had this stunning voice. I favored him loads. He in all probability had affairs with some actresses or co-stars, however not with me. I believe he simply favored brunettes, and I used to be a blonde, so he wasn’t fascinated with me *laughs*.

However we had a very nice friendship on set. He was a non secular man, and he liked to learn something about being non secular. He wasn’t a lot non secular, however non secular. And I, too, was fascinated by these issues. So we bonded over that. We used to change books on set, and it was nice enjoyable. We’d have conversations on a regular basis about being non secular. It was an excellent relationship, very strong. I simply thought he was so terrific.

From left: Shelley Fabares, Deborah Walley, Diane McBain and Elvis Presley in ‘Spinout,’ circa 1966.

From left: Shelley Fabares, Deborah Walley, Diane McBain and Elvis Presley in ‘Spinout,’ circa 1966.
(Photograph by LMPC by way of Getty Pictures)

Each day Submit: It’s been stated that Elvis was decided to be a revered actor in Hollywood. Did you get that impression?
McBain: We didn’t talk about that personally, however I knew he actually needed to be taken significantly as an actor. Our movie was about racing, and it was a comedy. After all, it was additionally a musical as a result of the studio actually needed to make use of him in these lighthearted productions. He had lots of hassle attempting to persuade them into placing him in additional critical roles. He was nearly too stunning to be considered critical. I suppose they felt it might damage his picture. And his supervisor was not very useful in that regard both.

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It was a disgrace. It should be very terrible to be on the very high like that as a result of no one may presumably relate to what it’s wish to be there and count on you to remain there. He in fact embraced it superbly, and he did an excellent job on set. However I believe he was additionally fairly lonely. He in all probability needed extra for himself. He was, in fact, very particular. However I don’t suppose he noticed himself that means. I do know he tried very exhausting. There was a unhappiness about him. It’s in all probability why he ultimately obtained into medicine. However I bear in mind him very fondly. It simply makes you marvel what may have been.

Each day Submit: You additionally labored with one other pop-culture legend, Adam West, in “Batman.” What was that like for you?
McBain: Effectively, not like Elvis, I actually didn’t get to know Adam that nicely. He was the type of actor who would exit, do his scenes after which lock himself in his dressing room. However I had a very enjoyable time enjoying Pinky Pinkston. It was such a cute position. And I nonetheless get so many individuals who strategy me about that position. I’m grateful for it. It introduced folks pleasure.

Adam West and Diane McBain, circa 1967.

Adam West and Diane McBain, circa 1967.
(Photograph by ABC Photograph Archives/Disney Common Leisure Content material by way of Getty Pictures)

Each day Submit: Is it true that Aaron Spelling requested your father permission to marry you?
McBain: Sure, he requested for my hand in marriage. How about that? It was the primary time that ever occurred to me. I believe it was the final too. I don’t suppose my dad ever obtained any extra requests. However I believe what my dad stated, not less than based mostly on what he reported to me was, “She can make her own decisions.” However I adored Aaron. He was such an exquisite, candy man. We dated for fairly a bit.

However when it got here to getting married, I simply couldn’t see myself married to him. It simply didn’t match my thought in any respect in regards to the type of individual I needed to be married to. He was a pricey, candy man. I adored him. I might by no means say something dangerous about him as a result of he was at all times good to me. However I simply wasn’t prepared for one thing like that. Even after we broke up, he was nonetheless superb to me. He at all times employed me for his productions. I by no means needed to fear for a very long time after Warner Bros. due to him. He was that good to me. He was a really particular individual in my life. And perhaps I respect him much more at present than I did on the time.

Wanting again on it, he was simply so wonderful, the truth that he may nonetheless be so good to me even after issues had been over between us. And at any time when he noticed me, he would at all times discuss to me. It was an excellent friendship. I’ll at all times be grateful he was in my life.

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American film and television producer Aaron Spelling (1923 - 2006) with actress Diane McBain at a party for the film 'The Greatest Story Ever Told', 1965. 

American movie and tv producer Aaron Spelling (1923 – 2006) with actress Diane McBain at a celebration for the movie ‘The Biggest Story Ever Informed’, 1965. 
(Photograph by Archive Images/Getty Pictures)

Each day Submit: What was it like working with Joan Crawford in 1963’s “The Caretakers?”
McBain: I believe the poor factor was very jealous. She was fairly a bit older by then, and she or he had by no means actually been what she would name a stupendous lady. She was enticing and had putting options, however she additionally had her personal look. And by then, I suppose she was beginning to lose no matter attractiveness she had earlier than. She was enjoying the a part of a nurse in a white uniform, which wasn’t flattering, particularly for somebody who was as soon as thought of so glamorous. She was in uniform after I got here on the set to fulfill her.

I used to be with a buddy of mine, my greatest buddy for a few years. He had taken me out to lunch that day and insisted that I put on my greatest costume and a stupendous hat. So think about me, dressed this fashion and assembly Joan Crawford in a nurse’s uniform. I can’t even start to let you know how chilly she was in direction of me. She was simply dreadful. She didn’t like me from the very starting, and she or he by no means did. She additionally had the ultimate say on that image. I used to be enjoying the a part of a nurse. I used to be presupposed to be the romantic curiosity of Robert Stack. We had scenes collectively, romantic scenes. Now Robert Stack was a lot too outdated for me, however that’s how they forged it.

I had lots of scenes and I supposed that Joan Crawford, ultimately, determined to chop all of that out. She had a lot affect over the director. Every time we had been in a scene collectively, we had been at all times in reverse elements of the room. I used to be at all times positioned on my own. I may simply be minimize out of a scene that means. And that’s what occurred. By the point the image was over, I had a minor position after I was presupposed to be co-starring with Robert Stack. I had such a minor position that was nearly inconsequential. It was simply the half she couldn’t eliminate. And the movie actually turned a Joan Crawford movie. We didn’t have an excellent relationship, let’s simply put it that means.

Diane McBain became typecast as a femme fatale, a role she wanted to break away from.

Diane McBain turned typecast as a femme fatale, a task she needed to interrupt away from.
(Photograph by Silver Display screen Assortment/Getty Pictures)

Each day Submit: You had been forged ceaselessly as a femme fatale. How did you are feeling about that?
McBain: I didn’t prefer it for some time. At first, in fact, it was nice enjoyable to play. However after some time, it bothered me. I didn’t prefer it. I needed to do different issues. I attempted. However I had this deep voice, which [the studio] felt was higher fitted to a femme fatale. I didn’t respect it on the time, however that’s simply the best way it was.


I couldn’t actually change it. However roles like Pinky allowed me to point out my comedic aspect. And that was enjoyable. However it was exhausting in these days to interrupt away as a girl within the trade. Ladies have such a greater time with it now. Not solely can they work simply past the age of fifty, however they’ll do wonderful roles past the age of 40. Again then, there have been solely two forms of roles a girl may play: an excellent lady or a foul lady. There was nothing else. Some girls had a greater time with it than others. I at all times ended up with the dangerous lady finish of the stick. However you realize, I do respect it extra at present. These characters might be rather more fascinating to play than the great lady.

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Each day Submit: In your memoir, you had been very candid about all the pieces that occurred in your life. How essential was It so that you can be so trustworthy about your entire life, even throughout the extra private moments?
McBain: I respect honesty. Once I determined to put in writing my memoir, I knew I used to be going to be truthful. I used to be going to inform the story the best way it was. I didn’t see any cause to cover something. I suppose some folks may have a look at it and go, “My gosh, why did she tell us that?” However I at all times felt it’s essential to be trustworthy. I used to be going to inform my true story, not simply the great issues that occurred to me.

James Garner and Diane McBain in ‘Maverick’.

James Garner and Diane McBain in ‘Maverick’.
(Photograph by ABC Photograph Archives/Disney Common Leisure Content material by way of Getty Pictures)

Each day Submit: Your profession took a distinct flip once you lastly felt able to get married.
McBain: I at all times needed to be a spouse and mom. It was in all probability my predominant ambition as a younger lady earlier than I obtained concerned with all this different stuff. I needed to be a spouse and mother. I needed to have a pleasant household of two or three children. I needed a pleasant husband, somebody who cared about me. I needed a pleasing house to lift a household in. Having kids was so essential to me, as caring for a household. However my life took a distinct route with appearing. I used to be 32 earlier than I had my son, which was thought of outdated in these days. By then, I simply didn’t wish to wait any longer. I felt prepared. I had the need to have an excellent husband and a household. And I felt it was slipping by my fingers.

I lastly met my husband. He’s a pleasant man, and I cared about him. However I by no means fell in love with him… I simply thought, “How long does love last in a marriage anyway?” It sounded logical on the time… I had a stupendous wedding ceremony. The primary a part of our marriage was fantastic. I obtained pregnant fairly shortly. I had my son, who’s my world. However issues went south within the marriage division. I suppose by that point I used to be simply too impartial. I needed to do my very own factor. I didn’t just like the constraints of being married.


The ladies’s motion was taking place throughout this time, and I used to be very a lot into that. We needed to be freed from demanding husbands *laughs*. My husband wasn’t significantly demanding, however he wasn’t very a lot into the wedding factor. He was doing one thing else. So it simply didn’t work out. We divorced, and I raised my son by myself. We’re very shut, and we’ve got such an exquisite relationship. He’s 49, however he’ll at all times be a child in my eyes *laughs*. I really feel superb about our relationship. We discuss day by day. I’ll at all times be pleased with him.

William Shatner and Diane McBain in ‘Barbary Coast’, circa 1975.

William Shatner and Diane McBain in ‘Barbary Coast’, circa 1975.
(Photograph by ABC Photograph Archives/Disney Common Leisure Content material by way of Getty Pictures)

Each day Submit: What’s life like for you at present?
McBain: I’ve a cottage surrounded by stunning flowers and ponds. I’ve made plenty of pals up right here, and I’ve been writing, which has been my dream. It’s fairly great. It’s in all probability pretty much as good because it will get *laughs*.

Each day Submit: What’s been inspiring you as a author?
McBain: Actually “The Color of Hope.” It was such an essential job. I used to be writing out of my consolation zone… However it feels nice to get a narrative like this one out. I’m actually enthusiastic about it… I used to be very cautious about how I constructed my character’s life. I additionally named her Cleo after my mom… She’s a younger lady who has to offer for her household… I’m actually having fun with this new chapter of my life.


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