Celebrity News December 21, 2022
'Batman's' Pinky Pinkston, '60s Starlet Diane McBain, Dies at 81
Diane McBain, the blonde beauty remembered for her work on the frothy "Surfside 6" series and as "Batman" villainess Pinky Pinkston, died Wednesday at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, of liver cancer.
She was 81.
McBain's death was first reported to THR by her writing partner Michael Gregg Michaud, with whom she wrote 2014's "Famous Enough: A Hollywood Memoir."
Born May 18, 1941, in Cleveland, McBain's family soon moved closer to Hollywood, where she became a contract player for Warner Bros. after being discovered as a senior in high school.
She made her TV debut at 18 on two episodes of the series "Maverick," and her film debut in the coolly received epic "Ice Palace" the following year. She worked with Richard Burton in the latter, playing his character's granddaughter, and in real life had an affair with the married star that she detailed in her book.
"I was madly in love with him," she said in 2014, "and would have given anything at the time to have him to myself, but it was truly impossible."
In the meantime, she began a nine-episode association with the immensely popular TV show "77 Sunset Strip" (1959-1963), and was cast as coquettish, yacht-dwelling socialite Daphne Dutton on "Surfside 6" (1960-1962) opposite Troy Donahue, Van Williams, Lee Patterson and Margarita Sierra. The pop detective series was a hit with teens, running for 74 hourlong episodes.
McBain appeared on several other series — "The Alaskans," "Sugarfoot," "Lawman," and "Bourbon Street Beat" (all 1960) — and in the film "Parrish" (1961) before starring in the title role of the film "Claudelle Inglish" (1961), a sensational good girl-gone-bad drama that she later called "my favorite."
With over 70 credits from 1959-2001, McBain was also well-remembered as flamboyant Pinky on "Batman" (1966-1967) and as the female lead in the Elvis Presley flick "Spinout" (1966).
Along with dozens of TV guest spots, other film highlights include "Black Gold" (1962), "The Caretakers" (1963), "Mary Mary" (1963), "A Distant Trumpet" (1964); AIP's "Thunder Alley" (1967), "Maryjane" (1968), and "The Mini-Skirt Mob" (1968); "I Sailed to Tahiti with an All Girl Crew" (1969), and "The Broken Hearts Club" (2001).
McBain was uncomfortable with the bad-girl characters Hollywood inevitably sent her way, later saying she wished she'd been the ingénue and had meatier roles. In her forties, she began work as a rape counselor after experiencing a brutal sexual assault that changed her life.
After retiring, McBain made many appearances at autograph shows and book signings, where she warmly greeted admirers of her '60s heyday.
Michaud, who chronicled McBain's many achievements on Facebook, told "Extra" of his close friend, "Her co-stars included Richard Burton, Troy Donahue, Will Hutchins, Robert Stack, Phil Carey, James Garner, Robert Conrad, Robert Young, Van Williams, Bruce Lee, Claudette Colbert, Debbie Reynolds, Joan Crawford, the Green Hornet, Batman, and Elvis Presley! Despite her remarkable professional accomplishments, she was the most un-affected movie star I have ever known."
McBain is survived by her son Evan and her goddaughter Mary.