‘Knots Landing’s Donna Mills Claims She Was the Inspiration Behind Sandy From ‘Grease’

by Taylor Cunningham

Knots Landing star Donna Mills just revealed that she is the real Sandra Dee.

That’s right. According to a social media video that the 81-year-old classic TV star recently posted, Jim Jacobs, one of the original Grease writers, used her as the blueprint for the iconic role.

Mills posted proof on her Instagram page as she showed a video clip of herself transforming into the singing 50s teen. First, she appeared as the straight and narrow Sandy in her proper vintage attire. Then, the actress showed off the leather-bound look that Sandy used to steal the attention of Danny at the end of the story.

After showing just how eerily similar she looked to the character, Donna Mills gave a little backstory on how Jacobs honed in on her as his muse.

“Does the character Sandy from Grease look similar to me?” she captioned alongside the video. “Here’s why!”

As Donna Mills explained, she went to school with Jim Jacobs. And while she had no idea that he had her in mind as he wrote the character over five decades ago, she learned the flattering truth years later.

“I was the original Sandy,’ she said with a smile.

Jacobs and his friend Warren Casey wrote the original version of Grease, which opened on Broadway in 1972. During its run, the musical earned seven Tony nominations. And in 1978, it became a silver screen classic with Newton-John and John Travolta in the lead roles.

Mills and Jacobs both grew up in Chicago, IL, and graduated from Taft High School.

Donna Mills is Famous For Her Role in the 1980s Soap Opera ‘Knots Landing’

While Donna Mills never explained how she found out about her connection to Grease, her story was also backed up by makeup artist Brett Freedman, who originally posted the video on TikTok.

 “Uh, yeah, @thedonnamills & I are now besties and doing TikToks together… so that’s what time it is here,” he wrote. ‘Fun Fact: Grease writer Jim Jacobs modeled the character Sandy on Donna Mills. They went to school together back in the day and seems she left quite the muse-y impression!”

Inspiring the legendary Sandra is a major claim to fame. But it isn’t what made Donna Mills a star. She first became a Hollywood icon in 1980 when she played the role of Abby in the Dallas spinoff Knots Landing.

Mills stayed with the series for 13 years. And when she was 54, she famously took time off from her career to raise her adopted daughter, Chloe. However, she’s now back to work full time. Her most recent work is in Jordan Peele’s horror flick Nope, which hits theaters this year.